It goes without saying that Christmas can be an extremely expensive time of year - especially given the current cost of living crisis! With just a few weeks until the big day we thought we could share a few tips on how you can save some money over the festive season.
Work out what you can afford
It can be so easy to get carried away when buying presents at this time of year. Before you get fully immersed in present buying mode, it is important to work out what you can realistically afford to spend.
Setting budgets (and sticking to them!) is the first step but to ensure you don't overspend, you also need to keep track of what you have bought or what you plan to buy. You can download many free 'gift list' apps on your smart phone nowadays where you can list the recipient, budget and gift ideas as well as logging as and when they have been bought. If apps aren't really your thing, you can use a good old spreadsheet or notepad but you must make sure that you keep them up to date. Having things like this in place can help you keep you from overspending.
Why not try a 'Secret Santa'
A good option to save money is limiting who and what you spend your cash on. For extended family and/or friendship groups, you may want to consider doing a 'Secret Santa'. This is where everyone's names go into a bowl, you take it in turns to take one out then you buy a present for that person within the agreed spending limit. This means buying for only one person instead of multiple, saving you lots of money, time and stress! There are even free websites that you can use to do the draw electronically which work particularly well if it's hard getting everyone together for the draw or if you know there will be at least one person who forgets who they had selected. Some even let you add a 'wish list' for yourself, making it more likely for you to end up with something that you want.
Be sure to shop around
Once you have decided what you're going to buy, be sure to shop around and look for the best deals... you might just end up saving yourself a small fortune. Make sure you have a look for active discount codes for the site too as this could save you extra!
Use cashback sites
In the current climate, it's likely you will turn to the internet to help you with some of your Christmas shopping. Be sure to utilise cashback sites wherever you can, they are free to use and they could help you claim back quite a bit of the money you have spent.
Utilise loyalty cards
If you have a loyalty card for the store you're buying from, be sure to swipe it. Stores regularly have point offers which could see your loyalty balance rocket. You could even use your balance to purchase gifts to save you parting with some of your hard-earned cash.
Make the most of supermarket deals and vouchers
Supermarkets tend to run money off promotions for new online order customers which could come in useful when preparing for Christmas. Be mindful of exclusions and delivery before dates though. Supermarkets will undoubtedly run some significant food and drink promotions too in the run up to the big day which could save you quite a bit on your big shop.
Why not try a homemade gift?
Have you ever given a thought to exchanging homemade gifts to some of your loved ones? If you fancy yourself as the next Mary Berry, why not make some cakes or biscuits to give out this year? Or some homemade jams or relishes? The list is endless and you could look to utilise your talents (whatever they are) and save yourself some dough (excuse the pun!) and the thought will be greatly received, I'm sure.
Ultimately, please remember... Christmas isn't about presents. It's about presence! So regardless of what food will be on the table and what gifts will be exchanged, remember it is a time to enjoy spending with loved ones.