It might be the most wonderful time of the year (for children, mostly) but for many of us, Christmas leaves us stressed, overworked, stuffed and a bit of a nervous wreck by the time January rolls around after all of the parties/relatives/gift-giving takes all of the fun out of the festivities – not to mention the amount everything costs. But, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy Christmas, nor do you have to sign up to a catalogue to start saving money a year in advance. Just have a look at these money saving tips to get you started.
- Remember that Christmas is but once a year – it happens every year, it happens on December the 25th, and you have 365 days to prepare for it. It’s not a surprise. Sorry! Rushing and huffing and rushing and huffing on December 24th will stress you out more than you ever could have thought imaginable, so say goodbye to the stress, make a list and get your Christmas shipping done and dusted online by the beginning of December. If you’re brave, wait for the Black Friday sales. If not – or if you’re very very organised, buy your gifts in January.
- Don’t buy gifts just because you’re expected to. Gift sets of smellies or beauty products can be lovely but they often go untouched and unopened. Make a pact to give to children only, or just give a nice card instead. If you have a big expense coming up, such as a house purchase or a wedding, this is generally easier – but if you’re a little bit tired of giving gifts that will never be used or likely re-gifted, start giving thoughtful gifts (that means you do really have to put thought into them, for example, a framed photograph of their children), or no gift at all – or an experience instead of a material gift. Coupon websites offer a great array of experiences and are a unique alternative gift for the couple that seemingly has everything – plus, it shows a lot more thought than a gift set of foot cream and shea butter. If you must give gifts, you could always put a cap on the price spent, or ask for something homemade instead – homemade jams and chocolates always go down a treat and when made for more than 4 or 5 people are really rather cheap, too.
- Want to give? But don’t want to go retail crazy? You could always donate to charity. Alternatively, have a nosy around a few charity shops. Many fully wrapped gift sets, brand new books and antique jewellery end up in charity shops for mere pence – you’re getting gifts for next to money and doing something good for charity! What more could you want!
- IOU. Yep, we know, you probably think it’s a cheapskate’s way out, but hear us out. If you’re the type to give big at Christmas but can’t this year for one reason or another, consider giving small gifts, then presenting your recipient with an IOU for when Christmas is out of the way – for example, IOU a slap up meal with plenty of wine will be a lovely way to say to close family members “Sorry I can’t give you as much as I normally do, but I still want to do something special for you when Christmas is out of the way”.
- Rent, don’t buy. If you’re struggling for space or need new furniture, don’t buy new, especially if you’re minding the pennies – rent some for a few days instead.
Source: Money Saving Expert