How to Save Money on Christmas ShoppingIt’s that time of year when we go over the top in more ways than one. Everyone wants to have a fabulous Christmas but how many of us end up paying for it afterwards? Here are our top tips for keeping the costs down and saving money when you do your Christmas shop this year.
Set a Budget
Setting a budget for Christmas starts with being realistic. You may want to have new lights and baubles, even a new tree. You may want a Christmas table filled with trimmings and all the wine you can drink, but there must be a limit.
How much can you realistically afford?
If you find yourself contemplating turning to loan companies or selling the family silver to pay for Christmas, then you seriously need to rethink your options and approach. Make a list of everything you want or need to get and then work out how you are going to afford it. It pays to start this as early as possible and cut the options that you don’t have the money for.
Keeping Track of Your Money
Christmas is the easiest time to lose track of what you are spending. If you want to save money, you need to know what’s coming in and going out. Using something as simple as an online budgeting tool or even a sheet of paper pinned up in the kitchen can certainly help. Keeping track of how much you spend has a psychological advantage – it can often stop you making those impulse buys when you know there are more important things to get.
Decide in Advance
Do your lists well in advance. That includes whether you’re having turkey or another meat (or vegetarian delights) for Christmas Day, how you’re going to keep the family fed over Bank Holiday and what quantities you need to ensure you don’t run out. Buying a big sack of potatoes, for instance, can cost you less and they’ll keep much longer than those you buy in clear plastic bags.
The Christmas Food Shop
Even though it’s Christmas, you can still find plenty of bargains if you look hard enough, particularly on products like wine. Pick a set time to go and do the big Christmas shop, armed with your list, and get everything you need in one go.
Do not be tempted to stray from your list – it can end up adding serious cash to your shop that you don’t need. If you want to stay in budget, then leave your card at home and carry the cash you intend to spend. Check for cheaper offers as you go along and you should keep within your budget.
Buying Gifts at Christmas
One of the biggest causes of debt after Christmas is buying presents for loved ones, friends and family. If you’ve got a big gathering at home this Yuletide, why not ask those attending not to buy presents. Many families slash the money they spend on gifts by just buying for the kids. Another option is to reuse and repurpose rather than spend. We don’t have to keep the high street store in business or increase shareholder profits if we’re on a strict budget.
Reuse and Repurpose
We all have stuff that we can reuse. Anything from old games and books to DIY tools can be passed on as a cheap but useful way of giving people gifts. Save your wrapping and cards from last year to make decorations or reuse for this year’s gifts. If you think about it, there’s plenty of stuff that we can put to good use at Christmas.
Try these simple tips and you will probably find yourself getting to the New Year with a few pennies still in your bank account. It’s all about a slight change in attitude, keeping track of everything, planning properly and not going over your limit. And it’s something we can all do!