Cutting the cost of Christmas presents

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Research by The Money Advice Service has shown that £2.4bn was wasted last year on unwanted Christmas presents, as well as on food/drink that was unused.  With 37% of people saying that they received presents, worth an average of £54, which were unused, it is easy to see how so much money can be wasted at Christmas. 

That's why I have compiled a list of fantastic ways to cut Christmas costs.

Make a list of everyone that you normally buy for.cartoon santa on a rocket

Is there anyone that you could stop buying for?  Do others feel that they have to buy a present because you buy for them? If you are struggling for money this year, can you agree not to buy certain presents for this year only?

Do it differently?

Could you organise a Secret Santa for groups of friends?  For family? For your children’s friends? Eg: If 6 friends each buy a present worth £20 for their 5 friends = £100 spent and 5 x £20 presents.  Could you set a limit of £50 per person for the Secret Santa?  Choose a night for “giving”, bring a bottle, and each receive one fantastic £50 present, save £50 and have a fab girls’ night in—perfect!

Can you give gifts of your time to some people?  Eg: give parents a child-free weekend, by having their kids for a sleepover?  What parents wouldn’t appreciate that more than anything?   Would your friend enjoy having her house spring cleaned?  Would your mum like her ironing done for 6 months? You can even design and print fantastic vouchers for these gifts.


Affordable, not miserable

Cutting the cost of Christmas does not ,and should not, mean being miserable and unhappy.  It is about creating a Christmas that you can afford , with less financial stress and therefore a much happier Christmas. 

An important part of this is perhaps managing the expectations of the whole family, so that everyone understands why you need a Christmas that is within budget. Other people may be relieved that you have suggested cutting back, as they have been seeing the cost of buying Christmas presents add up too.

Have you now managed to reduce the number of people you buy for? Now ask yourself how much you can afford and how much you WANT to spend.  Can you now set an overall budget, split it between all these people and set a spending limit for each person?


A common problem is buying presents all year, then forgetting that they have been bought or forgetting where they are! A Christmas list app for android or iphone or a spreadsheet is a great way of recording the presents you have bought. Clear a space and use a dedicated shelf, cupboard or box to put all the presents that you buy, helping you to find them easily. christmas

Some different Christmas presents

Tesco Clubcard Boost have some fantastic ideas for gifts, such as magazine subscriptions, experience days, annual memberships and cinema tickets.  Ten pounds of Clubcard vouchers will get you up to £30 if you spend them on rewards.   Check to see if you have any unspent points

any other stores offer loyalty points—can you buy Christmas presents using your points?

Photos of the kids make lovely gifts for the family —have fun taking photos, print them and buy a gorgeous frame. The result is a fantastic, personal present which doesn't cost a fortune.

Or why not make your own free Word Art pictures using Tagxedo.

Brilliant bargains

Visit the local charity shops there are often new and nearly new bargains to be had. If you are at all crafty consider making some Christmas gifts—there are some amazing ideas that would make wonderful presents.

Use eBay to search for bargain presents that other people are selling in the run up to Christmas. ALWAYS check to see if you can get an item cheaper somewhere else. It might be an idea for next year to work out your budget and how much you need to save each month to pay for it, then start your Christmas presents savings in January.  

My favourite way of saving money is Plum - it's an app that makes saving super simple and FUN!  Yep you read that right - Plum makes saving FUN.  Check it out - I think you will love it.

christmas presents


christmas challenge

Why not check out my Cut Costs at Christmas course?  It's designed to help you have your best Christmas ever, with no stress or debt. 

I hope that some of these ideas help you to save money on your shopping this year.  Look out for my post with lots of ideas about how to cut the cost of your food shopping over Christmas  

Eileen x

Hi, I’m Eileen Adamson, money coach, helping female teachers to become happier, healthier and wealthier. By showing you how to make small, sustainable changes, I can help you create the time, freedom and financial security you deserve.

For more information on how I can help you, please see my coaching courses, my Etsy shop or my Amazon shop.


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