Cutting the cost of Christmas presents
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.
Make a list of everyone that you normally buy for.
Look through the list- is there anyone that you could stop buying for? Do others feel that they have to buy you/your kids a present because you buy for them?
If you are struggling for money this year, can you agree not to buy presents for certain people for this year only?
Could you organise a Secret Santa for groups of friends? For family? For your children’s friends?
Eg: a group of 6 friends who each buy a present worth £20 for their 5 friends = £100 spent and 5 x£20 presents. What about setting a limit of £50 per person for the Secret Santa? Choose a night for “giving”, bring a bottle, each receive one fantastic £50 present , save £50and have a fab girls’ night in—perfect!
Can you give gifts of your time to some people on the list? Eg: offer to give parents a child-free weekend, by having their kids for a sleepover? What parents wouldn’t appreciate that more than anything that money could buy? 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 , causing less financial stress and therefore a much happier Christmas. An important part of spending less is perhaps managing the expectations of the whole family, so that everyone understand the importance of having a Christmas that is within budget.
You might find that other people will be relieved that you have suggested cutting back, as they have been seeing the cost of buying Christmas presents add up too.
Hopefully you have now managed to reduce the number of people you buy for. 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 throughout the year, then forgetting that they have been purchased or forgetting where they are!
A Christmas list app for android or iphone or a spreadsheet is a great way of helping you to stick to a budget and for recording the presents you have bought. (If these don’t meet your needs google to find a more suitable one)
Clear a space and use a dedicated shelf, cupboard or box to put all the presents that you buy andthen you can easily find what you have already bought.
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 £40 if you spend them on rewards. Check to see if you have any unspent points
Many 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.
Make your own free Word Art pictures using Tagxedo.
The Book People have amazing deals on books for all ages, with their book collections offering particularly good value.
For brilliant bargains use Money Saving Expert’s discount finder for Amazon.
Visit the local charity shops—there are often new and nearly new bargains to be had.
For fantastic suggestions check out these Festive Fivers.
If you are at all crafty consider making some Christmas gifts—there are some amazing ideasthat 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. Red Laser makes this so simple. Why not make it a habit to always check to see if you can find a discount voucher?
Check out a whole host of other suggestions for cutting the cost of Christmas. 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.
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 – subscribe below to be the first to hear about it.
I am Eileen Adamson, a Your Money, Sorted coach, working online with UK based women, helping them to develop a better relationship with money. By gaining an understanding of how their personality affects the decisions they make, I can help them to implement changes which will allow them to feel calm, positive and confident that they are in control and making good financial decisions. I can then support them to put into place simple strategies that will allow them to manage their finances effectively on a daily basis and create a stable, secure and exciting future for themselves.