Christmas can quite easily become an expensive time of year, but it does not have to be. After spending Christmases in lockdown, it can be tempting to go all out this year and to treat the family more than usual.
However, with the increased cost of living, it might be wiser to budget and prevent buyer’s remorse and financial stress. You do not need to spend a fortune to have a good Christmastime or make your friends and family happy.
Remember, Christmas is ultimately just one day. It is not worth struggling financially for weeks or months after. So, here are some tips on how to save money on Christmas gifts this year.
Make a list
Before getting started, you should make a list of everyone you are buying Christmas gifts for. This is also a great opportunity to streamline the list.
Is there a friend or relative that you always buy for who does not get you anything? If so, you should consider taking them off the list.
Set a budget
Figure out how much you can comfortably afford to spend on Christmas gifts this year. Make sure your budget is realistic and within your means.
Once you know how much you can spend in total, then work out how much to spend on each person on your list, and on wrapping supplies. You may even want to agree on a budget with some friends and family members, so that you know you are both spending similar amounts.
Keep a record as you go, noting down how much you have spent, on what and for who. This way you know how much more you can spend on each person, plus it will remind you what you have bought everyone.
Starting your Christmas shopping early and buying gifts over a longer period of time will help to spread the cost and even save you money.
Buy gifts as and when you can, especially if they are on offer, rather than waiting until it is closer to Christmas when they may be harder to find or the prices may be higher.
Take advantage of offers
Be sure to sign up to any loyalty or rewards programmes offered by the places you shop at. Most are free and give great benefits to their customers, such as monthly vouchers based on what you buy, free treat on your birthday, or a discount off when you have made a certain number of purchases.
Check online for discount codes before placing online orders. Simply search for something like “[shop name] discount code”, or you could check their social media pages for discount codes, then try any codes you find at checkout.
Sign up to newsletters via email from your favourite shops to stay up to date with the latest offers. You may even get a discount code to use on your next order.
You could also get cashback on your online purchases through websites such as TopCashback or Quidco. Simply access the website you wish to purchase from via the cashback provider’s site, place your order, and get money back when your purchase is verified by the retailer.
Give family gifts
Instead of giving each individual in a family their own gifts, you could give the whole family a group gift they can enjoy together. This can really help to cut costs.
This could be a voucher or tickets to something that they can all enjoy doing together, such as a show, the cinema, a day out, or some sort of experience. You could get them a hamper or boxes of chocolates, sweets or biscuits to share, or a board game they can all play together.
Do Secret Santa
You could suggest doing Secret Santa this year with your friendship group or family. This way, everyone still gets gifts, but rather than everyone buying for each individual, each person just buys for one other. Be sure to agree on a spending limit per person.
The limit could be higher than what you would typically spend on one person, but you would still save money. For example, if you do Secret Santa with five other people and the limit is £40, but you would usually spend £20 on each of them, you will still save £60 compared to usual.
Cut costs on wrapping
As well as saving money on the gifts themselves, you could also look to reduce costs on wrapping too.
Are you someone that usually wraps a gift in paper, adds some ribbon, tags and bows, and puts it in a gift bag or box? Doing this for every gift can be excessive and eat up your budget and is not great for the environment as a lot of it can’t be recycled.
Cut down on the ribbons, bows, bags and boxes, and look for cheaper alternatives to your usual wrapping paper and tags.
Some high street shops sell a wide range of recyclable wrapping paper for £1.50 or less per roll, so you can help save the planet whilst also saving you money.
Many people wrap presents in brown paper, which is also environmentally friendly and can be found for just £1 per roll.
As well as being good for the environment, using recyclable wrapping means that it can be put in your recycling bins and boxes, so your general waste bin will not be filled to the brim on Christmas day.
Buy a pack of generic tags, rather than the matching tags that are designed to go with the wrapping paper you go for, as they usually have more in and cost less. Instead of paper tags, you could get sticker tags, which can be even more cost-effective.
We hope that there are some tips here that can help you to reduce your spend on Christmas gifts, so that you can enjoy the festive period and go into the new year without financial worries.