Want to save money on Christmas this year?
This time of year is so exciting, and for that reason it’s easy to get carried away!
You want to make it a magical time for your kids, and with all of the advertising at this time of year, it’s very easy to well over your budget.
The debt you gather at Christmas can leave you with a huge financial hangover to deal with come New Year.
So how can you save money at Christmas for your family, while still making it a really special time?
There are loads of ways to keep on top of your budget this year, and avoid making those impulse purchases that will take you in the red.
Try these top tips for saving this Christmas, and let me know what you do to save cash in the comments!
1. Mute and unsubscribe
Are you being bombarded with sales emails from your favourite companies?
The big brands are good at marketing, and they know how to play on your weaknesses.
There are constantly money off deals (most brands are now offering these year-round regardless of when seasonal sales are) and special events that “must end soon”.
The language used is intended to close the sale, and when you love a brand you’re very susceptible to buying into that, regardless of whether you have the money or not.
Plus the age of internet shopping makes it so hard. Your credit card details are probably pre-programmed into your phone, so you can buy with just one click. This makes impulse purchasing far more likely.
So how do you resist all of the pressure from your favourite brands to buy buy buy at this time of year? Mute them on Instagram and Facebook, unfollow and unsubscribe from their mailing list.
You can do this quickly in emails by scrolling to the end of your latest email from the brand and there should be an unsubscribe option right at the end for you to click.
You can sign up again in the New Year if you want when you’re less likely to succumb to the Christmas buying pressure.
2. Stop buying gifts for adults
I don’t know about you, but buying for the kids is fun for me. There are loads of ideas for what I can get them, I know they will get really excited and it’s just so enjoyable buying for them.
When it comes to adults, some people in my family are so difficult to buy for. And if you have lots of adults to buy for, your budget per person may be really low. For me this means I’m limited to what I can afford to buy them to things like a nice shower gel, a bottle of wine or some kind of gag gift.
This means I often end up just buying stuff for the sake of it. The recipient doesn’t really need it, and will they really care if they have it or not? Probably not I would say!
So have a discussion with the adults in your family. Maybe this year you could just buy gifts for the kids! If you are hosting Christmas, suggest people just bring a bottle of wine with them and you will provide all of the food and other drinks.
If you have a lot of adults to buy for then this could save you a LOT of money at this time of year.
3. Do homemade gifts
This is a great one if you have a large family. I suggest making something like chutney and preserve which you can make in bulk.
Say you have 20 adults you need to buy for, by making your own preserve with a cute handmade label (which you could get the kids to help with) you can spend less than £5 a head.
You can buy nice jars in bulk on Amazon as well as the labels. There are lots of lovely recipes online. I made a Christmas chutney one year and it took one morning of cooking and then it was all done!
People loved eating it with cheese after Christmas, and I think it was a really lovely to give something thoughtful, but that wasn’t too expensive, to the adults in the family.
4. Start buying early
Get organised early, when you can take advantage of sales, money off deals and so that you can avoid panic buying!
Leaving everything until the week before Christmas can lead you to make rushed decisions that will likely cost you more money.
Set off with the goal of having everything bought for every member of your family by the second week of December.
5. Set a budget for each family member
Plan, plan and plan some more. Figure out what your overall budget for Christmas is and that allocate a slice of that budget to each family member.
You will probably want to spend more on your kids than each other. In fact, me and my husband do not do Christmas gifts or cards for each other. We would much rather spend the money on the children, who appreciate it so much more.
Once you have set this budget, stick to it religiously and follow the tips above for avoiding overspending on individuals.
6. Keep track
Because we have to hide Christmas gifts so that the kids don’t realise what we have bought for them, it’s easy to forget ourselves what we have got!
Remember to keep a rolling list of what you have brought and keep an eye on that list.
This will stop you from impulse purchasing additional gifts that you don’t actually need!
7. Research Black Friday sales
Every year Black Friday seems to get bigger, and last way longer than just one day! The Black Friday deals now start at the beginning of the week and last the whole weekend!
But the thing is, you need to really look at the prices BEFORE the sale began. Not just the day before, but the month before.
Many brands inflate the price of something for a few weeks before a big sale, then they can claim it’s 50 per cent off, when really it’s only 10 per cent.
For this reason it’s best to only buy things that you actually wanted to buy anyway during Black Friday sales. Do not let it suck you into buying stuff just for the sake of it. This time of year is expensive enough as it is, without then buying things you don’t really need.
Research and track the prices of things that you actually want to buy before purchasing in a Black Friday sale. Try tracking websites such as Idealo to keep an eye on the true price of things before and after the sales.
8. Avoid the fashion
There has been a big rise in recent years of the Christmas jumper and Christmas PJs.
New collections are brought out every year, and they are seriously cute! But do you need to buy a new Christmas jumper when you just bought one last year and wore it twice?
Keep your festive themed clothes and bring them out again the following year.
Festive fashions need to last longer than just Christmas and one wear, so think before you buy the latest Christmas clothes.
9. Don’t do a Christmas Eve box
Another new Christmas tradition that has sprung up in recent years is the Christmas Eve box!
I think the roots of this is that some families exchange their gifts on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, so for many it has become an additional time to give gifts.
Save yourself the expense, you do not have to do Xmas Eve boxes!
When your kids look back on their childhood Christmases they will see the fun, the decorations, the nice food and the playing they did with you as a family. They will not look back fondly at all the stuff they received.
Buying extra gifts does not equal a perfect childhood, so please don’t feel under pressure to buy your kids ever more gifts.
10. Check your vouchers
Do you collect supermarket loyalty vouchers or points? While you can spend these in the actual supermarkets on food, UK stores such as Tesco will let you swap your vouchers for cash to spend on other brands. They are often worth more when you swap them under these loyalty schemes.
You could save big on toys, restaurant vouchers and loads of other goodies that you need to buy for Christmas.
11. Think before you buy ALL the food
There are so many Christmas nibbles, starters, desserts and general treats that emerge at this time of year.
It’s very easy to over buy, stuff your fridge and cupboards full of food and then come Boxing Day more than half of it is still there!
Have a good think about how many people you will be entertaining over Christmas and be realistic about what each of them will need to eat.
Once you’ve eaten the big Christmas meal, it’s very unlikely you will want loads of dessert, cheese and chocolates.
It’s a shame to waste food, so remember to keep an eye on use by dates, and freeze whatever you can so that you can use up leftovers in the days after Christmas.
12. Use cash back sites
Cash back sites exist as a gateway to shops you already buy from. You purchase items you would buy anyway through the cash back website’s link, and in return for the affiliate commission they receive for your purchasing, they pass some of their money made onto you!
It’s well worth signing up for these sites, especially for things you are going to be buying anyway. I know people who earned £300 this year by buying through cash back sites, and I’m sure there are plenty of others who have made more than this.
Give it a try!
I hope these tips have been useful for you. Remember, Christmas is about memories, not about how much you spend on everyone!