- 1Up 2Down 1“ It might sound like a step too far, but buying gifts, cards and wrapping paper just after Christmas can save you serious amounts of money. Think about it – unless you make your own, these are things we all need at Christmas time and the shops know it. It’s possible to see 90% reductions on cards and wrapping paper as shops look to empty their shelves.
Gifts are never usually discounted to that level, but it’s common to see Boots and other high-street shops offering half price on gifts. There may be an issue with storage, but if you have large numbers of present s to buy each year then you probably won’t mind an extra boxful of presents under the bed or in the spare room.
The best thing is, it’s really simple to find out which shops are having sales now by checking online, and it gives you an excuse to get out of the house and meet up with friends or family. „
- 2Up 1Down 0“ Re-gifting is not everyone’s cup of tea, admittedly - but it does make good financial sense. If you’ve received a gift that isn’t quite to your taste, then it is wasteful to simply throw it away. Instead, think about whether someone else might like to receive it as a gift.
Re-gifting isn’t about dumping tat onto friends and family, but about being frugal and making best use of the resources that are available. There are a few golden rules to re-gifting:
• Don’t re-gift handmade presents, or one-of-a-kind items – you’ll be found out.
• Never re-gift used or opened gifts. Only re-gift if the gift is brand new and in the same condition it would be in the shops.
• Use common sense. Make sure you know exactly who you gave what to – it’s been known for re-gifters to re-gift to the original giver…
• Have good intentions. As long as you are acting with good intentions, re-gifting is generally acceptable. It is not acceptable to re-gift because the gift is undesirable, as the chances are that the person you’re giving it to will think the same thing.
• Never tell anyone you are re-gifting. Any future gifts you give will be treated with suspicion. „
- 3Up 0Down 0“ Absolutely the best tip for a low-cost Christmas is to spread the cost. And not by getting one of those hamper things – but by taking real control of your spending throughout the entire year. It is difficult, and we can all struggle with money at times, but even just £5 here and there will soon add up.
What works for one person might not work for another, so think about the best way to save: are you paid weekly or monthly? Would the money be safer out of your bank account and in a jar, or can you send money to another account and not touch it?
If it’s easier for you to save money when it’s not I your bank, why not make a festive Christmas savings jar. There is no greater satisfaction than realising you have the turkey paid for by the end of February! And the more you watch the money grow, the more you’ll be encouraged to add to it.
This isn’t just a great tip for Christmas: it can be used for all sorts of things like holiday spending money, car maintenance costs, birthday presents or anything else you can think of. Saving across the year means you can avoid taking big hits on your monthly income in the last few months of the year, and more importantly, means you can go shopping whenever you want to – not only on payday weekends with the rest of the country! „
- 4Up 0Down 0“ If you’re particularly artistic or creative, then making your own Christmas gifts is a wonderful way to give thoughtful gifts to others. Making your own gifts or cards shows that you have invested a lot of time and effort, rather than buying gifts from shops. The making of gifts is in keeping with the true spirit of Christmas, and indeed all occasions where gifts are given: it’s the thought that counts.
Making gifts is also great for people who ‘have everything’, or who are notoriously difficult to buy for. If you can’t find something you think they’d like, just make it! It gives you a lot of control over the amount you spend, and it can be a nice way to spend an evening or two at home, warm and comfortable, with the winter weather taking its toll on those venturing out onto the high street.
You can also make decorations for your home. There are many places to buy quality decorations such as www.christmastreesandlights.co.uk but having handmade decorations unique to your family hanging on your Christmas tree is something that cannot be bought. Making decorations together is an ideal way to get the whole family together and into the Christmas spirit. If you enjoy baking, then why not cook up a batch of Christmas biscuits with festive icing and give them to friends and family? The time and effort (not to mention the taste) will be recognised and much appreciated. „
- 5Up 0Down 0“ Budgets are always dull. They invariably kill the buzz of almost anything. But a budget is a really good idea, especially at a time of the year when things can really get out of hand if you’re not careful.
Think about last Christmas: how much food was leftover? We’re not talking turkey sandwiches here, but actual wasted food that never got eaten, like that shortbread in the Christmassy tin that was thrown out just before Easter.
By setting budgets you will always know how much you’ve spent, and just as importantly, what else you need to buy. Think about how much food is physically capable of being eaten, how much you threw away last year, and how much a gym membership costs when you realise you’ve overdone it on the mince pies. These things should all keep your food spend at sensible levels.
Set a gift budget for each person – don’t feel like you have to spend what you budget for, if you find the right present. Underspending on one person may mean you have more money to spend on another: remember, Christmas isn’t a money-spending operation. It’s about giving thoughtful gifts – regardless of how much they cost, or if you’ve spent more or less on some than others. If everyone gets a gift that they really love, then the money spent doesn’t matter a jot. „
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