I love Christmas, I really do. But I have to admit that it’s starting to get out of hand; from decorations through to presents, our spending goes through the roof – don’t even get me started on the food! I think it’s sprung from some of my favourite Christmas movies growing up; they always make Christmas look amazing without a care in the world about how much it costs!
This year I’ve been determined not to go overboard, after all, we’ve just spent far too much on the extension. I’ve been saving money monthly since January, we’ve set a budget for gifts for each other and I’m doing my best to meal plan so that we don’t have piles of food left over. But what else can you do to save? Here are some top tips from some of my fellow parent bloggers on keeping Christmas under control (without turning into the Grinch!)
- Plan ahead! Start squirrelling away gifts and cards in the January sales and carry on throughout the year. It spreads the cost in to small and manageable chunks – just don’t forget to keep track of what you’ve bought!
- Whilst we’re talking sales, try to do your buying over key purchasing periods when there are plenty of offers – dates like Black Friday in late November mean there are plenty of offers on offer.
- Cash in any reward points you’ve earned over the last year to use for food or gifts. Don’t forget those vouchers you’ve kept safe as well.
- If you’re online shopping (is there any other way?!), make sure you use cashback sites to gain a little extra percentage back on every purchase.
- Compare, compare, compare! Make sure you shop around to ensure you’re getting the best price for that must have gift. Another top tip: once you’ve bought it, don’t price check it again or you’ll start to lose your sanity!
- Set yourself a savings target to put aside a set amount each month. Whether it’s a work-place scheme, a standing order into a savings account or via a supermarket savings scheme, it’s a great discipline to stick to. You can even work your budget back the other way; once you know what you’ll have saved by the end, you can also track your spending to stay within limits.
- Look out for voucher codes to give you additional discounts or free delivery. It’s amazing what can be found with a quick internet search.
- Sign up to a free trial for services such as Amazon Prime before having a buying spree. Just don’t forget to cancel once the trial is over!
- Set some ground rules with your loved ones. Whether it’s a number of gifts or a value to spend, set a limit and stay within it. My favourite idea within this? Set a present rule; ie. a gift to read, a gift to wear, something you need and something you want. I’m definitely trying this!
- Be honest about what you want, and ask your partner for the same. Isn’t it nicer to get one thing you really want rather than ten things you’re not sure on? It sounds presumptuous but giving your family or friends a genuine idea of what you’re hoping for will help them set some spending guidelines themselves.
- Looking to save even more? Set up a secret santa within your present giving group, pick names out of a hat and an amount to spend and take it from there. That way you all get something thoughtful without breaking the bank.
- Make gifts! Whether it’s a hamper of cookies, chutneys or limoncello, a homemade hamper can be cost effective and often mean more than an expensive gift. It’s especially useful with children, get them to help make wrapping paper, cards and salt dough decorations – guaranteed to spread Christmas cheer.
- If the worst comes to it? Feel safe in the knowledge that you’re definitely having a cheaper Christmas than our Hollywood movie counterparts, Chill Money put together this infographic showing just how much some of my favourite characters would be spending… now I feel better!
With huge thanks to some of my favourite Christmas helpers (aka. fellow parents) for their tips and tricks to save money; Pete at Household Money Saving, Sophie at Soph Obsessed, Beth at Twinderelmo, Laura at Five Little Doves, Ally at Slimsights, Samantha at North East Family Fun, Erica at The Incidental Parent, Samantha at Mrs Mulled Wine, Nicola at Mummy To Dex, Laura at Edinburgh With Kids and Emma at Ready, Freddie, Go!