Written by: Cally Worden
Christmas comes but once a year … and it can knock a massive hole in your finances. Not exactly a merry and sparkly prospect. So how can you save money during the festive period? Here are our Top Ten money saving tips for christmas!
Ditch the Gift Tags
The annual battle with the fiddly bits of string that come with dangly gift tags drives me nuts. And it annoys me too that when I opt for the clever sticky ones they often blend so well into the paper that you can’t find them. Invest instead in a cheap, black permanent marker to scrawl your recipients’ names on your gifts. You can add little drawings too for a fun and personal effect. Small savings, but every penny counts, and this one is guaranteed to reduce your wrapping-stress levels too.
Get Inside young Kids’ Heads
Brand awareness doesn’t generally develop until kids are around 7-8 years of age. Prior to this, it’s often possible to find alternative and cheaper makes of many toys, that will deliver just as much fun and excitement to your little ones.
Look for Local Bargains
eBay, Freecycle and various other sites are packed with many decent items that are collection only. This makes them less universally appealing, which typically drives costs down. See what’s available in your area.
Chat with Family for Free
If you haven’t already discovered the joys of free web-chatting, then Christmas is the perfect time. Catching up face-to-face with friends and loved ones who live far away, in the UK or elsewhere in the world couldn’t be simpler. All you need is a web connection, a suitable device (smartphone or tablet) and the app of your choice – Skype and Facetime are two of the most popular, and I can personally vouch for both. And I love that they are essentially FREE.
Get Sale Savvy
Flash sales abound online in the run up to Christmas – Amazon’s Black Friday extravaganzas have become legendary. And they are not the only e-tailer to harness this sales tool. Many branded online stores invite you to sign up for membership, and in return will give you advance notice of flash sales in the pipeline. The resulting spam in your inbox can be a pain, but discounts gained can be huge and you can always unsubscribe in the new year.
Use Discount Web Couriers
Bless the Royal Mail and all that, but for parcels you are sending of more than 2kg (as a rule) you can find much cheaper delivery options on the web. Last year I had a 35kg box of goodies posted over to France from the UK by courier, for just ¬£30. The same via Royal Mail would have cost hundreds. UK or international, the savings remain stunningly attractive.
No, not a spelling mistake, and nothing to do with tents or caravans. Comping is the name for the process of systematically finding and entering online competitions. There is no guarantee of success of course, but if you do win a few items you could save yourself a few pounds on gifts, or boost your own personal stocking for free.
Think Christmas All Year
Always be on the lookout for bargains you can stash away for Christmas. Not only does this spread the cost over the year, but it also allows you to snap-up items at rock-bottom prices and reduces your stress as the Big Day approaches. You too could be that person who is all wrapped and ready to go by late November!
Adopt an IOU approach
For adults this can work a treat. We all know the January sales are coming, but can’t resist having ‘something to open’ on Christmas Day. If you think your recipient can wait, then print off and give a photo of your intended gift instead, and then go shopping in the New Year sales to snag your present at a knock-down price.
Unleash your Secret Santa
If the burden of gift buying for friends and extended family members if steep, then why not suggest to your group that you adopt a Secret Santa approach instead. Sure, it means you all only receive one gift instead of many, but it will save you ALL loads of money. Suggest it and see what reaction you get – you may find your cohort is as relieved as you are to slash this element of Christmas expenditure.