Christmas can be such an expensive time but there are lots of easy ways you can make your money stretch further and still have a magical Christmas on a budget.
Working out a budget first and how much you can reasonably afford is a good first step before diving into the buying. Want to know how to raise some before you start? Check out this fab guide to finding money in your home for Christmas shopping.
Christmas Presents on a Budget
Sales – Plan ahead and keep an eye out for sales. Black Friday is an obvious time to pick up bargains. Lots of the supermarkets like Aldi or Sainsburys have special toy sales.
Seconds – If you’re looking for something a little more unique, many small businesses sell their seconds or samples at reduced prices. Often there are only small imperfections. Head over to ETSY and type ‘seconds’ in the search bar and you’ll quickly find lots of great deals. Chameleon & Co is another favourite of mine and at their seconds are usually in good condition and hard to spot.
Refurbished – Games consoles and mobile phones can really dent your pocket. However, you can really reduce the cost by purchasing a pre-owned electronics which have been refurbished. I did this one year with a games console for my kids. It even came with the original box and I just gave everything a good wipe and clean to make it look as new as possible. With the extra money we could even buy some extra games and they loved it.
Second Hand – Charity shops are a treasure trove of bargains. Items come and go quickly so worth popping in every time you pass. Facebook marketplace, Gumtree, Ebay and other similar sites have all kinds of things and if an item has been listed for a while you might even be able to negotiate a cheaper price.
Homemade – Handmade presents especially by children are so much more thoughtful and special than just something bought from the internet. There are lots of easy ideas on Pinterest and I have some great step by step guides on Red Kite Days too. One of my favourites is a brownie in a jar which looks as great as it tastes once made and homemade bath bombs are pretty straight forward to make too.
Loyalty Points – Don’t forget to make use of your loyalty points, Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage and Nectar. Don’t use them all year and then make the most of them to buy presents at Christmas for others. (Thanks for Recipe for Home for this great idea).
Shop Around – search around for any high value items you’re buying and compare prices. Don’t forget that sometimes an item that seems cheaper ends up having bigger postage costs added on so make sure you’ve checked the full amount. Mums Family Fun gave me this great tip if you’re looking for something on Amazon. Set up a price tracker using http://uk.camelcamelcamel.com/ . You select the item you want to buy and type in the ideal price you want to pay for it. This website then tracks the price and when it reaches your target price it emails you to notify you.
Christmas Present Wrapping on a Budget
Part of the excitement of receiving presents at Christmas is the unwrapping and you don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive papers, ribbons and gift tags. Buy a big roll of brown paper and print it with stamps.
After each Christmas I save the cards we received and then use them the next year to make name labels. Just cut the picture from the front, punch a hole and add some ribbon.
Christmas Decorations on a Budget
If you can hang on until really close to Christmas, trees are often discounted at garden centres. You can also string up your Christmas cards to make decorations, get the scissors out and make paper snowflakes.
My favourite frugal tip from A Rose Tinted World is to go out and use the foliage in the garden to make your Christmas table centre piece and mantle decorations. It costs nothing!
Make your own Christmas crackers, they might not go bang but they’re a fun activity, look great and with the money you save you can fill them with better little gifts.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry on a Budget
Use your Christmas leftovers wisely for meals during Christmas week. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are 15 leftover turkey recipes.
Be flexible and leave it until the very last minute to do your Christmas food shop. Check out what the discounted lines are in the supermarket on Christmas Eve and plan your meal around the deals.