Christmas is a tight time. It’s probably even dreaded by people with enough cash to take a bath in (probably… ok, maybe not). But there’s no point acting surprised when January rolls around and you realise you’ve spent too much – it comes every year and it’s time you start being prepared.
Here is 21 money saving tips for your Christmas shopping to help you out a bit. If you remember 1 thing after you finish reading though, let it be this:
- 0.1 Christmas time isn’t just the day itself, it’s Dec 1st – January 1st or even longer. Super long these days, actually. And you better budget for that.
- 0.2 1/ Plan Your Christmas Shopping Budget
- 0.3 2/ Discuss A Price Cap For Christmas Presents
- 0.4 3/ Talk To Your Co-workers
- 0.5 4/ Make A Christmas Shopping List
- 0.6 5/ Christmas Loyalty Card Boosts
- 0.7 6/ Nectar Card Savings
- 0.8 7/ Always Use A Price Comparison Site
- 0.9 8/ Get Cashback On Your Christmas Shopping
- 0.10 9/ Stop Treating Your Kid Like A Snob
- 0.11 10/ Use The Amazon Discount Checker
- 0.12 11/ Shop Smart On Amazon
- 0.13 12/ Don’t Go To The Typical Stores
- 0.14 13/ Use Skype/Whatsapp For Your Calls
- 0.15 14/ Reuse Christmas Gift Bags
- 0.16 15/ Make The Most Of Sales
- 0.17 16/ Follow Money Saving Bloggers
- 0.18 17/ Have Christmas Drinks At Home
- 0.19 18/ Make Homemade Christmas Gifts
- 0.20 19/ Deliver Christmas Gifts Yourself
- 0.21 20/ Stop Buying Animals Presents
- 0.22 21/ Book Train Tickets In Advance
- 1 SEE MORE: How To Get Cheap Meals In The City (If You’re NOT Lazy) >>
Christmas time isn’t just the day itself, it’s Dec 1st – January 1st or even longer. Super long these days, actually. And you better budget for that.
1/ Plan Your Christmas Shopping Budget
How much can you really afford this Christmas? If you’ve just started thinking about it now, that means you only have 2 (or maybe just 1!) pay-cheques left until the big day. And although I hate to remind you, it’s not just about the presents. You need to factor in the food, the extra utility bills for any time off work spent at home, the decorations, the travel to relatives… and that’s before you even consider what you’re buying everyone. Yep. Gulp.
2/ Discuss A Price Cap For Christmas Presents
Now that you’ve got your budget, speak with all your close family and friends about what you’re all planning for Christmas. If this is a tight year for everyone you could talk about setting a limit for how much you all spend on each other. You might even decide to skip sending adults presents and only buy for the kids this year. You’ll never know if you don’t have the conversation!
3/ Talk To Your Co-workers
Buying things for your work chums can be so frustrating (but if the people I work with are reading, I don’t mean you. Honest.). All the cards you know they’re just going to throw away, the presents you’re not sure if they’ll even use. Suggest doing a secret Santa between you all for this year, and also only buying one card for the entire office each. That way you’re not wasting money on 20 you know probably won’t even be read.
4/ Make A Christmas Shopping List
But you’ll probably be checking it more than twice and that’s a terribly overused joke. Pretend you didn’t read it.
If you’re the kind of person who picks up a thing here and there for people at Christmas, just stop. Put the wallet/purse down. Step away from the internet. You need to make a Christmas shopping list with everyone you want to buy for, and you need to plan exactly how much you’ll be spending on presents. Start now, in November, by writing roughly what you think each person should get. Then over the month use some of our other Christmas shopping tips to try to get the things under budget for each relative.
5/ Christmas Loyalty Card Boosts
Tesco may be offering double Clubcard points. You could have a money off voucher from Boots or a freebie if you spend over a certain amount at Superdrug. Always check current offers, which are often big coming up to Christmas. You may even decide to get something from a different store to make the most of the deal.
6/ Nectar Card Savings
Build them up throughout the year and DON’T TOUCH THEM (hard, I know). But you could have a lot of money to spend at Christmas this way, without actually touching your own bank account.
7/ Always Use A Price Comparison Site
This one really goes without saying. If you’re looking for presents for everyone from your best friend to their family dog, you’re going to need to make sure you’re getting the best deal on each thing. So check out what you’re planning to buy on a site like Twenga for presents, or MySupermarket for your food shopping. It might seem like you’d only be saving a few pennies here and there, but honestly, there are some significant savings to be made between retailers.
8/ Get Cashback On Your Christmas Shopping
Whatever you’re buying, make sure you get some cash back for your trouble. Cashback sites like Topcashback basically pay you for shopping through them. It’s all legit – they get paid a commission from the retailer for ‘advertising’ their stuff to you, and they give some of this commission back to you to make sure you come back and shop through them again. Win-win! Especially if this means a bit of extra money in your back pocket for the rest of the presents.
9/ Stop Treating Your Kid Like A Snob
You really think your 3-year-old cares if you’re buying him a branded Pokemon toy or a cheap knockoff? Nope, they don’t, they just want to hit it against their other toys and pretend they’re fighting. In fact, they’d probably be just as happy playing in the box and wrapping paper.
So check online and remember to go for value. If a toy is really cheap, it’s probably terrible quality too, and little Jimmy really will throw a fit if his toy falls apart before he’s even gotten it out of the box. But, as long as it’s a good quality for its price, you’re onto a winner. Just beware when buying online – you don’t want a fake item that is actually dangerous for your child but hidden as being the real thing. Buy from well-known outlets only.
10/ Use The Amazon Discount Checker
If you don’t know about this incredible tool then you’re sorely missing out. Pop in what you’re looking for (in a broad range, no specifics – so put in toaster rather than Morphy Richards toaster), set it to price low – high and tick the FREE delivery box. Now you’ll have a list of products with discounts that also have free delivery – which is a pretty spectacular way to get cheap Christmas presents.
11/ Shop Smart On Amazon
Using the Discount Checker isn’t the only way to bag a bargain on Amazon. We’ve written 7 ways to save money on Amazon previously over on Express & Star, but here’s a quick summary of the kind of things you’ll find there; check the Amazon Outlet store and Warehouse for some killer deals you won’t find on the main site, add things to your basket but DON’T check out and take advantage of your free Amazon Prime trial over the festive period. Check out the article to find out more.
12/ Don’t Go To The Typical Stores
What does this mean, I hear you ask? Basically, you want a toy for your nephew. So you have to head to the toy store, right? Wrong. There are so many alternatives which sell a whole range of items in the run-up to Christmas in particular. B&M, Home Bargains, Savers, The Range to name but a few. Always shop around, and don’t pick up the first time you see it.
13/ Use Skype/Whatsapp For Your Calls
Christmas is already a costly time having to send presents and cards to everyone, including those pesky relatives you’ve probably only met about once in your entire life. So forget wasting even more money on a call to them from your landline; use Skype or Whatsapp for all of your Christmas calls. Facebook even has a call feature now.
This has two major advantages; firstly you’ll save money on the calls, and secondly, your family will think you really want a proper call because you can potentially video chat! Maybe that last point should be it’s good because you can video chat… and not just that you’ll make them think you want to… but you get the point.
14/ Reuse Christmas Gift Bags
Ok, so this tip will only work if you’ve actually saved your gift bags from last year. If you haven’t, take this advice on board for next year. Never throw away a good gift bag! Just cut off the tag and you can use it for your own gifts. Although it’s very bad manners to re-gift actual Christmas presents (ESPECIALLY to the people who gave them to you in the first place…), this practice is fine. People never remember exactly what gift bags they gave anyway, so it’s never that rude to return them.
But never. Ever. EVER. do this with the tags, wrapping paper, or gifts themselves. That’s not thrifty, that’s downright stingy. Plus there is NO way to hide this, no matter how much sellotape you use.
15/ Make The Most Of Sales
You know after Christmas, where all the stores have massive sales on to get rid of the leftover stock? If you make the most of this and get stuff that is pretty timeless, such as jumpers or even next years wrapping paper/cards, you could save a fortune. And a lot of time and stress next year. Obviously, buy only what you can store – you don’t want to turn your spare room into a storage room or have Christmas decorations falling out of every cupboard you open. But give it a go. They could always come into play at birthdays if you simply can’t hang on to them any more.
16/ Follow Money Saving Bloggers
I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re doing this already since you’ve stumbled across this blog and all, but just in case you’re not DO IT. Follow some bloggers because they come up with the best advice all year round and especially crazy deals around Christmas. I read Thrifty Home to get ideas for presents, and most of them plan for Christmas for a full year!
17/ Have Christmas Drinks At Home
A huge part of Christmas (or at least the run-up to Christmas) is snuggling up on the sofa with a nice mulled wine or hot chocolate and watching some Christmas themed movies. But I know so many people who meet friends in bars or pubs and eat out around this time for ‘Christmas catch-ups’, and it seems incredibly pointless.
If you have the cash to splash and do it in place of the usual Christmas pressies to these friends then fair enough – if not, why not invite them all round to your place with a bring your own booze policy? You can all feel cosy indoors, you don’t need to worry about getting cold, and you can save a bunch of money.
18/ Make Homemade Christmas Gifts
I’ll get this out of the way first – homemade Christmas gifts are rarely any good. Don’t give them to your kids, or your judgemental Mother-In-Law. But if you have a talent why not use it? Have you painted pictures before that people have asked for, or do you have a passion for cooking? Make something little for family and friends. Maybe give your partner or friends ‘vouchers’ for things like cooking, babysitting, or a picnic in the park. Just make sure they’re the kind of person who’ll appreciate that.
19/ Deliver Christmas Gifts Yourself
This only works if you know it’ll be more cost-effective for you to drive to someone’s house rather than posting a gift. But honestly, if you’re one of those people who mails boxes to co-workers, just stop. You work with them every day, just give it to them in person! Work out if you’re going to see any of your friends/family before Christmas, and if you then make sure you’ve bought their present and card beforehand. That way you’re saving yourself on some postage.
20/ Stop Buying Animals Presents
Your dog doesn’t know what Christmas is. It’s not going to be upset if it doesn’t get a present. Just give it a little more attention and love on the day and your pet will be over the moon – it doesn’t need an expensive toy or meal. Scrunch up some used wrapping paper and give Fodo a pig in blanket and he’ll be happy as Larry.
21/ Book Train Tickets In Advance
You KNOW the closer it gets to Christmas, the higher public transport prices become. It happens every year, just like Christmas itself, so stop pretending you didn’t know about it. If you’re going to be travelling at all over the festive period, book your tickets well before December is even close. As soon as it hits a month before your journey the prices are probably going to spike.