It’s not just presents that end up costing a fortune at Christmas. Although with children and family to buy for, spending on gifts soon adds up. But it’s the other stuff too. Like the fact that I see it as a personal challenge to make sure that there are no mince pies left at the end of any day. Which means buying more the next day.
I estimate my mince pie costs alone to be in the region of £29,384,795 per year. Well, maybe not quite that much. But you get the gist. So, I’ve put together a list of tips on how to cut costs this Christmas. You might find it useful if you also have a mince pie habit to fund.
1. Homemade gifts
Several years ago, I made a Christmas cake for my husband’s family. His aunt particularly loved the cake, and it became tradition for me to make one for her each year. This is a great way to cut the cost of gifts. I make our own Christmas cake every year anyway, and I’ve started to give one to my dad as his gift. And best of all, homemade gifts are always appreciated.
2. Split the cost
My mum joins us for Christmas lunch every year. It’s rare for us to have a large number of people there, but a lunch with all the trimmings can still be expensive. So, my mum always makes part of the lunch. She’s better at roasted veggies than me anyway, and it allows us to split the cost between us.
3. Look for savings
Even retailers understand that Christmas is expensive, and there are discounts around if you look for them. Black Friday is always a great money saver, but you don’t have to buy all your gifts that day. You can find discount codes for most online retailers. A great one for parents is the Smyths toys voucher code. But whatever retailer you use, it’s worth hitting Google to find out what reductions are available.
4. Shop local
I’m a big fan of supporting small businesses with my spending. I recently bought some amazing slippers from a friend who makes them from start to finish. And the advantage of supporting small businesses is that if they’re local, you save on postage. So it can end up cheaper to buy good quality, handmade items with the added bonus of supporting your local economy.
5. Quality over quantity
I’ve learnt the hard way over the years that you really do get what you pay for. So these days, I set myself a budget on what I’m going to buy and go for quality over quantity. The girls have had numerous toys and clothes over the years that just haven’t lasted as they weren’t great quality.
But with the discounts available these days on top brands, you don’t have to compromise. I’d rather buy a small gift with a JoJo Maman Bebe voucher code and have something that will last, rather than a cheaper gift that will fall apart.
6. Spread the cost throughout the year
I’m really not great at planning and being prepared. But it does make Christmas so much easier. If you purchase little things throughout the year, you can get them cheaper when there are sales on. Even if you prefer to buy just before Christmas, it’s a great idea to put some money aside each month throughout the year.
7. Limit other costs
If, like me, you’re not organised enough to put money aside in preparation for Christmas, you could consider cutting other costs over the next couple of months. For example, I often find myself buying coffee or lunch in a café when it would be much cheaper to eat at home. So in the run up to Christmas, I’ll be cutting back. Realistically I can probably save around £30 per week just by making lunch, cakes and coffee at home. This will really help at Christmas.
8. Make sure you’re getting the best deal
We quite often use sites like Groupon to get better deals on gifts and days out. But did you know that you can get a Groupon promo code to make it even cheaper? I hate the thought of paying more for things than I have to, especially at a time when money is tight anyway.
9. Go veggie
This is an easy one for me because I’m vegetarian anyway. But eating veggie for Christmas dinner does make it a lot cheaper. And you can still have all the trimmings – roast potatoes, gravy, stuffing, veggies and bread sauce. Just have it with a veggie option for an instant saving.
10. Secret Santa
For years now, I’ve been doing secret Santa with my brother and sisters. We set a limit of £25 per person and pick names from a hat to see who we’ll be buying for. As we have quite a large family, this is much cheaper for everyone. Another option is to agree that you’ll only buy gifts for children. This is often a relief for the whole family as it saves time as well as money.
What are your tips for saving money at Christmas? Please do leave me a comment to let me know.