Christmas presents that don’t cost the earth!
Christmas is upon us and it is always an expensive time. Every year we vow that this year will be different but every year and most of us still end up spending far too much. But what can we do to make things better? Is it really possible to give everyone Christmas presents that don’t cost the earth?
At Logbook Loans we’ve been giving this a lot of thought and have put together a list of Ten Tips for how to do Christmas on the cheap!
- Decide how much you can afford to spend
Most people don’t like the idea of budgeting but unless you set a limit on what you can spend for Christmas you are bound to get in a mess. So start by making a list of absolutely everything you need to spend money on this Christmas: presents, cards, wrapping paper, decorations, and also all your food and drink. If you have to cut corners somewhere you need to understand the bigger picture. For example if you decide you need to spend a certain amount on presents then you may need to cut down what you spend on food.
- Food and drink
Whilst on the subject of food, it really is possible to make economies. Just think back to last Christmas and all the food you probably ended up wasting. Don’t throw money away like that this year: plan your food carefully and be realistic about portion sizes to avoid overbuying. We love the website Love Food, Hate Waste that is a really useful tool to help you do this. Do your food shopping at a quiet time – and never while you are hungry as this will make you buy more snack foods than you really need. Also remember that you don’t need to stock up for days and days: most shops are open again on Boxing Day so as long as you have enough for Christmas Day that is fine. In fact topping up your shopping on a day to day basis from then on is a really good idea as you can ensure that you use up what you already have and just buy anything else you really need to go with it.
- Shop around
For food and drink – and also for Christmas presents it is a good idea to shop around. It would be a good use of your time to research the best deals online in advance: price comparison websites can help you do this. You can then either buy online or go to the shops where you know you can get the deal you are looking for. Many major stores and supermarkets have pre-Christmas sales, and remember to check out local outlet and clearance stores. It can also be worth having a go at haggling as many retailers now claim they will match a competitor’s price and you may well get a deal.
Everyone is in the same boat in terms of trying to save money at Christmas so why not work as a team with your extended family? Some families agree to just buy presents for the children and perhaps do a Secret Santa for the adults? Or you may want to get your family to club together to buy special presents for the children rather than their own individual presents. There are lots of possibilities and the best thing is to work together with your family to find new ways of doing things that save money yet also keep everyone happy in the process!
- Voucher power!
Most homes have at least one unused gift voucher lying around somewhere: maybe more. Statistics show that around 6% of all gift vouchers are simply not used. So put these vouchers to good use! You could either re-use them as gifts for others or see if you can spend them on presents! You can even cash them in on websites such as Zeek – and also remember to cash in your reward points on supermarket and store loyalty cards. Do also look online at voucher sites such as Groupon that may enable you to get good deals on gifts and experiences from a wide range of retailers. Also be aware of cashback schemes such as Quidco that refund a percentage of the cost of your shopping direct into your bank account.
Online sites such as eBay can save you pounds! You can buy brand new goods at a fraction of the price, or if it does not matter if the item is brand new then you can pick up an even better bargain on goods that are hardly used. Also remember that online sites are a great place for selling as well as buying: so you could make a bit of quick cash by selling your unwanted items that may be just what someone else is looking for.
- Charity shops
It is always well worth checking out your local charity shops for all kinds of bargains. Whether you are after gifts that are new, or appear new, or are proudly antique or retro, charity shops are a great place to go. They are also brilliant for little stocking filler gifts for children. It’s also great to know that you are helping a worthwhile cause at the same time as getting your Christmas shopping done!
- Homemade gifts
Many of us are a bit embarrassed about the thought of giving homemade gifts but they are often much more appreciated than something from a shop. Don’t underestimate your talents: if you can sew, knit, bake, paint, or do anything else creative then go for it! Make your own gifts and save money whilst you’re at it. Also increasingly popular is upcycling. Hunt around car boot sales and charity shops for items such as small items of furniture, wooden boxes, or other household items and give them your own special makeover for a truly personalised gift.
- Free gifts
Remember the old saying about never looking a gift horse in the mouth? Well give it a try! There are various free websites such as Freecycle where people will literally give things away: if you strike lucky you might find exactly what you’re looking for. Or how about offering your time and talents as a gift! Many people would really appreciate a homemade voucher that treats them to something nice: perhaps a delicious meal, a drive to somewhere you know they’d love to go, a haircut or manicure, babysitting or children’s sleepover, knitting them a sweater of their choice – whatever they would appreciate that you can supply could be the perfect solution to your Christmas shopping dilemma!
- Free delivery
Postage costs can really be crippling at this time of year. Stamps for Christmas cards often cost way more than the cards themselves! But many people would now be more than happy for you to email Christmas cards which can save you a lot on both cards and postage. For a personalised touch, you could create a special card online, using family photos and videos. When shopping for gifts online, look for retailers that offer free delivery. If you do need to send a parcel somewhere then research discount couriers, who may be cheaper than Royal Mail, and will often collect from your home.
We do hope that the above tips will help you to have a wonderful Christmas that doesn’t cost the earth! But if you do need some quick cash this Christmas then perhaps Logbook Loans can help? It could make more financial sense to take out a small loan to see you through the Christmas season rather than running up your credit card. To find out more, do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Logbook Loans.