Christmas is one of the few occasions in the year where we feel obliged to splash out. With presents to buy for your nan, grandad, mum, brother and great aunt Sal you soon start to realise just how expensive it is. To avoid breaking the bank and have a bit left over to treat yourself its best to set up a budget for Christmas. Get saving with my top Christmas budgeting ideas.
Set a budget
This may seem pretty obvious but if you’ve got a lot of people to buy for it’s best to set a budget for how much you can afford to spend. Take the money out in cash if you can or move it to a separate bank account so you don’t spend over your allotted amount.
Get your bank to pay you
Banks nowadays really want your custom so often offer bank bribes to entice you to move your bank to them. Offers include everything from a whopping £250 by Clydesdale branded ‘B Account’ to £150 for HSBC Advance. Head on to my article for a summary of all the offers available.
Make your own decorations
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on decoration, or rather spend that money on presents, you could try making your own. You don’t need to be an expert, there are plenty of simple craft decorations you can make. Check out Pinterest for inspiration.
Make your own gifts
If you’re a little crafty why not make your own gifts for your loved one this Christmas. You can make everything from your own candles to soaps. You can make them look pretty by taking inspiration from Pinterest.
Don’t buy unnecessary items
When you’re Christmas shopping do you end up buying things like ribbons and outdoor lights? Whilst these may make your gifts look prettier they are unnecessary and often get thrown away or stashed in the attic for 11 months of the year. Why not save your money and spend it on the important things.
Buy stocking fillers from China
Have you ever seen the ridiculously cheap listings on Ebay where you can get great items for less than a fiver? Often they have free postage too which means you save money for the big presents. As they’re coming from China they do take quite a while to arrive so you will need to start a few weeks early to ensure you get them in time for Christmas.
Whether you like to use Ebay, Gumtree or even Facebook Marketplace, the easiest way to make money for christmas is to sell stuff you don’t want anymore. Ebay has the biggest market so is probably the easiest to sell your stuff, but you will incur costs. Facebook is free but you do have to watch out for time wasters. If you’re selling something expensive ensure you send as a business transaction through Paypal to ensure you’re protected in case the buyer doesn’t pay you or claims the items gone missing. If you’re meeting someone to sell a high value item ensure you meet in a public place or have told people where you’re going to be. Of course there are other selling apps like Shpock or Depop but I’ve found the fastest sellers are the biggest like those listed above.
Do a family Secret Santa
Why make Secret Santa just a work thing? If you’re really struggling for money you could agree with your family to do Secret Santa and each choose one person to buy a present for. You won’t have to spend so much money and there’ll be a little mystery at unwrapping time as you all try to work out who bought what.
Use cashback sites
Sites like Topcashback and Quidco really come in handy at Christmas. You’ll get paid a percentage of whatever you’ve bought, so you’ll earn money whilst you’re spending money. Seeing as you’ll be buying a lot of presents at christmas you’ll bound to earn a few pounds for a few sneaky treats to pamper yourself this Christmas. I tell you more in my article on 28 top ways to save money.
Buy a artificial Christmas tree
Real christmas trees may look beautiful and authentic but they cost a lot of money and shed a hell of a lot of pine needles. There are many artificial christmas trees you can buy that look just as good as the real thing, are a lot cheaper and can be recycled year after year. You’ll end up with more money in the kitty and a lot less vacuuming to do.
Consider a personal loan
For your nearest and dearest you could create a gift where you dedicate yourself to helping the other person through personal loans. Whether it’s a back massage or free lifts to work you can decide the terms and how long it’s available for. The only thing you’re losing is your time and for someone you love I’m sure that’s something you won’t mind doing.