My Tips For A Thrifty Christmas 

By | October 20, 2018

Yep, we’re in October and we can’t ignore it, Christmas is coming! If your local shops arent be-decked out with decorations yet, they will be!

I must admit, I do love seeing all-things Christmas arrive in John Lewis, I always take D to see their Christmas department and always love how they sort their display shelves by theme, with a tree fully decorated at the end of each.

But, “the most wonderful time of the year” can be a worry if you’re on a budget, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on a thrifty Christmas:

1. Food: there is always the temptation to over-stock, I’m guilty of that. 

 The 25th December is one day out of many and whilst the shops will have many offers on biscuit tins, chocolate and selection boxes, don’t be swayed by the offers and only buy what you realistically envisage will be eaten or use some as teachers gifts (for example). 

 These items will also have a long “use by” date so you can always add one or two to the weekly shop, without making too much of a dent in the budget.

Consider items that can be frozen too and buy in advance, desserts, sausage rolls etc and tinned goods like custard, soup and – for Boxing Day and beyond – rice etc for those turkey leftovers! 

2. Wrapping paper and cards: Sometimes it helps not to be too organised with these, as in the week or so before Christmas, many retailers will reduce the prices of these. Alternatively stock up on them in the post-Christmas sales.

You could always  opt for wrapping paper that can be used for both Christmas and birthday presents and keep that supply stocked up all year round.

Labels don’t have to match the wrapping paper or even be “proper” labels, if you’ve kept any written cards from last year, cut out the picture, stick it onto the parcel, make a fold and use the plain area at the back for writing on.

Another alternative is brown parcel paper and get the children to draw a Christmas picture/use stickers and hand write the message, this latter option is more recycle-friendly too.

3. Presents: The main outlay and one which can cause most worry.

Many stores offer a “3 for 2” about this time, sometimes it can mean money-saving but check that the prices haven’t been artificially inflated for the offer (Argos have been found to do this) and that what you’re buying will actually be used/played with.

If you have a specific present in mind, keep an eye on local selling sites and online sites where you might find the brand new (or nearly new) item that someone has been craving.  

If such a item becomes available and you haven’t the funds at the time, see if you can temporarily borrow from a family member/friend or a short term lending site (for an example, click here) but if you go for the latter, be aware of the terms and conditions and aim to make repayment promptly.

Also, think about restricting presents within the immediate and wider family to the children only or bake gifts, for example star-shaped shortbread in a jar would look lovely and be well received or craft something, a portrait made by the children, or a knitted or crocheted item.

I made crochet mandalas for D’s teachers at the end of the summer term this year, which were very well received and they were no doubt a change from the norm.

4. Party outfits: if an invitation comes through or you like to dress up on Christmas Day, keep an eye out for offers, the closer the shops get to December 25th, the more desperate they’ll be to shift stock. 

Alternatively give an existing dress (for example) a new lease of life by altering (for example), the length or changing the buttons or adding a trim to it, everyone will think it’s a new outfit but and you can always save the money for…

5. The post-Christmas sale: many stores start their sales online on Christmas Day so, if there’s something in particular you wanted to buy and the recipient/you are happy to wait for a few days, then wait until you see it reduced.

Another option would be to give or request gift vouchers if there is something specific in mind and that way you’ll know that your hard-earned money will be spent on something that will be used.

Also, consider buying in the sales for next year, for example, clothes for children that they could grow into, toys or books. 

Above all, don’t panic! It’s one day out of many in the year and the majority of us will be making New Year’s resolutions come January 1st!! Another good reason not to have too many chocolates/biscuits/cakes still around!

*This is a collaborative post 

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