When people say the word Christmas it can mean a time of joy and celebration or dread and anxiety. If you fall into the latter category it might be because the cost of Christmas is simply too much. Here are a few ways you can save money and alleviate the stress:
- Cut down on who you buy for. We now have an agreement with friends that we no longer buy presents for their children; there are simply too many of them and they all get plenty anyway. If we meet up we do a simple Secret Santa and everyone is happy with a small £5 gift.
- Have a clear out first. If you’ve got good quality toys lying forgotten why not sell them on eBay to people looking for some stocking filler bargains and make yourself some money in the process? Great for jigsaws, dressing up outfits, Lego and much more.
- The next one is obvious; buy on eBay! Young children won’t know the difference between brand new and nearly new so look out for used bargains. Lots of toys come around in circles and you might find that their current obsession isn’t stocked in shops anymore, eBay is a great place to find those hidden treasures.
- Look out for and share tips with others. The Money Saving Expert forum is a great place to find ideas and is packed with advice and links.
- Use Skype to save the phone bill. It’s great to talk to family and friends in distant places at Christmas but to save you spending the whole time checking your watch make sure you use a service like Skype to talk free of charge.
- Build the excitement with NoradSanta. We warn you though, it’s addictive! From the 1st of December you can track Father Christmas as he makes his progress. Great fun from Christmas Eve when you can watch him travel the world. Also a great way for children to learn about the geography of the World.
- Use points to pay for presents. Whether it’s Clubcard, Nectar or Advantage the chances are you’ve built up a small fund on your loyalty cards and if you shop carefully you can save a fortune. At Christmas, for example, most Boots gifts qualify for their 3 for 2 offer and by paying with Advantage Points you can have a basket full of gifts free.
- Don’t be tempted by last minute gifts. We all do it, we finish our shopping, wrap it all up and then keep buying because we think someone hasn’t got enough or one child has more than another. Stop! No one is going to judge you if their present is a couple of pounds cheaper than someone else’s.
- Don’t spend a fortune on a turkey. Quite frankly there is nothing wrong with a frozen turkey and if you wait until very close to Christmas you will almost certainly be able to buy one at a discount.
- If you can, wait until the sales. If your children or partner need a new coat or clothes or even a TV why not give them an IOU and pick something up in the sales. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing something you have just bought at a discounted rate so wait a couple of weeks and go bargain hunting together; you’ll get more for your money.
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