Christmas can be a very expensive time that can take it’s toll on our finances, so we’ve put together our top 11 Christmas Savings Tips to help save you money without compromising on the spirit of giving.
1) Christmas Savings: Less is more…
More doesn’t necessarily mean more at Christmas, but try telling parents and grandparents of young children that! I’ve watched the children in our family get so ‘present drunk’ that they can’t even focus on the gift in front of them anymore. It’s time to take a step back.
You can combat the temptation to buy, buy, buy by setting a budget for each person and sticking to it. If you manage to find a great present that’s under budget – great, save the rest. Don’t be tempted to keep buying more.
Children (especially younger ones) like the unwrapping part so wrap up some cheaper stocking fillers in big boxes, you could even create a Russian doll effect for fun.
The ‘less is more’ principle also rings true for the mountains of snacks and sweets on offer at Christmas. This is an easy area to save on, simply don’t buy them or cut back. Your waistline will thank you for it come January. If you’re entertaining the family, you could always ask your guests to bring something with them to ease the burden. If you’re not sure how much food you need to buy, the clever fellows over at Waitrose have come up with a Christmas food calculator
Use a Christmas food calculator to work out how much you need and avoid waste.
2) Save on food – visit a budget supermarket
If you haven’t jumped on the budget supermarket bandwagon yet – where have you been? Aldi and Lidl regularly come up top of The Sunday Times taste tests for Christmas puds, mince pies, wine and Champagne, ahead of Waitrose and Marks and Spencer. And buying your meat and veg here will also net you big savings, so be savvy and shop around this year.
Again, be mindful not to overbuy. Often so much food is wasted around Christmas time, go back to the aforementioned Christmas food calculator to gauge how much you’ll need to feed each person.
PS. if you’re looking for stocking fillers? Lidl’s jelly beans are amongst the finest you will find!
Switching to a budget Supermarket could save you ££s without compromising quality.
3) Christmas Savings on Gifts – Set up a Secret Santa
If you have an ever-growing list of people to buy Christmas presents for, why not consider a Secret Santa? Thanks to a number of new(ish) secret Santa apps and websites, it’s easy to set up and you can even set rules, money limits.
Here are our top 5:
1) Draw Names. FREE. Works via email or with Whatsapp and Facebook Messanger. Allows you to exclude certain draw combinations.
2) Elf Sister. FREE. Send emails to the group with detailed notes, spending limits and gift exchange dates.
3) Sneaky SantaFREE Draw names, set up gift rules, and send an anonymous message to the participants. Customise your site with your favourite pictures of Christmas past.
4) Boogspace FREE This Secret Santa Generator is one of the few we’ve found that allows you to text the details to everyone, although there are no flashy extras like adding a spending limit or personalised message.
5) Secret Santa Generator FREE. This is another fairly simple website that uses email delivery. You can add rules like ‘Joe can’t draw Sally’. No spending limit rules though.
Choose quality over quantity, without leaving anyone out. Organise a Secret Santa.
4) Get Cashback or Max Out Loyalty Points
Got a Nectar card, Clubcard, Boots advantage card etc Make the most of your loyalty card points to reduce the cost of your Christmas shop. Keep your eyes peeled for trade-in offers.Alternatively, boost your Clubcard points and trade them for gifts. Your Clubcard vouchers could be worth up to 4 times as much traded in e.g. £15 worth of pizza express vouchers via the Clubcard website will cost you just £5.00 and an Adult Cineworld cinema ticket will set you back £4.50 in Clubcard vouchers.
If you haven’t already, sign yourself up for Topcashback.com, it’s an excellent way to earn cashback on your purchases. You might have to wait a few weeks to see the money, but it will be a welcome addition to your savings come to the New Year.
Save whilst you spend with a cashback site.
5) Host a Potluck Party
Staying in is the new going out and potluck parties are seeing a resurgence in recent years, the name originates from the United States where these kinds of parties are hugely popular, quite simply it involves guests all bringing a dish with them.
Often the cost of entertaining can fall on the same person year after year i.e. the one with the big house that everyone gathers at! Not only does the potluck dinner spread the cost but it also adds to the feeling of involvement for your guests. This is a great idea for a family get-together or gatherings with close friends.If you’re a traditionalist and you’re not quite ready to go down the Pot Luck route yet, then you could always ask someone to bring the starters or desserts or suggest a BYOB (Bring your own booze) party, which will help to keep at least some of the party costs down.As a twist on potluck, we’re having a Supper Safari this year with our friends who live nearby. Each couple will serve a different course for the evening and we get to walk off our excesses in between courses as we go from house to house. Not only is it a fun way to liven up the evening but no one person gets stuck with the full cost of hosting. Win/Win.
6) Christmas Savings on Cards
Forgo traditional Christmas cards and you’ll save not only on the cards themselves but also on the postage. If you’re anything like me, you’ll forget to post half of them. There’s no need to be a Scrooge, though…why not send an e-card instead? Try elf-yourself.com for some festive giggles, or create a free card to share online using Canva.com. If you normally buy charity cards, then make the donation directly to the Charity this year and feel good knowing that they are getting 100% of the money you’ve donated.
Spread some joy with a zero carbon footprint this year.
7) Shop Online and Save
Forget Christmas shopping traffic, the trauma of trying to find a parking space and then the madness that is a town centre in the weeks before Christmas. Pour yourself a glass of mulled wine, put on your favourite music and do your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your living room.Shopping online could save you a fortune, especially on things like books, computer games, electronics, toys, toiletries and make up gift sets. Just remember to max out on cashback or points – see if TopCashback is available before you buy. Amazon and eBay are two good places to start. The Book People are offering some great discounts on children’s book collections at the moment. Another find this year is MasterofMalt.com who let you put together your own tasting collection of up to 5 whiskeys, gin, vodka, rum and more.I also find that shopping online makes it easier for me to avoid buying things that aren’t on my shopping list, I don’t get drawn into buying ‘bargains’ that I don’t need (remember our Black Friday Post?).
8) Buy Presents for £1
The easiest way to save money at Christmas is to reduce the amount you spend on each person. Poundland has a great selection of small gifts and stocking fillers from Cadbury selection boxes, nail varnishes, DIY goodies, candles, colouring books and toys, all for a £1.
Poundland is ideal for stocking fillers or workplace secret santas.
9) Make the Most of Gift Sets
Christmas is a time when the big beauty names bring out their Christmas Gift Sets. These sets offer big savings on the individual price tags and often come with exclusive bags too, so they lend themselves nicely to being split into smaller gifts for multiple people.Try Elemis.com for gift set savings of up to £181 on the individual item prices. Also, look out for Boots.com weekly star buy or head for the makeup section of your local department store in November and Early December for Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Arden’s Christmas gifts.
Elemis and Estee Lauder Christmas gift sets are always top of our list.
10) Thoughtful, Personalised Gifts
It’s the thought that counts, so if you want to give personalised, thoughtful gifts, but don’t want to spend a fortune then consider creating your own artwork. Think of a poignant quote, an excerpt from their favourite book or create a collage of their favourite photos.
Use a free site or app to create in minutes, print it out (Staples offer very reasonable printing or visit your local print shop) and team with an inexpensive frame from Ikea for a thoughtful, personalised present for under a fiver! You could also check online for free photo print offers (MoneySavingExpert always have an up to date list), a framed photo is a rare thing these days!
Our favourite online design websites
Picmonkey.com – create photo collages in a range of layouts and designs, add effects, overlays, text or borders and download for FREE.
Pixlr.com – Use online or via the app. Pixlr Express lets you create photo collages, add overlays, text or borders and download for FREE, Pixlr Editor is like a free version of Photoshop design software
Canva.com – Choose from a range of free templates and designs or pay $1 each for pre-designed options
Tagxedo.com – Free website. turns words into art. Use poems, speeches, blogs or tweets etc to create beautiful artwork
Getloupe.com – Free download. Make photo collages in any shape including names, hearts, animals, maps etc
If you love the idea but can’t get your head around the design, try Fiverr.com. You’ll find hundreds of designers who can turn your photos into Cartoons or Caricatures or create personalised illustrations from just $5.
A bespoke framed print could set you back ££s on the highstreet but you can create fabulous collages for a fraction of the price yourself.
11) Save on Christmas Wrapping Paper
Forget standard wrapping paper; the good stuff is always expensive and the cheap stuff rips and falls apart. Buy a simple roll of kraft paper (also search butcher paper) and some florists’ ribbon or coloured string and you will not only save money but with a bit of inspiration, you can create beautifully wrapped gifts. Styleglam.com have some great ideas and tutorials.
Adding tissue paper and ribbon will instantly make simple gifts like candles, jars and bottles look more expensive. The great thing about cellophane and kraft paper is that you can use it all year round, so you’ll never be short of wrapping paper. PLUS it’s kinder to the environment, standard wrapping paper can’t be recycled, but normal brown paper can!
Get creative with the wrapping and turn a simple gift into a work of art!
We hope these tips help you reduce the financial stress of Christmas this year. Got a great Christmas Saving Tip? Share it on our Facebook page
Bonus Christmas savings for the over 60s
If you’re over 60 and looking to make some easy savings, head over to our over 60s discount page for a huge list of freebies and savings.
Happy Christmas Planning!