8 Amazing Tips For Frugal Christmas Shopping!
1. Start your Christmas shopping early (in January ideally!) to take advantage of all the sales and save potentially thousands in the process.
2. Cut the dead wood. That's right, think hard about whether certain people really need a gift or will even care if you give them a gift. It's so easy to get caught up in feelings of obligation and continue giving gifts to people we barely see or have only the slimmest of relationships with. Sometimes those people don't even reciprocate!
3. Head to eBay. Not just because eBay is home to some serious bargains, but it's a great place to clear out the clutter, including unwanted gifts from the previous Christmas. Put things you never use up for sale and rake in some extra pennies for your own Christmas gift shopping. After all they're just gathering dust otherwise, right?
4. Skip the pricey drinks. I know Christmas is a time of year when we all spoil ourselves, but do we really need to be drinking £12 bottles of Bailey's Irish Cream when Aldi offer something that tastes almost exactly the same for £3.75? Indeed Aldi and the like (Lidl etc) have other brand options for just about every favourite tipple out there and they all taste fantastic. If you bought six bottles of unbranded fancy booze this Christmas insted of the real deal, you could save £50.
5. Of course the ideal is that you budget and spend within your means, but if you MUST borrow money, get yourself a 0% interest card for the holidays, yes they exist! According to Money Saving Expert, credit cards can be one of the cheapest ways to borrow if you get it right.
6. Impulse shopping is dangerous and spending can easily spiral out of control. Lists might be tedious but you need to write a list of every single person you are buying for and what you intend to spend on them - write the total at the bottom to find out what your entire Christmas spend will be. Then as you purchase gifts, write what you bought for each person next to their name and what it cost you - if you've overspent on one person, you'll have to tighten the belt on another.
Don't forget to write yourself another list for food and drinks shopping as this too can easily get out of control.
Totting things up as you go along and seeing the £££'s mounting up will keep you in check and on budget.
7. That big 'ol £50 Christmas tree burns a hole in your pocket every year and it ends up on the rubbish pile afterwards. There is another way, and it's not plastic. A real Christmas tree is magical isn't it? The £50 price tag less so.
If you're into real trees and can't bear the thought of a piece of plastic sitting in the corner of your wonderland/living room, I'm with you, you're preaching to the choir. However I gave up buying £50 Christmas trees about five years ago ... I still get a real tree though, of sorts.
Simply head over to your local parkland and scour for fallen branches, when you find the perfect shaped (and height) branch, haul it home. When you get it home make any adjustment to it's size and shape that are needed ... you can cut branches off and add them in different places to make it more symmetrical and change the height and so on.
Once you've got the shape right take it into your garden, lay it on your lawn and spray paint it with Poundland gold or silver spray. This bit is pretty tedious to be fair, but necessary as a brown branch and leaves just doesn't look magical enough. You'll probably need a good four cans at least.
Once the tree is dry, secure it into a weighted bucket and decorate. I usually glue glitter to my tree as well for an extra blast of magical. Chunky glitter is best.
Take care, these top heavy trees are more prone to falling over than a standard shape of tree and so I always tether a couple of branches to the wall behind it for extra security.
This bad boy goes all the way up to the 9ft ceiling. I like to be imposing.
8. Be even more creative. Literally. You don't actually 'have' to buy all of your gifts, it's not law. Can you sew? Can you cook? A name embroidered bed cushion for your favourite nephew, a cute doll for your granddaughter, some perfectly wrapped gingerbread cookies for that friend you don't spend lots on but you feel you need to get them SOMETHING.
Utilise your skills to make gifts for pennies, and this is where starting in January can really help. You can spend the year making beautiful gifts that cost virtually nothing while giving you an enjoyable hobby at the same time. If you're worried about what recipients may think, don't tell them - if you're good enough everything is going to look shop bought anyway isn't it?
And with all of these Christmas gift shopping savings, you should have some spare to help those less fortunate. Find out where your local food bank is and drop off a donation to help those in desperate need over the winter, because some people can't even afford to eat this winter let alone buy gifts.
Use of food banks in the UK is at a record high. (www.trusselltrust.org/2016/04/15/foodbank-use-remains-record-high/)
Donating to your local food bank will barely dent your savings, simply pop into your local supermarket and pick up some basics and it won't cost you any more than say £10. Food banks are typically looking for the basics such as rice, long life milk, canned beans and canned fruit.
Just imagine how many lives it would change if everyone went to a food bank with just £10 worth of food this winter? You can use the map at Trussell Trust to find a food bank, or you may find that a local church is operating a scheme.
Check out some of our lowest priced gifts, you really can get nice handmade items and stay within a reasonable budget.