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Money Saving Tips for Christmas

September is just around the corner, the kids are heading back to school and it’s time to take stock and prepare our finances for, dare we say it, Christmas.

Money’s tight for many of us, yet we don’t want anyone to go without at this special time, so it’s time we started to plan ahead and start stashing away some early Christmas bargains.

With less than 4 months to go, it’s never too soon to start searching the shops and surfing online to find some great bargains.

There are already some brilliant bargains to be found – don’t forget eBay – there are many 2013 toys which have be used for demonstration purposes only up for grabs at much less than shop prices.

Your child wants the game – not the box!  It doesn’t matter if one of the corners is bashed or the tags inside have been cut off.  The first thing they’re going to do is take it out of the box and probably sling it aside, cut off any tags and get the game set up. So don’t get yourself into a tizz about a bashed box.

Just because a toy came out last year do you think your preschool child will notice that the dolly that Santa has put under the Christmas tree is not the 2013 version?  Of course not – they’ll be just as happy and probably couldn’t tell the difference anyway, but you’ll feel the jingle of the cash you saved when you open your purse!

Feeding an extended family over the holidays can be costly – not can be, will be costly.  Start to collect non perishable foods now, things like jams, coffee, tea, wine, frozen foods, mincemeat, icing sugar, flour etc and store them in a separate cupboard in the kitchen so that you don’t use them now.

Crackers are a must at Christmas, how can you not wait to put on your hat and cross hands as you all pull your Crackers – it’s a Christmas tradition!

However they can be expensive, so why not try making your own?  You can buy packs of ready to make crackers which include everything you need including the snap.   I did this last Christmas and inside instead of a mini measuring tape or a fish that tells your future I put a lottery ticket; as these will have increased to £2 by Christmas you could swap this for a scratch card.  Make separate crackers for children and include a small twist of sweets, a pencil sharper, or a rubber inside. Is that your purse I see bulging in the corner?

If you collect Tesco Club card points then save them up until nearer Christmas and use their club card exchange offer and get at least double their value.

I know it’s tight for everyone but if you have standing orders coming out of your bank every month, try to put a little extra in every month so that come Christmas you could have a little spare cash.

We’ve covered the kids, now it’s time to think about family, extended family and friends.

Get in touch with everyone and suggest that you set a price, say £5 each, no one must go over that amount, not even by 1p and you must get the best bargain you can for the money.

I’ve tried this, it’s great fun and you really do think about the person you’re shopping for as you try to get something you know they will particularly like – it could be the latest paperback from their favourite author, or a silly ornament that will make them laugh.

And finally, the cost of postage is horrendous; sending out loads of cards will cost you a small fortune.   Get in touch with friends and family and agree when you’ll get together to swap cards – I give mine to my mother in law who dutifully hands them out to her side of the family and in turn gives me theirs.  It works perfectly and it doesn’t cost me anything. You could also do the same with friends. Why not take the kids out for a walk, taking with you a bundle of Christmas cards for your neighbours and get them to drop them off as they pass by.

I hope these suggestions help to lighten the load this Christmas, please do get in touch and tell us about your savings tips.

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