Monday, October 10, 2016

5 Tips >> Frugal Festivities

5 Tips To Save Money This Christmas

Although Christmas is 11 whole weeks away, it's never too early to give it a thought or two, especially if you are on a tight budget as a lot of us are. It's always good to get our frugal thinking caps on to take some of the stress out of what really is the best celebration of the year. 

It's so easy to spend more than you can afford, so I've been thinking of a few simple tricks that can help you celebrate in style, without breaking the bank. All you need to do is to start your Christmas shopping spree early, get creative and shop smart.

Here are my 5 top tips to help you save money this Christmas, without you or your family missing out.

1. Plan early

If you can get organised and plan everything before December, you will find much more time to search for bargains and special deals. This time of year is great for picking up those pre-Christmas sales and post summer bargains.

Make a list of everything you need for your Christmas holidays as early as possible. This will help to organise your time in a more effective way, enabling you to fit your Christmas shopping in with your other daily chores. You can use a spreadsheet (I LOVE spreadsheets!) or write a simple list on a piece of paper. Just remember to do it before the big holiday rush.

On your list, include all the people you want to buy presents for, as well as possible gift ideas for each of them. From there you can search for the best prices and wait for the best deals without rush purchasing and wasting money that can be better spent elsewhere.

Planning early means you can also sort out all the food, stash things away in the freezer and get cracking on with the home made goodies.

2. Be creative with decorations

You don't have to spend a fortune on Christmas decorations. you can pick up fab bits and pieces in your local pound shops. Homemade decorations can be really impressive too, so consider unleashing your creativity and putting your weekends to good use. If you have children, get them involved in creating junk Christmas decorations too, they will love it and you will have true treasures to keep for years to come - who doesn't love a toilet roll Santa? You can also create your own Christmas cards and wrapping paper with just a few pennies, Pinterest has some great ideas. A little glue and a lot of glitter can do wonders.

For a tasty treat, why not create edible biscuit decorations with your children, top them with a fancy icing and use them to decorate your Christmas tree. Add a few tinfoil snowflakes and a bunch of candles, and your home is going to be all set to welcome the big man on Christmas eve.

3. Shop little and often

Avoid getting trapped into the big shopping sprees, it can be really daunting to your wallet and also pretty hellish in the Xmas rush. Buy all your supplies in the weeks or even the months running up to Christmas, so that when the time comes you have almost everything you need to prepare for the holidays in style. You can save some money and a lot of time by not having to rush buy in the week before Christmas.

The other way of saving some money is to replace expensive items with cheaper alternatives. For instance, drop the turkey and buy a chicken! If you are hosting, you could ask relatives to contribute to different parts of the meal or bring drinks or desserts, never be too proud to ask for help if you need it. Plan your Christmas meals and buy your supplies as early as possible while the prices are low.

4. Remember it's the thought that counts

If you have a very limited budget, make sure you shop around and don't shy away from suggesting a Secret Santa idea, gifts under £5 or buying for kids only if it helps you. Homemade gifts are awesome too. They can be useful, but most important of all, they show you've thought about that person when creating the gift. Even if it's small, such a personal gift may have a much higher value as it shows you've created it with the other person in mind. Most people just love the buzz and feel of Christmas, especially if they are off work and enjoying some family time - it's not all about the gifts.

5. Do some super savvy shopping

Many stores and online retailers issue voucher codes and discount coupons at Christmas time, so stay alert for those and grab all the offers you can find. Flash sale sites are also an excellent resource, so don't forget to bookmark a few of them for the holidays. WOW FreeStuff publish exclusive freebies from the big brands, which make great stocking fillers. In addition, you could pay a visit to your local charity shops, and ask in stores for freebies, special deals and promotional offers. Since there are many retailers that work on commission, they are going to be happy for each and every sale they can make. 

Second hand toys are also a great idea. Kids don't mind that it's pre-loved and it just means they can have more of what they really want. Kids don't care about the fancy packaging either and if it works and looks new then it's really just saving you precious pennies that can be put towards other Christmas goodies. More chocolate anyone?

Do you have any money saving tips that could help others this Christmas?

*Collaborative post