Christmas is seeming very close right now, and I suspect for many the Christmas panic will be kicking in right about now. Unless of course you are one of those ultra organised people who have not only bought all your presents but also wrapped them – this is my aim every year, the reality is always a last-minute panic. Read on though for some tips on how to make Christmas cheaper this year, and ease the stress.
Today is ‘Black Friday’, which seems to mostly be an excuse for people to be rude by shoving each other out of the way to get to bargains, for shops to drag out stock from 2005, and for the internet to pretty much break.
I have news for some shops….if people didn’t want to buy it in 2005, the chances are they still won’t. Obviously 2005 is a little bit of an exaggeration, or at least I hope so.
Speaking to friends online and reading my timeline on Facebook and Twitter, Black Friday also seems to be a day that gets people panic buying things they don’t need nor want purely because it’s so cheap. I’ve been reading about people who are stressed because they can’t afford to buy anything today as they haven’t been paid on time and more.
It got me thinking, that there must be easier ways to save money on this Christmas, than fighting the crowds or filling up an internet shopping basket today, only for everything to be out of stock when you click ‘buy’.
So here are a few tips, tricks and websites from me that I use to help with funding Christmas, and making the last-minute shopping a little bit less stressful. Although NEXT year we will honestly all be finished before December definitely won’t we? (lies)
This is a site that I use all year every year for any shopping that I need to do. If I click through from Topcashback to the retailers site instead of going there directly, then I get cash back on TopCashback. It really is that simple, and in the last couple of years I have had over £400 cashback.
The top paying sites are for insurances etc, but if you can even get cash back on your Christmas food shopping. Plus wanting to sign up to BT for broadband and TV before Christmas, then the cash back for that is usually between £100 and £200. Not one to miss out on.
Christmas Gift Finder/ Toy Monitor
MyVoucherCodes has a special widget, which you can use to see what price some of the top most wanted Christmas presents for children are at some of the main retailers as a comparison. I was impressed to see Dobble is on there, as we loved reviewing that this year.
This could be worth keeping an eye on if there is a toy you are hoping will go into a sale on one of the sites, but don’t have time to check each site every day. Here’s the widget, so you don’t need to go looking for it. Just click on the toy and it will take you right to it on the retailer site. There is also the MyVoucherCodes website itself to use to find vouchers to make present buying cheaper.
Tesco Clubcard Vouchers
If you have any Tesco Clubcard vouchers you may have forgotten about check, as quite often and at the moment, Tesco has offers on where you can boost your vouchers, to make them worth more money when spent in certain departments. Pop to the Tesco Clubcard site for more information.
One year by doing this, I managed to get a huge set of Lego the boys were desperate for, and only paid £10 of the £90 odd pounds (my memory is almost as bad as my maths) that the listed price was.
For older family members who don’t have their eye on a particular toy, there is nothing wrong with making them a gift. With a pretty tin from a discount shop, you could fill it with home-made biscuits or mince pies and tie a Christmassy ribbon (you can buy decorative bits for the tin from pound shops no doubt). The older generation especially will love the effort you have put in and appreciate the personal touch.
You can also make your own Christmas gift hampers using chocolates and small gifts from discount shops – everything looks posher in a basket ;)
If you want more exciting ideas for home-made gifts then Pinterest is the place to visit. If you search ‘Christmas gift ideas’ on there, then you are bound to find an idea that appeals, I am always amazed by the level of creativity on Pinterest.
Don’t spend what you can’t afford
Tempting as it is to pop things on the credit card for Christmas, it all adds up and if you can’t afford it now consider can you afford it after Christmas? Spending too much on Christmas will make for a brilliant Christmas day….then a stressful rest of the year. Work out a budget and try to stick to it.
Sell old toys
You can use sites like Ebay and Facebook buy and sell groups to have a big clear out before Christmas of old toys and household items. Not only will you have a less cluttered house for Christmas, but you can make some money for Christmas presents, and help someone else out by selling them something they might not have been able to afford brand new.
Ebay is also good for grabbing bargains, especially if you search for ending soon late at night, when there are less people around to bid on things.
Your family will understand if you really can’t afford to buy them a gift this year, but there is a way to still give the something. You can make your own promise vouchers to pop in a Christmas card to them.
Maybe you will promise to walk your Mum’s dog once a week for her for the next month, wash your Grandad’s car for him, or be someone’s designated driver on New Year’s Eve.
I now some may take the moral high ground on this one, but we all get given gifts of toiletries etc that we either never get around to using, or that we don’t like that much for personal reasons.
So long as enough time has gone by that if the person receiving it doesn’t ‘out’ you if they put a picture on social media…..and so long as you don’t accidentally re-gift the original giver, then personally I don’t see a problem with this. Perhaps keep the personalised things with your name on though ;)
Feel free to comment below with your own money-saving tips for Christmas, and let’s see if between us we can help get rid of the Christmas panic and make this year’s Christmas a little cheaper.