The festive season can be an expensive time what with all the food, the drink, the present buying, the parties and the new outfits, so most people look to make savings wherever they can. Whilst you don’t want to be the Scrooge character come Christmas day, or the cheapskate who bought all their presents from Poundland, there are a few sensible things you can to make sure you are saving money on your Christmas shopping. Here are some ideas:
Wait until the last minute
If you’re reading this now then – intentionally or not – you have pretty much left it until the last minute so this particularly applies to you. Right now is the time when most shops and online stores are trying to shift the stock that they had earmarked to be sold at Christmas. Anything that hasn’t sold by the last week before Christmas is likely to get marked down to avoid too much ending up in the Boxing Day sales. Big retailers like Whistles, French Connection and luxury beauty store Space NK start their sales at the beginning of the last week before Christmas and you can pick up some fantastic bargains on presents and take the credit for the full price gift.
…or do it all in advance
Is it cheap or thrifty to buy your gifts for next year in the post Christmas sales? Whilst you don’t have to be this extreme, there is a lot to be said for getting organized when it comes to Christmas shopping. If you have already bought and wrapped everything by December 1st there is much less chance that you will end up shelling out £50 on a pair of musical cashmere socks for your dad out of sheer desperation than if you are madly rushing around the shops on Christmas Eve. If you are really prepared then take advantage of the summer sales to pick up discount presents.
Websites are often the places where you will find the best bargains at any time of year and in the run up to Christmas this is doubly so. Watch out for offers like 2 for 1, discounts on Christmas-specific gifts and products, and pre-Christmas sales, as the bargains you will find online are often much better than those in the shops. Shopping online also means you can shop around and get a better idea of where the cheapest bargains are. In order to entice customers into avoiding physically going to the shops online retailers will also often offer free delivery, in some cases even free express delivery so that you have the added advantage of avoiding the panicked Christmas shopping crowds. Just make sure you order in time…
Buy in bulk
Retailers just want to shift their stock in the run up to Christmas and as a result the number of 2 for 1, buy 1 get 1 free, 3 for 2 and buy 1 get 1 half price type offers goes through the roof. If you can pick up gifts for mum, sister and Gran, whilst only paying for two then you’ve saved yourself enough to get that Christmas gift for yourself! If you opt for somewhere like Boots, or one of the big department stores, then you can avoid having to buy everyone something suspiciously similar and then no one will ever know that one of the gifts was free.
Do it yourself
Although your friends and relatives may not be particularly impressed to receive a gift that looks like it has been made by a 4 year old, if you do have a talent for something then this is the time to harness it. Knitted items can go down well (as long as you stay away from the salmon pink wool), edibles such as truffles or gingerbread are always a winner and if you have any talent with a paintbrush then thoughtful, framed pictures and portraits are a lovely personal gift.
Although many people do tend to break the bank at Christmas, it doesn’t have to be a time of over-the-top spending – and in fact can be much more enjoyable if you’re not dreading that credit card bill at the end of the month. Employing some tactics – like those above – to make sure you are saving money on your Christmas shopping doesn’t make you cheap, it makes you smart. And if you get it right then no one will ever know where the savings were made!