It’s that time of year again when the festivities are just warming up. Whether you decide to take part in them or are just enjoying a break, it can be an expensive time of year - gifts and mulled wine included. 🍷
Even if Christmas isn’t your favourite, it's difficult not to get caught up in the pressure of gift-giving:
Maybe you wish you had more funds to go all-out on loved ones, so you use credit cards (money you don’t actually have).
Maybe you want the season to feel special and think that means you need to buy the trendiest and most expensive thing (cue the overspending).
Or maybe there’s the mindset that this spending spree is a one-time thing and won’t dent your finances in the long run (aka ‘next year you won’t spend so much!).
During the festive period, consumerism has a way of convincing you that happiness for you, and also your loved ones, is just a tap of our card away. And sure, sometimes splurging on your Secret Santa and seeing them light up can bring some joy.
But, in reality, there are lots of ways to embrace the festive spirit - those feelings of family, warmth, generosity - without breaking the bank.
Here are seven thrifty ways to save money while still enjoying a fulfilling Christmas break:
You don’t have to be a DIY expert to flex your creative muscle this season and make lovely handmade gifts for your friends and family at a fraction of the cost of store-bought presents. Focus on useful yet fun crafts that utilise commonplace materials and fit within your skill abilities – Pinterest can be an excellent place to find ideas.
Here are some DIY ideas to get your juices flowing:
Make a photo collage or photo book
Make your own body butter with coconut oil, shea butter and a few drops of essential oil
Rice bag warmers - perfect for those cold wintery nights ❄️
If you’ve got any artistic skills, paint or draw a picture for a loved one, or sites like Etsy can be a great place to purchase artwork from independent artists at a relatively low cost
Unleash your inner chef
Homemade edible gifts are a delicious way to spread festive cheer without emptying your wallet. Try infusing your own cooking oils, making jars of chutney or baking delicious baked goods – these culinary gifts will please everyone on your list. You can also wrap them up nicely to give them an extra touch.
Check out these 41 homemade food gift ideas to inspire your inner chef. 🧑🍳
Shop early, and year-round
Few of us are so prepared, but if you can start thinking about next Christmas right around, say, Boxing Day – you will save heaps of money, not just on gifts, but also on wrapping paper, ribbons and tape.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be good for grabbing those deals, but they can also stretch your finances - so try to stick to a budget if you are shopping for those sales!
Maximise gift cards
Purchasing gift cards around the holiday season can often come with attractive perks. Many stores offer vouchers and additional gift card values that can be redeemed during the slower shopping months when you spend a minimum on gift cards at this time of year. In fact, 89% of people in the UK say they would like to receive a multi-store gift card this holiday season. 💳
Gift cards don’t have to be dull - you can personalise gift cards by pairing them with a thoughtful message or small item for a mini gift package.
Shop with a list
Heading out to the mall or the high street with only a vague idea of what you want to buy your friends and family can result in overspending. Your wallet will be much better off if you plan the gifts you plan to buy ahead of time. Consider allocating specific amounts for each person on your list - you can even set out a gift-giving budget that you take with you.
Knowing your limits will help you avoid overspending (and help make your shopping trip much more effective!).
Before you spend your money in a brick-and-mortar shop, you should do your research and search online. Websites like eBay and Amazon often offer deals that can undercut traditional shops by a huge percentage. While this is not always the case, it is certainly worth a look. Check out customer reviews, compare prices and take advantage of free shipping offers to maximise savings.
Even though online shopping isn’t always as ethical as traditional shopping, it can be more budget-friendly. You can also find eco-friendly online options that offer discounts, especially in the lead-up to the Christmas season!
Live with a little less
Do you need that new winter jumper when last year’s is in perfectly good condition? Is that last round at the pub necessary – for both your wallet and your liver? Could little Sally do without that one extra toy in the mountain under the tree? Living with a little less this season can be a good way to reflect on the things that are truly important – family, friends, peace and wellbeing.
In fact, there’s a whole movement around this - the Slow Living Movement. It’s all about living in a more conscious way that aligns with your values. By slowing down and making those more deliberate choices, you can save more money and spend when you really mean it.
By simply implementing just one or two of these money-saving holiday tips, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you’ll save loads of money and start the new year with (hopefully) more funds in your bank account. 💰