Check out these fantastic Christmas budget ideas, because it’s still possible to have a fantastic time without breaking the bank.
With all of the Christmas advertising starting as early as November, it can be too easy to get excited about having it all at Christmas.
Not creating a Christmas budget and sticking to it is the main reason why people get in to debt around at this time of the year.
Getting in to debt is a dangerous place to be for you and your family, because did you know that the most marriage breakups happen in January!
I don’t think this is a coincidence so don’t put the pressure on you and your family with unnecessary spending.
Make a list
Make a list of the food and presents that you can afford, and stick to it. A list helps you to avoid being dragged in to the impulse buys that retailers try to get you to make.
Now that you have your list, research the best places to buy your items. Don’t buy anything before you have compared prices from different places.
Agree with friends to ban unnecessary Christmas presents
For 6 years now, we haven’t bought presents for anybody other than the children in our family, and from this we have literally saved thousands of pounds in that time.
What’s the point in receiving gifts that you don’t use, and that just end up on eBay in a few months’ time anyway.
All that we do for parents and grandparents is make a calendar with pictures of the children, which costs less than £10 per person. Christmas isn’t just about giving and receiving presents, it’s also about spending time with your loved ones.
Although the first year it was a bit strange not doing presents, now we value our time together as a family so much more. It also costs a lot less money and does wonders to the Christmas budget.
Increase the Christmas budget by switching bank accounts
Some banks will offer cash rewards for switching bank accounts– usually between £100 and £150. It can be inconvenience to switch bank accounts, but is the time investment worth it to put a few more pounds in the Christmas budget?
Free £100 Amazon and M&S vouchers in time for Christmas
New American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card customers get 20,000 bonus points for spending £2,000+ in the first three months. These can be swapped for a £100 gift card for shops such as Amazon and M&S, or for airline/hotel points.
Check out the best credit cards on the market here at Money Supermarket.
Find hidden Amazon discounts of 80%+
Amazon has so many products for sell that it can be difficult to find the best products at the best prices. Although Amazon is convenient, its also not always the cheapest. Check out Money Saving Experts Amazon Discount Finder, which manipulates Amazon web links to create customised bargain-basement pages, such as TV 25% off*, handbags 75% off* and beauty 70% off*.
Sell your unused and unwanted items on eBay
Do you hoard stuff and struggle to let go of things, even though you may not have used it for years?
Clearing out your unwanted items can be good for the mind as well as profitable for your pocket. eBay is a fantastic place to get rid of your unwanted items, but now you can sell on Facebook without paying a listing fee.
Although you may detract some buyers from putting a Buy it Now price on, it means you can sell an item in multiple places until you sell it. You could also end up with more money than if you put it up on auction.
Use discount sites like Wowcher and Groupon
Whenever I’m looking for birthday or Christmas presents, I always start with sites like Wowcher and Groupon. You can get some fantastic deals on restaurant and hotels as well as physical products.
In fact, these are often the best value for money because leisure establishments are always trying to get new people through the door and try their services.
I just picked up a wireless charging base for my iPhone for only £5.99, which was a Black Friday deal from Wowcher. This was discounted from £19.99 which is fantastic value for money.
Children don’t care about brands!
I don’t know about your children, but my son gets much more value out of the box than the present! I did think about just buying him a box this year for Christmas but I’m not that tight! However it’s important to remember that toys get put down as quick as they are picked up.
It is important to remember that buying big brands can be a waste of money. By buying cheaper lesser known brands saves a lot of money, and also teaches your children a good lesson about appreciation and value.
DON’T get in to debt for Christmas… but if you must borrow, get a 0% credit card.
If you are going to borrow money to cover your Christmas budget then go for a 0% credit card. Just be careful when borrowing or transferring a balance on a credit card, because the terms are not always as they seem.
The key is to find a card where the term for 0% interest is shorter, and therefore so is the transfer fee. This just means that you need to switch your card to another supplier a little bit sooner. If you don’t pay back the debt within the 0% period though, just be aware that your interest is probably going to end up around 19% or even more.
If you can’t get 0% and it was your only option, then just cancel your Christmas spending. Just enjoy a family meal and look forward to being debt free in January.
Read more about 0% credit cards here.
Find hidden local eBay bargains
We have just bought my son’s Christmas present on eBay for 35% of the retail price, and the cosmetic imperfections are barely noticeable.
My son is 3 and is now ready to move up to a big boy bike, and we have just paid £60 for a bike that would normally retail for £200. There is a small scratch on the frame but really the bike is in excellent condition.
He won’t notice the difference between this one and a brand-new bike, and the money we have saved means that our budget will stretch further.
I guarantee that he will put another scratch on that frame by boxing day anyway, so changing our mindset around gifting second hand toys has brought lots of benefits.
Choose food and wines that are on offer
If you look around in the supermarket you will always find beers, wine and foods that are on offer. You really can save substantial amounts by shopping for discounted items only. Now that you can do all of your shopping online, why not open up the websites for the main supermarkets and see how much of your list you can tick off just from by buying discount items only.
Don’t forget that supermarkets do good discounts on toys and gifts too.
Grab a January bargain
The best time to buy Christmas cards, baubles, decorations or even presents is in January!
It’s not good economics to go in to debt in January just to pick up these bargains, but buying a few items with your spare cash means a more enjoyable Christmas next year.
Whatever financial situation you are in this Christmas, just remember one thing. Money doesn’t buy happiness, and the most important thing about Christmas is who you spend it with.
Christmas is a multi-billion-pound earner for retailers and marketing companies, so remember that the dream Christmas is always being sold to you at a cost! Keep your Christmas budget as big as you want it to be, not what you wish it could be.
Have a fantastic Christmas from the High & Wise team.
If you found this article useful, check out my other money saving advice here.
High & Wise