It’s that time of year again folks and if you haven’t begun planning for Christmas, you should be starting soon!
If that opening sentence fills you with dread, don’t worry because we feel your pain and are here to offer some help! Christmas doesn’t have to, neither should it be a stressful time of year, but because we put too much pressure on ourselves, friends and relatives it usually ends up being one of the most stressful times of the year.
There are ways round all that stress, wasted money and hassle though and hopefully in the following article we will be able to prove that to you. No-one is saying you should completely forget about giving presents, but with some careful planning and savviness you should be able to save a bit of money and unnecessary strain.
Send Cards Rather Than Gifts
Although you will probably want to get your closest, nearest and dearest thoughtful presents; there is no need to get everyone you know a present. A card with a personalised message often shows someone you care about them than any gift could.
Make a List
It’s not just Santa that should make a list, parents need to make a list. The earlier in the year you make that list, the more money you will be able to save by looking for bargains on the things you need and want for Christmas, whether it’s the gifts or food and decorations for your celebrations.
Research and Look Out For Sales throughout the Year
Obviously the earlier you start looking at and buying gifts, particularly for your children, the more money you are likely to save. Be sure to research places online and see where you can get the best deals on the things you need to buy. It is also a good idea to check when particular shops and online stores have sales and see if you can save bit by purchasing gifts then.
Start a Secret Santa Gift Buying System
Encourage your wider social circle to take part in a Secret Santa system for buying gifts. Each participant pull’s another’s name from a hat and keeps it secret and only has to buy them a gift. Not only is this a fun and interesting change to the usual gift exchanges made at Christmas, it means everyone saves a bit of money in the process.
Save Money on Wrapping Paper
Following on from the shopping list tip above, there are great ways you can save money on wrapping paper if you use your head. Any gift bags you receive with presents at other times of the year should be kept to be re-used at Christmas and it’s worth remembering that supermarket’s and other shops who have surplus amounts of Christmas wrapping paper once the big day has past, immediately put them into clearance sales. If you stock up in late December/early January you will save a significant amount.
Shop Online Where Possible
In this day and age it goes without saying that if you try to purchase as much of the things on your Christmas shopping list online, you will not only save a lot of hassle of having to drive or commute between many different shops and malls; but will also save a lot of money as well.
Make Gifts Instead Of Buying Them
There may be things that you HAVE to buy from a shop, but that doesn’t mean that every gift you give has to be shop bought. Consider baking or doing some crafting to create unique gifts to give to friends and relatives. As well as being another way to keep costs lower, the fact that you have put time and effort into someone you love’s gift will show how much you really care about them.
Share the Cost of Christmas Dinner
If everyone is heading to your house for the big family and friends Christmas dinner this year, you could save a bit of money by delegating different dishes to different people. That way you all have a share in the meal, even if it is you that is serving it up in your home.
At Parent Slate we love to hear from you the readers, so tell us please, what are your money saving tips for Christmas?