It is a cliché but I love buying presents for people around me. Christmas is one of those times when, in most cases, anything goes and the word budget seems to be completely forgotten.
Some people seem to go at full speed to make this year the perfect Christmas. Some of them pay for it for months to come. Retailers stop at nothing to make us spend money and they often know, that some of us go shopping last minute and most likely without a plan in hand. I used to be one of those people.
I have a Free Christmas Gift Planner printable which hopefully will help you track those ideas, purchases (however big or small) and budget. You can download it by subscribing to my Newsletter.
If you are looking to make the most of this Christmas time or maybe you just need some inspiration on how not to be completely broke by December 25th, I hope this post will help you a little 🙂
1. Make a List – whether you buy gifts for 5 or 15 people, don’t rely on your memory. Up until recently, I waited until last minute and usually just had a rough idea of what I wanted to get in my head. As a result, I forgot something, made a panic purchase and couldn’t find what I needed.
Don’t ask people a week or two before the D Day what they would like. Observe them throughout the year and note some ideas down, check blogs for ideas or even Etsy and Pinterest. You can jot things down on the back of your diary, on your phone, anywhere – just make sure you make a list and of course stick to it!
Ask kids to write letters to Santa and that way you will roughly know what they would like to get and whether it falls within your budget – that way you can kind of manage their expectations if it isn’t.
2. Set an overall budget which is within your means and stick to it. Having a budget means that you control the money and the situations and not vice versa. Make sure you track your spending throughout the process and not get caught up after Christmas that you overspent.
3. Plan who you are gifting and how much you spend on each person. If you have a large family it’s probably best to decide in advance whether everyone buys presents for each other or whether a Secret Santa thing might be a better and cost effective idea. You may also decide that only children get presents.
4. If you have been eyeing up a certain purchase for quite some time, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are probably good opportunities to bag yourself a bargain. I don’t know how Black Friday is a thing now in the UK but apart from a big marketing gimmick, there are sometimes some good bargains to be had, if you know exactly what you want to buy and how much it cost before.
5. Make your Gifts. If you don’t have a big budget or too many people are in the mix for buying presents, simply just make them. There are plenty of ideas on the internet but in the past, I made chocolate truffles and Gingerbread cookies and my boys loved helping to make them (win – win). However, you can also make homemade chutneys, sauces, liqueurs, crafts. Pictures or prints put into an inexpensive frame make a lovely gift. Most of the time it is the thought that counts 🙂
6. Avoid shopping centres and last minute shopping. I try to do most of my shopping online. This way I stick to my original list & budget and am not tempted by unplanned purchases. I attempt to have everything in by the beginning of December so I avoid panic buys and getting more stuff than I actually need.
7. Cash out your loyalty cards and make the most of cashback websites. It’s perfect occasion to use those points and balances you have been saving all year for some presents. Also, both Quidco and TopCashback run a lot of great offers in the run-up to Christmas and since you are doing most of your gift shopping online why not get some money back for it?
8. Follow companies on their pages on Facebook or Twitter where they often advertise special offers or even run competitions. Who knows, you may win something you were planning to buy or worst case scenario – save a good chunk of cash on it. I never did but hopefully, one day – you have to be in it to win it, right?
9. Buy things throughout the year. Ideally, having your lists and budgets you would start purchasing gifts or even Christmas cards in January sales when they cost a fraction of their full price. Same goes for kids presents, which may even come very handy for birthdays throughout the year. I usually buy toys in January sales, when they are 3 for 2, or when Tesco or Sainsbury’s have their big toy sales. It means no more panic! 🙂
10. Recycle unwanted gifts. This might be a bit of a controversial topic but I am sure it’s not only me who has done it. You know that pamper set that you will never use or Minions covered easel that your child randomly got last year? Those are the things that could be perfect gifts for someone else! I don’t do that very often but items I know we won’t use land either in a charity bag or re-gifting box.
11. Don’t forget about yourself! You have made lists and budgets for everything and everyone else, now it’s your turn. I just make a little wish list and either pop it on Amazon, mention something in passing to my husband or just treat myself (all within the budget, of course 🙂 )
Christmas is only once a year and everyone deserves a treat, but it is also a horrible feeling in January knowing that you went way over budget and will be paying for it for many months to come. With the right planning you can really have an amazing time with your loved ones knowing that it didn’t make a huge dent in your overall budget. For me, Christmas is all about some quality time with the family & friends and lot of delicious food.
How are your preparations going? I am curious to find out how you plan to buy your Christmas gifts. Leave your ideas in the comments below…
To help you a little with gift buying I created a FREE printable checklist to keep a track of presents as they are planned, purchased and wrapped. Now there is no excuse to get organised!
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