As usual, the year has flown by and we are already into December with Christmas on the horizon. The festive season happens at the same time every year, yet it’s easy to be caught off guard, with little time to prepare. If you haven’t managed to put enough money away to cover the food, gifts, decorations and travel you need this year – fear not. In this week’s article we look at the easiest ways to save money at Christmas time. Read on for the best of our money-saving festive tips for 2018.
Shop at cheaper stores
Where possible, shop at stores with traditionally lower prices this holiday season. Whether you’re buying gifts, food or other Christmas sundries, remember it’s just one day in the year. Try to recall all the leftovers and the things that ended up in the bin last year and shop smart.
Wrapping paper, for instance, can be bought very cheaply in some outlets. You can jazz up your wrapping paper with some simple ribbon or Christmas labels. Stores which sell end of line items or discontinued products can also be a good place to find bargains. Once an item is out of the shop and gift wrapped, it won’t typically be obvious how much you paid or where it came from!
Many supermarkets do special deals on Christmas food, so money can always be saved if you know where to look. Additionally, check any supermarket rewards cards you have for points – they could pay for a decent chunk of your Christmas shop.
Opt for second hand
Saving money at Christmas is easy when you’re only looking for token gifts, but what happens when you want to buy something extra special for a close loved one? With all the other expenses associated with this time of year, it can be hard to find enough cash to get those particularly thoughtful and meaningful presents.
If you want to buy an item of jewellery or a high end watch for a significant other or special person in your life, why not consider a second hand, refurbished piece? The great thing about precious jewellery and luxury watches is they are designed and engineered to last for generations, so they can be passed down through families and hold their value for the future.
When a pre-owned item of jewellery or timepiece is put on sale by us here at H&T, it has gone through a rigorous process to ensure it’s as good as new, for a fraction of the cost. Our in-house jewellers and horologists fully inspect and test every item to prove authenticity, and will check any serial numbers or makers marks for evidence of forgery. Each piece is deep cleaned and restored to full working order before going up for sale – why not check out our unique and ever-changing range here.
Do it yourself
If you’ve got craft skills, why not make your own gifts? Handmade presents show you have given your thought and time, and simply mean more than shop-bought gifts. Thankfully, you can create multiple gifts for a fraction of the cost of buying new items if you’re prepared to put some work in yourself.
Can you knit or crochet? Scarves and socks make brilliant winter gifts and can be whipped up in minutes if you know what you’re doing. If you’re good at photography or art, giving a picture in a frame can make a memorable Christmas present. Your talents may lie elsewhere of course; perhaps in the kitchen. Gifting homemade Christmas cake, brownie mix or mince pies is also a brilliant idea and will always be well received. Make the most of what you’re good at or what you enjoy doing as a hobby to find great DIY gift ideas.
Arrange a Secret Santa
If you have numerous groups of friends from home, work, evening classes or similar, you may want to suggest doing a Secret Santa in order to save on costs and time. This way, you’ll only need to buy one present for each friend group, and everyone can save a little money.
Secret Santa gifts are common these days as Christmas becomes bigger each year. Put everyone’s name into a hat, or use a website like Draw Names to generate your results.
Gift your skills and your time
You may not have time to go shopping or to make something to give as a present, but you still want to save money. In this case, gifting your skills or your time can be a very effective alternative, and is ideal for those who like to keep busy during the cold, dark months of January and February.
You could give ‘vouchers’ which can be exchanged for your time or services during the coming year. For instance, you could offer to babysit for a certain number of nights, or mow their lawn during the summer. If you’re handy around the house, then offering to fix an ongoing issue is always a welcome present. Small gestures can go a long way, and you may be surprised at the valuable skills you possess – not everyone can fix a leaking tap or change a fuse, or even afford a dog-sitter when they go away. The possibilities are endless.
Stock up for next year
Saving money is easiest when you look ahead, so keep next Christmas in mind in the last days of December. You’re likely to find the shops full of discounted wrapping paper, decorations, gifts, long-lasting food and other festive items. Often, these can be reduced to mere pence as room is made for new seasonal products.
This is where you can save a huge amount of money for next Christmas. Simply buy some of what you need for next year, and pack it away somewhere dry like a cupboard, your garage or an attic space. When next year comes around, you’ll be glad that you did!