With the help of our Facebook followers, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can achieve a brilliant Christmas on a budget. We asked fans on social media to explain the things they do to deliver a savings-savvy Christmas, and we’re passing the tips on to you!
Overwhelmingly, people told us that the best way to feel less of a pinch is to spread the cost throughout the year, however there’s a host of other useful ways to consider saving money for the big day.
Here’s 19 other things that people told us they do to save for Christmas.
Make your own presents – hampers, candles and cards
Christmas hampers, candles, and cards - the possibilities are endless! People told us they scour budget supermarkets, like Aldi and Lidl for hamper baskets and contents, we also learned that a few choice supplies from a charity shop will have you well on your way to your own homemade candles.
Top tip: One of our favourite examples included homemade candles made out of old teacups!
Hit the sales, and stock up for next year early
Our savings-savvy Facebook followers tell us that the cheapest way to buy presents, cards and wrapping paper is to hit the Boxing Day sales early, and stock up well in advance of next Christmas - that’s if you don’t have paper left over from last year!
Why not sort your Christmas wrapping tools into a kit, box it up and store everything together in one handy box. You’ll be really prepared for next year’s wrapping station!
Top tip: If you buy too much, consider selling your leftovers wrapping kits, passing on the savings, and the convenience!
Buy it, Sell it, Swap it
We learned that when looking for toys for Christmas, one way that people look after the pennies is to buy second hand, and the good news is that we’re now well equipped to find bargains right in our social media feeds.
Top tip: A few people told us that searching eBay, or the Facebook Marketplace for 'nearly new toys' means that you’re able to stretch your spending power at Christmas time.
Abandon your online basket – you may get a discount code!
One of the best bits of advice that our Facebook fans gave us is to take some time and hang around before you hit buy. It’s always worth waiting for shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday for further discounts on must-have expensive items, however there may be more to it…
No retailer wants to lose custom, and followers told us that by adding gifts to an online basket and then leaving without completing a purchase, could mean that you’ll get an email the very next day offering a discount!
Top tip: You run the risk of products being out of stock, so be sure there’s enough in stock before you try this one.
Spread the cost online
If convenience is your thing then a Christmas savings scheme could be for you.
For example, shoppers told us they save throughout the year with companies like Park Christmas Savings, meaning they put away a certain amount each month, and in return can order their preferred gift cards and vouchers to either use as gifts or give out to family and friends - safe in the knowledge that gifts will be sorted come December.
Top tip: Make sure you’re happy to commit your Christmas budget to vouchers as most schemes are designed with this in mind, meaning you may not be able to withdraw the money you’ve deposited as cash.
Use cashback sites
Cashback sites can help to get money back on the online purchases that you make, as you’ll typically buy more online at Christmas, and so it makes sense to earn a little money back. Our Facebook followers told us that they head to websites like Topcashback or Quidco to shop as normal, whilst being paid money right into their bank accounts.
They’re not just for Christmas either, and can even be used on your utilities. By using cashback websites all year round, you’ll save even more.
Top tip: Not sure about which cashback site to choose? Take a look at moneysavingexpert.com’s roundup of top cashback sites.
Recycle your wrapping paper
Perhaps not for everyone, but if like some of our Facebook fans told us, you’d like to save a little money in preparation of the big day, hold on to your wrapping paper! By boxing it up and stacking it in the loft.
Why not set a Boxing Day reminder to build a Christmas preparation kit, including ribbon, bows, tags and tape – that’s one less thing to worry about next year.
Top tip: If you find you're struggling to keep the paper under wraps, use the cardboard inside a toilet roll to keep it in check 'til next year.
Do the sums and put money away each month
Lots of people told us they put money away each month to save to buy presents in advance of the big day, often putting money away when they have it, or setting up a standing order into another one of their accounts each month.
Top tip: Work out how much you need to pay for Christmas presents early and divide it by 11, then save that money into a Christmas fund each month. By the time December arrives, you’ll have enough saved for all of the gifts you listed in January.
Price check your presents
Okay, so it’s not rocket science, however for those who don’t, it’s well worth shopping around online, using money off codes and online offers to make your money go that bit further, whatever the time of year.
Shopify has put together a handy guide to the best comparison shopping engines that you can use to search for the gift that you’d like to buy and make sure you achieve the best price.
Top tip: If you’re a Facebook fan, search for community groups that share deals and best buys, you’ll often find that people share voucher codes meaning you could pick up an extra discount.
Buy monthly, and ‘as and when’
When you see a bargain, grab it! It goes without saying, right?
Savers told us that their Christmas strategies include bargain-hunting gifts all year round, by looking out for reductions in the places they know they often buy gifts from. The only consideration is, where to store it all!
Top tip: Don’t leave this tactic just to Christmas time, by applying this rule all year round, you’ll benefit by avoiding last minute panic buying!
Make a list – and stick to it!
Organisation isn’t everyone’s forte, and so for those of us who are lacking in this skill, start simple! Our followers told us in droves that a list is the first place that they go to begin their Christmas prep.
Simply write down a list of everyone you need to buy for, including an idea of the gift you’d like to get for them and then tick it off as and when. The earlier you do it, the more prepared you’ll be. Why not start in January!? We’re not judging!
And remember, only buy what you need.
Top tip: If pen and paper isn’t your thing, head to the Google Play Store or the App Store and seek out a Christmas list app - simple!
Scour the budget supermarkets
We’re well equipped with choice at supermarkets nowadays. Many of our Facebook fans explained they’re no stranger to the middle aisles at Aldi and Lidl and that it’s often the first place they check, even before looking for bargains online. And it’s convenient too, you could tick a few people off your list whilst you’re doing the weekly shop!
Top tip: You can shop for special buys online, and both Aldi and Lidl have apps that alert you each time new bargains are added! So you can really keep on top of the bargains.
Get smart with banking
There’s a host of ways your bank could help you to save money (not just at Christmas time), and it may even be more straightforward than you think.
Bargain hunters told us that by making use of all the available options that their bank has to offer, they’ve been able to look after the pennies, so that Christmas looks after itself.
Many banks now give you the option to round-up your change into a separate account, meaning your loose change can accumulate, and often quicker than you think! Just like putting your change into a piggy bank.
Top tip: See if your bank or building society is on social media. They may have a thriving community offering tips and advice about how you can make the most out of your accounts.
Take the 1p Saving Challenge
When asked, our Facebook family explained that the 1p saving challenge is a useful way to save extra cash for Christmas, and, if you stick to the rules, you’ll bank almost £700 in time for the big day.
It’s simple, save 1p on day one, and then add a penny for every day after, so on day 365, you’ll add £3.65 to your savings, meaning you’ve accumulated £667.95 in savings throughout the year.
Here’s a guide to the 52 week saving challenge from Skint Dad - hopefully the savings habit will stick!
Top tip: Get an idea of what it will cost. If you stick to the rules and go all the way to the end of the year the last week in December (your most expensive week), you’ll need to find £32.52.
Grow your own, and get crafty in the kitchen
If you’re a gardener, it makes sense that you’d combine your passion for the outdoors with Christmas and you could consider making your own preserves, pickles or jams – through growing your own fruit and veg.
What’s more, it’s easy, and you can keep sealed jars in the cupboards for months. Here’s a simple method to making jam from the BBC – one of our favourites!
Top tip: Save your jars, as you’re giving them individually it doesn’t matter if they don’t match, and they all look great with a fancy ribbon.
Use rewards points wisely
People told us that they use supermarket rewards, like Nectar through Sainsbury’s or Morrison’s More, to build up points throughout the year – redeeming them just before the big day and using them to help pay for Christmas dinner or even presents.
Although this is a well-trodden path, you may not be aware that it’s not only supermarkets that offer reward points. It’s worth asking wherever you shop, as you may be able to pick up a few extra presents by doing so.
Top tip: Look out for double point days for an extra boost! Some providers even have an app with alerts to let you know when you can earn more points.
Have a clear-out
Maybe you’re no Marie Kondo, but in preparation for the big day, it can pay to give it a go. For example, by decluttering the kids’ playroom, you could earn a small fortune!
Our social media fans explained that by selling preloved items through Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Gumtree, they were able to offset some of the Christmas expenditure, as well as make space for new presents!
Top tip: If you want to take tidying seriously, take a look at these 10 amazing tips from Marie Kondo.
Try your luck at online competitions
Some people have all the luck, right? However, it doesn’t have to be that way – if you don’t enter, you can’t win! Just be aware that your social media followers can usually see what you’ve decided to enter – and which brands you may be sharing.
Free competitions are commonplace on all social media channels, and there are often some really good prizes on offer, especially around Christmas time. However, make sure you pay attention to the rules in the post carefully, as you’ll sometimes have to perform more than one action for your entry to count.
Top tip: There are groups on Facebook dedicated to people sharing competitions, so if you start getting serious about entering online, search for ‘competitions’ in your Facebook app. You’ll also find similar opportunities by searching for #win and #competition on both Twitter and Instagram.
Save more with Secret Santa
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your spend on Christmas presents, perhaps consider electing a Secret Santa! Whether it’s within your circle of friends, or your family, you’ll make serious savings by only purchasing a gift for the person you’ve drawn.
And the good news is, there’s a host of apps that can help you keep it really simple (and secret). By electing one person to administer email addresses, there’s no way of knowing who’s bought for who, and spoiling the fun.
drawnames.co.uk is one of the simplest out there, and it’s completely free!
Top tip: Stick to the budget - it only works if everyone’s honest!