Christmas is over, a New Year has dawned and I’m sure for the majority of you Christmas 2018 is the very last thing on your mind! I personally plan Christmas all year round, some have said I’m a little obsessed, but I certainly wouldn’t be able to give my family the Christmas we have without being thrifty throughout the year, so I thought I would share some of my tips to help spread the cost and save money.
Make a list
Write a list of all the people you buy gifts for and then set a budget for each person and stick to it! Also consider if you NEED to buy gifts for everyone on your list – my friends and I decided a few years ago to only buy for the kids as it was becoming expensive buying for friend’s, partners and children and after all Christmas is all about the kids !
Have an idea!
Along with a budget it’s a great idea to jot down ideas for gifts you want to purchase for each person – this way you can keep an eye out for them at a bargain price! Also by having an idea of what you want to buy it helps to avoid overbuying!
Never too early!
It is NEVER too early to start picking up items from your list if you can afford to as it helps to spread the cost. I am always on the lookout for bargain and sale items that I know family and friends would like and if I can afford to I pick them up and pop them away (this includes Birthday’s not just Christmas). It is important to remember though that just because it is cheap doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bargain – only buy it if the person you are considering purchasing it for will LOVE it and use it! The post-Christmas sales are an ideal place to start – at a minimum I make sure I have bought wrapping paper, cards and crackers for the following year.
Supermarket savings schemes
Most of the supermarkets offer a Christmas savings scheme and now is the best time to start saving as a little per week will soon add up. Most of the savings scheme also have a bonus for saving with them – for example save £144 on your Asda savings card and in December they will top it up to £150 for you!
If you are saving cash it is often tempting to dip into it for other things so if you know which shops you will be using when making Christmas purchases it is a good idea to buy a gift vouchers instead – as and when you can afford to. Most supermarkets sell a massive range of gift vouchers and I have found in the past few years that nearer to Christmas a few of them have offered up to 20% off selected gift vouchers so it’s worth shopping about.
Skimming is a great way of saving money without really missing it! For those who aren’t familiar with skimming it is the process of rounding your bank account balance down. To do it properly I would recommend opening a basic online account with your bank to transfer the money into. How regularly you skim will depend on how often you use your current account however to maximise your savings I would recommend doing it a couple of times a week. I have added an example below:
Current account balance= £128.25
Transfer -£8.25 into your additional account
Depending on your finances you may just round down to the nearest £5 so would transfer £3.25.
The money will soon add up if you are able to skim regularly, however make sure that you can afford to do it or you will find yourself dipping into what you have saved and this will defeat the object.
Facebook is full of bargain hunting pages that do all the leg work for you! They often flag up the best deals on popular items or point you in the right direction of a special offer so it is well worth liking some pages as you may find something on your list popping up!
My favourite pages are:
Amazon Wish List
Amazon wish list is a great way to seek out bargains on the items you are looking for. By adding them to your wish list you are able to regularly check back on the pricing of items – these can change daily and sometimes more often. The list will tell you the price the item was when you added it to your list and if the price has dropped it will tell you by what percentage. I often use this method for items that I consider to be overpriced for what they are and I set myself a price I would be happy pay so that if it drops to that or below I will purchase.
When I became a Stay at home Mum I discovered surveys. If you have some spare time in the evenings or weekends surveys can really help swell the Christmas funds. I have linked my favourite survey sites below:
Nectar Surveys -Two years ago I actually managed to get a Kids Kindle for free by saving my points!
Park is a great way to save without the temptation of dipping into your funds. I personally think the hampers and toys are overpriced, however if you purchase the gift vouchers you literally pay the face value and they are delivered to you in October leaving ample time for you to spend them! As well as high street stores they also offer a range of restaurant and supermarket vouchers meaning there is something for everyone. The sooner you order with Park the lower your weekly/monthly payment will be so if you plan to do this the sooner the better!
Check out Park’s website for more details
I hope that these tips help you to plan Christmas 2018 and save some money in the process! I would love to hear any of your tips for planning ahead so feel free to leave a comment below!