The festive period will soon be upon us, so if you’re keen to keep costs down now you’ve got a baby to think about, it’s time to start budgeting
Get savvy online
While buying presents on the Internet is a great place to make savings, you can also use it to find the cheapest deal. Price comparison websites such as Kelkoo and Pricerunner work by comparing the prices of a particular product on a range of different sites. Look out for discount codes on websites such as moneysavingexpert.com or hotukdeals.co.uk as they can all help.
Write a list (check it twice)
Work out exactly who you want to buy gifts for this Christmas, write down their names and what you want to budget and buy for them. Yes, a random mum friend who you barely know may spring a present on you, but that doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.
Stick to a budget
While it can be difficult to do – it’s really important to decide on a budget and then stick to it. ‘Calculate your budget by being realistic on what you can afford to spend and remember Christmas is just one day,’ says Lynette Nigh from bemoneyready.co.uk. ‘You don’t want to spend the majority of next year paying for it.
Give something handmade
A great way to save money and add meaning during the festive season is to make gifts yourself. ‘Do-It-Yourself Christmas gifts are proving increasingly popular and there are plenty of websites which provide ideas for inspiration,’ says Lynette. ‘It might also be useful to get the kids involved in making decorations and cards, so you don’t need to hit the shops for them.’
Start early… or very late
It’s a great idea to get started sooner rather than later when it comes to sorting presents for Christmas because you’re less likely to make expensive impulse buys if you’re not rushing. But don’t underestimate the deals you can pick up as you get closer to the big day. Many stores begin their ‘New Year’ sales before Christmas now, so keep an eye out for bargains during December.
Spread the Christmas food cost
‘Purchase food and gifts throughout the year – taking advantage of discounts and offers that might be running in October or November,’ says Lynette. ‘You can then avoid being hit in the pocket by making major purchases just before Christmas when food prices could be inflated.’ This works well for things that can be frozen until you need them including your turkey, the Christmas pudding or cake, and condiments. And be realistic about how much food you actually need (nobody wants to eat turkey for two weeks after Christmas)…
Split the cost of food and drink
You can make great savings by splitting food and drink costs with people you’re sharing Christmas with. ‘Consider asking people to add to a Christmas pot or invite them to ‘bring a dish’ or drinks to add to the table,’ says Lynette. ‘People won’t mind contributing and it can help people feel even more involved in the day’s festivities.’
Give a Christmas IOU
Many prices plummet in the January sales, so if you’re after a big-ticket purchase for your children then it might make sense to wait. ‘Give a small gift and a Christmas IOU, telling them you're waiting for the sales,’ says Lynette.
Turkey ordered? Presents wrapped and under the tree? Christmas cards sent out? Us neither. There’s so much to do at Christmas that saving even a smidge of time can make all the difference.
And once you’ve got kids, it requires even more meticulous planning. So, we reckon it’s time you took a few shortcuts to give yourself more time opening presents with the kids (not to mention watching the Downton Abbey Christmas special). We won’t tell if you don’t…