Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ten Ways to Spend Less this Christmas

I love Christmas, I love the preparations, the excitement, the food and unlike some I actually love the shopping! I take a great amount of joy in finding the best deals on toys for the children, finding unique and special gifts for friends and family and managing to source a couple of surprises for my lovely husband. One thing I don't like though is worrying that i'm spending too much. As you will know, however carefully we budget and plan, things always creep up on us and this year we have had to replace two large appliances and have some work done on the car in the last month so things have been even tighter than usual. That is why I've been looking around for some tips to enjoy a big festive celebration this year while spending a little less than I usually would. I've brought together ten of the best ways I found to spend less this Christmas with some fabulous inspiration from other bloggers:

Make Your Own Festive Decorations

Christmas decorations are lovely but they are sometimes quite expensive! Why not put an afternoon aside to get crafty and make your own? We made our own Christmas Crackers and a Paper Wreath last year. Red Rose Mummy Recycled an old lightbulb to make this cute Robin. Zing Zing Tree has a great guide to making 3D Snowflake decorations and Over 40 and Mum to One shows us how she makes other Festive Papercrafts.

Give Handmade Gifts:

Last year the whole family got involved in making gifts for teachers and nursery staff and these Gingerbread cookies were very well received! Hand made gifts from the children are lovely and always take pride of place on the grandparent's mantlepiece or dresser but us 'grown ups' can make gifts too! Blue Bear Wood makes a Pampering Beauty Hamper with Bath Soak and Lip Balm. The Brick Castle shows us how to make some delicious sounding home made Fudge.

Buy Secondhand

For me giving gifts isn't about buying the latest gadget or must have toy. It's about making somebody smile knowing that I have spent time thinking about what they want or like doing. Sometimes I have found the best gifts second hand searching on ebay or even scouring around charity shops or carboot sales. It's also worth remembering that when you buy your gifts from a charity shop you are giving twice, once to your friend or family member and secondly to the charity that is helping to fund research or provide care for the needy. Me and My Shadow took part in a Charity Shop Challange and found some great gifts from charity shops.

Enter Competitions

I've always said that entering competitions is a great way to get a few extra gifts that you wouldn't usually be able to afford at Christmas. As it happens my eldests' main present this year is a LEGO Movie set that we won a few months ago. He will be delighted with it! On the run up to Christmas there are lots of competitions running at the moment that just take a minute or two to enter, from stocking fillers to some rather exiting prizes! You can take a look at Mymummyspennies Giveaways here and pop over to Superlucky for a great selection of competitions hosted on other blogs. Many toy brands are also running fantastic 12 Days of Christmas Promotions over on facebook, I've been entering a few including the one from Toys R Us that has some amazing prizes!

Bake it Yourself

As I've been doing my grocery shopping over the last few weeks I have spotted more and more gorgeous looking treats from Christmas cakes to festive biscuits and chocolates. As easy as it is to pop a box in your trolley it all adds up. Why not raid the baking supplies in your kitchen cupboards and see what you can throw together yourself? If you need some inspiration take a look at these Stained Glass Window Cookies from ET Speaks from Home or these Christmas Cupcakes from CasaCostello


Sometimes you get the perfect gifts and other times people just get it wrong. They have good intentions but the end result is that despite ranting regulary on how much you hate the colour pink you unwrap that beautiful packaged gift on December the 25th to find the handbag you'd been wishing for... in hot pink. Or a lovely pair of fluffy slippers two sizes too small. Or it could be that people get it so right that you end up with a fabulous Cath Kidston Ipad case... twice. If you have a gift receipt then fantastic, you usually have until mid January to exchange but if not then it's likely that these unwanted gifts will stay at the top of the wardrobe until next year. Why not get them out and see if you know anyone that will appreciate them more than you? (Just make sure you remember who gave them in the first place!) If you don't remember then why not gift them to someone you don't know? Maybe your local women's refuge or other charity?

Have a Free Festive Day out!

We have lots of Grotto's local to us at the moment and my children have been lucky enough to visit a couple, they have enjoyed chatting to Father Christmas and looks at the festive scenery and decorations but you don't need to spend money to have a festive day out. Check out your local council's website for local festive fayres and events (these are often free or have a small charitable donation to enter) and why not even pop down to your local garden centre and enjoy looking around the decorations, you don't have to buy anything! On Sunday 14th of December Altrincham Ice Skating Club will be bringing Disney's favourite Princesses, Anna and Elsa to Spinningfields Ice Rink in Manchester to perform a free Frozen on Ice show for all the family. (You can book to skate with the stars for a charge afterwards if you wish). 

Shop Around

It can seem easier to see what you want to buy, and purchase it there and then, especially if it has a big red 'special offer' sign next to it, but how do you know just how special that offer is? Find out! There are a number of online sites that you can check on to see if you really are getting the best deal. Price Runner is a good general comparison site, it's also worth checking out the forums on MSE and HotUkDeals too. If you are looking at amazon check the pricing history on CamelCamelCamel. My final word on this is if you are shopping online ALWAYS do a quick search for a discount or coupon code, even if you find one for 10% off or free delivery, you are still saving some pennies!

Earn Money when you Spend it

Once you have made sure you are getting the best price for what you are buying the next thing is get as much money back in cashback as you can. There are a few different ways you can do this the two main Cashback sites are TopCashBack and Quidco. I'd recommend signing up to both of these as they can both offer competitive deals on different sites, so just do a quick check to see which is the best before you make a purchase. If you pay using paypal when shopping online you can boost your cashback by linking up your paypal account also. You can also link them up to your debit cards so that you earn money back when you spend in store to. As well as these site many credit card company offer rather impressive cashback deals around this time of year as well, just remember that it's only worth signing up to these if you pay your balance off in full each month as otherwise your interest will cost you more than any cashback you earn!

Don't Buy it

If you don't need it then just don't buy it. 

It's easy to say but can be a lot harder to follow through with. Sometimes you have to say no, and often you have to say no to yourself as much as your children. 'Just one more present', 'But it's a bargain', 'I'd better buy another just in case' are all phrases I've used to justify spending more money when I knew I shouldn't. You CAN give your family an amazing Christmas without going into the red and you are likely to enjoy it that much more if you aren't dreading the credit card bills arriving in January. 

I hope these ideas will help you spend a little less this year and still have a fabulous Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

If I've got you feeling thrifty why not check out these other festive money saving posts:

Having a £10 Christmas

Easy Moneysaving Tips for Christmas


  1. Wow what a huge post - so many tips! Thanks for creating the lst and for including my fudge! :)

  2. some great tips, I have managed to do Christmas for 2 kids and the wider family for around £50 this year

  3. Homemade Fudge is definitely a cheap and easy gift!

  4. Good tips, I especially agree with 'don't buy it' - was sitting on my hands throughout some of Amazon deals!

  5. Yes, a lot of good tips. I find it does get harder with teenagers though.

  6. loads of fab tips :)

  7. Stephanie Whitehouse,Friday, December 19, 2014

    Entering competitions can be a great way to save on Christmas presents, but you need to get stated months in advance to get them in time


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