We spend all year waiting for ‘it’, all year planning ‘it’, all year saving for ‘it’. Then ‘it’ arrives. Christmas Day that very special day that is filled with magic, filled with wonder and always no matter how hard you try brilliant for emptying the bank account and flexing the plastic. Trust me I know how easy it is to get carried away at Christmas, I’ve been there clearing the cards 6 or 8 months later because I wanted to get that special gift that last special gift. However, this year more so than ever because I haven’t had a job for the last 12 months I’ve really been careful and have been actively looking at ways of saving money at Christmas. This year for the first year in a few will mean December’s pay packet isn’t paying off some horrendous overdraft, instead this year December’s pay packet will mean that we can actually rest easy financially for the end of the year.
I therefore wanted to share some of the things I have done in terms of saving money at Christmas as I thought they might be useful with my readers and the web at large.
- Don’t waste loads of money on shiny gift wrap – this year I bought a giant roll of brown paper (10m) and some 6 metres of christmas ribbon. I have decided to keep the wrapping plain and simple this year and in total have spent just a shade over £8 on wrapping paper that looks fabulous and really vintage and has cost me a lot less than the endless rolls I seem to buy that then sit in the cupboard unused all year. At least I can continue to use the left over brown wrapping paper after Christmas for sending out parcels and packages.
- Check car parking charges before you head out shopping – earlier this month I reviewed the Confused.com parking app which is a free app designed to save you money on car parking fees when out and about. It’s really clever and has so far this November saved me £15 on car parking charges as I have found free or cheaper car parks on my journeys into the local town centre and Solihull for the Christmas shopping.
- Use flash deal websites to get great bargains – I love finding quirky gifts but often these can cost a lot of money. This year though I’ve use a host of flash deal sites such as HushHush, Achica and Fab.com to get some really brilliant gifts at pocket friendly prices. For example I got my mother in law the new Nigella Lawson kitchen salt pig, tea pot, spoon rest and mugs for under £35 delivered. This order alone saved me nearly £100 on the high street retail price.
- Look for the best weekly deals online before you buy – using the power of the internet it’s really easy to find the latest savings at many major high street stores. Saving packs are a great way to save money on the high street. By topping up re-loadable gift cards you can use these like a debit or credit card to purchase from stores throughout the year and save between 4% and 10% every time you top up your gift cards on line get. You also get brilliant money off vouchers for eating out and shopping. And remember, this Friday Black Friday expect some great deals online with some of the biggest retailers such as Amazon, Lego, Apple and many more. Sites such as MyFamilyClub are also great for comparing your food shopping at the big supermarkets before you head out with your list.
- Haggle over prices – whilst this may not seem like a terribly British thing to do you can do it and be successful. For instance John Lewis have a never knowingly undersold policy and recently myself and Daddy E used this for an electrical purchase we had seen. John Lewis were retailing it at £189 and we had found it online in a physical store (that’s the thing it has to be a high street store not an online shop) for £165 delivered. We asked them to price match and they did.
There are loads of other great tips for saving money at Christmas over on the MyFamilyClub website which is free to sign up to and if you are serious about saving the pennies this Christmas and not having a huge credit card bill come January I would highly recommend that you pay the site a visit. They have brilliant articles on budgeting for your family, the latest deals and money off savings, competitions and much more.