Christmas is the most expensive time of year for most people, with the mountains of gifts, food and decorations to be bought. On top of that, social calendars tend to go into overdrive during December, and the cost of festive revelry can add up to a considerable sum.
A recent study by Amex in the UK found that the average spend on gifts this Christmas will be £364, which, despite the recession, is higher than previous years. For families with children however, this figure could end up being much higher, as £168 was the average spend per child last year.
There are, of course, ways to have a wonderful Christmas for less, and gift giving is particularly easy to cut back on with a little thought and creativity. Here are some ideas for ways to have a very Merry (budget) Christmas – one that you won’t still be paying for well into next year:
Secret Santa arrangements are becoming more popular among groups of family and friends, particularly those who have a lot of people in their circle to buy for. The way that it works is that each person selects, or is given, one person to buy a gift for, usually within a specified budget. Each person ends up with a gift on Christmas day, and no-one has bankrupted themselves buying stacks of presents for everyone.
Secret Santa works best when you have one person who’s great at organising, and will make sure that everyone is included. They may also like to do a spot of crafty matching up of like-minded people who are more likely to be on one another’s wavelength.
Daily deals are an amazing phenomenon that has taken the world by storm this year. Savvy shoppers have cottoned on to the fact that they can get meals out, tickets to gigs and attractions, shopping vouchers and much, much more, for much, much less than you would expect.
With savings of up to 90 per cent, daily deals providers such as Groupon, Living Social, Kelkoo Select and kgb deals are sure to be a real budget saver for many this Christmas.
We all know how tricky couples can be to buy for. Why not treat them to a meal out instead of something tedious for the home and you’ll be gifting them quality time together without breaking the bank.
Do you have an adrenaline junkie brother or a sports mad dad? How about a stunt car racing experience and a few rounds of golf to enjoy in the new year?
Is your dear old Mum looking frazzled after the pre-Christmas build up? Send her away on a spa break from daily spa and beauty deals provider Wahanda. Whoever you have to buy for there really is a daily deal for everyone this Christmas.
If someone you love has asked for something specific this year, a little creative thinking will mean that you can please them and your purse. For example, perhaps a girlfriend, mum or sister has put in a request for jewellery from Santa and you’re balking at the price of the twinkling baubles in the jeweller’s window. Forget expensive gold and go for the much more budget friendly (and fashionable) silver instead. Pretty birthstones such as pearls and peridots are always going to be much more affordable than diamonds, and far more personal to boot.
Alternatively, shop around for vouchers, codes and special offers to enable you to get your loved ones what they want for less.
Many of the best high street and internet retailers are featured, including Amazon, Boots, Currys, Play and many more, so it should be easy to find a deal for whatever is on your list.
While Christmas is always going to be more expensive than most other months, with a bit of thought and a few clever thrifty tricks you can make sure that you manage to give the gifts that you want to give (and that your loved ones want to receive) without spending more than you can afford.