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Christmas presents on a budget

Published: 29 October 2008

Christmas presents on a shopping trollyChristmas is a very expensive time of year, even more so if you had kids.  There are many ways you can curb your spending on Christmas presents.  First of all set a budget where possible, with partners, friends and family.  See how much you can get for an agreed amount of say £10.  Or even better, if you have a large family get each person to write their name and list 5 things they would like for Christmas on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in a hat.  Decide on a budget, say £100 and then every member of the family pulls a name out of the hat and has to buy for that person only.  This is a very good way as each person will be saving quite a lot of money and time searching for suitable Christmas presents and everyone will get something they want.  If you normally buy for 10 members of your family and spend around £25 per person, you'd be saving £150 straight away!

Start your Christmas shopping as early as possible, that way you won't be making expensive last minute purchases and buying things for the sake of it.  Lots of shops have sales on at the end of the summer so you can grab a few bargain gifts then.  I've even known some people to start their Christmas shopping in the January sales!  Keep an eye out for any offers and make the most of them as soon as they start as you'll find the most popular gifts will go quickly and you don't want to lose out.  I've just done an online shop with Woolworths as they currently have a 3 for the price of 2 deal on all toys so I've saved myself a small fortune. Also starting early means you can spread the cost a bit more and won't feel the pinch as much in December.

Dear Santa...There's a lot to be said for shopping online because if you know what you want to buy you can search for the best price.  Even if you don't know I find it much easier to search online for Christmas presents than going in and out of shops scouring shelves.  If you work full time it's very difficult to find the time to go shopping.  This means you've only got the weekends which to be honest can be rather painful and time consuming because it just gets too busy.  So I say avoid the shops altogether, just think how much money you'll save on petrol, parking costs and snacks plus on top of that you can spend your precious weekends relaxing or just spending time with your family.

Some online shops offer free delivery if you spend over a certain amount plus you can search the internet for promotional codes to get a discount off your shopping.  There are a couple of really good websites that list these: www.hotukdeals.com and www.moneysavingexpert.co.uk.  And that's not all, you can save yourself even more money if you were to do your shopping via a Cashback website.  One that I've used many times is TopCashBack.  They have over 2500 retailers listed which include Argos, Toys R Us, Early Learning Centre, Woolworths and Boots to name a few.  One year I bought my car insurance via a cashback site and got £130 cashback, so it's definitely worth doing.  Another site I use regularly is Froggybank.  You'll be surprised how a few pounds here and there add up.

Lastly, if you're on a very tight budget a good place to buy Christmas presents is charity shops.  Not only will you be saving money but you'll also be helping a good cause.