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Christmas Money Saving Tips

Christmas can be an extremely expensive time of year and it has a habit of creeping up on us and eating away at our purse or wallet without us realising - until the credit card bill or bank statement arrives in January.

However, it needn't be that way this year. Everyone has been touched by the recession and credit crunch so the level of general expectation around Christmas has been reduced from previous years meaning that you have the chance to re-align your spending plans whilst managing to have a merry and enjoyable time.

Christmas spending plans work best if you set yourself a budget. Sit down and work out for whom you need to buy presents and chat to relatives and friends about either agreeing not to buy each other presents or setting a present spending limit. You can have far more fun trying to buy that original gift for £10 than you can giving an unwanted present for £50.

What better way to get back into the true spirit of Christmas than by making some of your own presents? Parents and grandparents love gifts made by the younger members of the family and it shows far more love and affection than simply going into a store and buying socks or perfume. Be original and make biscuits, cakes, jams or chutneys. children can also make their own Christmas cards.

Times have been hard for most retailers but maybe this Christmas you can support your local shops by using them to get some of your presents and/or food. You may even find that some of the prices are highly competitive with those of the major retailers plus you have the peace of mind of knowing that you are investing in the local community by keeping your town centre shops in business.

One of the main areas of spend over the festive season is on food and beverages. The best way to avoid waste is to plan every meal as best you can so as to avoid over buying. Look for recipes and ideas that use left over food in a way that allows you to be inventive and adventurous or clear space in the freezer so that you can save it for another day.

Many of the major supermarkets also run incentive plans in the run up to Christmas. Some offer vouchers for regular shopping close to Christmas and others have loyalty points programmes that can be cashed in when needed. Whatever your local supermarket is doing, make sure you take advantage of their festive season offers and discounts. That may mean buying a month in advance for some non perishable items so think and plan early to get the best deals.

Christmas is a family time and many of us come together to enjoy the hospitality of one of our relatives. But why not share the cost by offering to bring the vegetables, dessert or the wine? Sharing the cost between all members can reduce the burden and worry on the host family and make the festive season more affordable and enjoyable for everyone.

Online shopping and price comparison also has a major part to play as you watch the pennies. Since most online retailers do not have the premises and staff associated with a high street presence, they are able to offer significant savings, never more so than this year. You will also find voucher codes and offers aplenty to further reduce the price.

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