With only eight days left until Christmas we are rapidly running out of time to prepare. If you already have your cards written and posted, your presents wrapped and your decorations beautifully hung in every room I salute you! If, on the other hand, you’re finding yourself feeling a sense of impending doom at all you need to achieve in the next week but a lack of finances have you worried, fear not!
Here are a few quick tips on completing your shopping without breaking the bank.
- Write a list of people you still need to purchase a gift for. Set a budget of what you can afford to spend and stick to it. It might seem harsh but prioritise those who are nearest and dearest to you above those you barely know or hardly communicate with any more. No matter how generous you’d like to be, when it comes to finances it doesn’t matter if you don’t buy your sister’s friend’s cousin’s brother a car cleaning kit when he doesn’t even have a car.
- Are you creative or arty? Are you a good cook? Think about turning your hand to making a gift or two. A beautifully decorated box of homemade cookies, packaged together with a single mug, a teaspoon and a package of cocoa powder and marshmallows creates a wonderful, Christmassy gift for very little outlay. Finish off with a handmade tag for the ultimate homespun look.
- Make the most of the internet to search for the best deals online. Many stores are no longer waiting until Boxing Day to slash their prices, offering half price deals or better on a great range of products.
- Stuck for an idea for the person who seems to have everything? How about giving a gift experience rather than an actual item? The choices are often varied and you’re bound to find the perfect experience for even the pickiest person. From days out to weekend breaks or even afternoon tea for two, look out for ticket vouchers with great savings to give a memorable gift which doesn’t leave a long-lasting impression on your bank balance!
- If your gift list is still going strong but your finances aren’t, take the voucher idea a step further by creating your own. Print off a voucher offering the recipient something you can give that won’t cost a penny. A night’s babysitting service, a three-course home-cooked meal or washing the car every week for a month, for example. Making a gift of your time when the purse-strings are tight is a practical yet thoughtful solution.
Christmas comes once a year but don’t make the mistake of paying for it – plus extortionate interest rates – throughout the following one. Taking a few simple steps can ease the financial burden and can help you save money along the way. Who knows, you might even have saved enough to bag a bargain in the January Sales ready for next Christmas!