Crazy Christmas Budgeting Tips

The recent survey conducted by SurveyCompare showed that many people are looking to save money on Christmas this year. 30% are planning on spending less than last year, 60% are not buying presents for colleagues and many are making homemade gifts in a bid to save cash.

Christmas decorations

I recently came under fire for a few Christmas money saving tips I gave out on Yahoo! As they were heralded as middle class. My tips of making your own and using hand me downs didn't seem to be enough of a money saver for some.

Just like everyone else I really want to save money, I dread January when all the bills come in, the weather is miserable and the decorations are packed away. As Christmas comes closer I've discovered other ways to save that should appeal to every class, not just the upper middle (whoever they are).


Cheat

The magazines and food networks tell you that making your own is cheaper. It's not. If yopu do it in bulk it may be but consider the expense. For example, every year I made homemade fudge. I thought only of the cost of butter, chocolate and sugar but there were other costs involved such as:

Jars, lids, cellophane, ribbons, presentations

Electricity (it all adds up and a batch of fudge will cost you a good 30 pence in electric)

A packet of fudge would cost £3 per gift at least and that's if you get the consistency right the first time. In the local pound shop I saw boxes of fudge and toffee for wait for it – a pound. It gave me an idea. Simply split the contents between squares of cellophane, gather, tie a ribbon and there's a homemade present for around 80 pence.


Go Elsewhere

I love hosting Christmas but it does leave me exhausted. I've noticed on Facebook that a lot of friends are travelling elsewhere this Christmas. At first I wondered what could be better than waking up in your own home with the kids and the presents. Then one simply said, "I'm so looking forward to being the one waited on this year."

With this comment I saw Christmas through the eyes of my guests and felt a little envy. It's true (and my own fault) that I forbid anyone from doing anything to help while running myself ragged. I also spend a LOT of money on extras, from booze to snacks to the Christmas dinner, the boxing day buffet and more, catering to every taste. I worked out if we could accept an invitation elsewhere we'd save almost £500. That's not a figure to be sniffed at and make me realise why everyone comes to us! (Only kidding, they come for my scintillating company).


Go Local

I've found some cool apps that allow you to shop for anything in your local area on EBay. These are usually a lot cheaper as they're pick up only so have a limited local audience. This year I got the kids the Xbox 360 (I know the Xbox One is out) from just up the road. It cost very little and came with a huge bundle of games.

We also found a bespoke handmade bed set for our daughter, with her name hand carved into solid wood. The man over the road selling it has a daughter a little older with the same name and we acquired the full set in exchange for my husband painting his little girls bedroom. Looking online we saw the full set came to £2500 so if your child has a popular name it's worth looking for second-hand items with it on!

You may also find ads in your local newsagents or on supermarket noticeboards that sell items cheaply, from Consoles to furniture, unwanted gifts to puppies and kittens (although remember the latter is not just for Christmas).

I'd love to hear your tips that you'll be using this year too.

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