Want to know how to do Christmas on a budget?
Follow my help guide and you are on your way to having the best Christmas ever while spending much much less!
There is no escaping Christmas! I remember seeing Christmas cards on display in one card shop local to me back in August! We all know it is a very expensive time of year, especially if you have kids or a large family. However, it really doesn’t have to be…
Years ago, I was a ‘last minute’ shopper and I would spend my full last pay of the year on Christmas gifts and I would end up struggling to meet the bills. Now I’m more money savvy, I plan all year around and buy throughout the year.
The January sales are always a good place to start, some might say that is far too early but you pick up some of the best bargains in the sales. Take Boots January sale for example, they have a HUGE 70% off (not up to 70%, a whole 70% off, so it is a massive saving) Reductions include toys, gifts, wrapping paper – anything that was in their Christmas range is reduced to clear. Earlier this year I headed along to my local Boots store for their sale and armed with 2 baskets, I prepared for this Christmas. I bought perfume gift sets for the adults, a jewellery box and some costume jewellery for my daughter and some gadget type gifts for my sons. These are the perfect staple items to get as they never go out of fashion. I spent around £30 and saved nearly £200!
End of season sales
January sales aren’t the only time to bag a bargain, there are plenty of sales on all year round. You can often pick up some great items in the sales which you can put away for Christmas. If my kids are just getting into a new TV show, for example, my daughter started watching Peppa Pig during the summer half term holidays. I was out sale shopping one day when I come across some bargains on Peppa Pig toys so I snapped them straight up – Peppa Pig is a firm favourite of hers now and I will be one cool Mam on Christmas day this year (unfortunately, Santa will take all the credit)
Buy now pay later – with no credit check
This is my absolute favourite and the only way to do Christmas shopping for my kids and will be for many more years to come. Toys R Us offer a layaway scheme. Simply fill your trolley or basket with what you want, pay 20% of the total cost that day and then continue to pay off the goods over a 3 month period. All your items will be held in a Toys R Us store until you have made the final payment so there is no need to try and hide all the toys too – Perfect!
We all know I LOVE a bargain, I know you all do too as I have expended from doing Ashleigh Money Saver all on my own to having a team of 14 bargain hunters helping me to keep the bargains coming for you. I post over 60 bargains a day on my Facebook page. On my website you will find the details of all upcoming sales, insider information and inspirational stories. So make sure you keep checking back to ensure you don’t miss any heavily reduced items you can snap up from the comfort of your own sofa.
Enter every competition you see! It’s well worth trying your luck, after all, someone has to win so why shouldn’t that be you?! You could then put the prize away for a Christmas present, or you know – you could keep it for yourself, that is fine too! 🙂
In the past I have won 2 holidays, my sitting room decorated while being put up in the Hilton hotel, cinema tickets, bundle of power ranger toys, a meal for 2 and many more. It really is worth spending a few minutes looking at your local radio stations website and entering their competitions as I have found they are the easiest to win on 🙂
I also have a competition running right now where you can win Christmas! You will win £2000 worth of gifts and gadgets – see more here.
Which retailer is cheaper?
So you have found the perfect present for someone but you were hoping you could get it a little cheaper. It is too time consuming to look around all the shops, especially if you have kids in tow. There are 3 websites I always go too that are pretty much always the cheapest.
- John Lewis – It may seem surprising but their prices are pretty good! They price match their competitions meaning they are usually always the cheapest, if they aren’t let them know and they will match the price.
- Amazon and E-Bay – They are 3rd party sellers usually working from home so they don’t have any large overheads for staff, stores etc so they can bring their prices down usually.
Gifts on a budget
I think bargains stores such as The Range, B&M and Home Bargains have some great bargain present ideas. You can get toys cheaper than their RRP, chocolates cheaper than you can in a supermarket, candles, photo frames plus much much more and they make fantastic presents. You could easily knock ££’s off your Christmas shopping by visiting these stores.
Here are just a few that I would buy for friends & family to give you an idea how nice the products from these bargain stores are.
- Glass love candle holder
- Heart hanging photo frame
- Family photo frame
- Simpsons Christmas DVD
- Fireman Sam fire station
- Feber Junior Sunny Swing
If you are buying online, always have a quick look for a voucher code for the retailer you are shopping with. You may get yourself a percentage knocked off your bill or free delivery. If you are struggling to find a voucher code, just drop me a message and I will be happy to help. You can do this by heading to my Facebook page here or sending me an email to [email protected]
When is the best time to shop?
Believe it or not, timing is everything! There should still be some sales on now in a lot of stores so it’s well worth having a look to see if you can pick anything up. Shopping events and flash sales are a huge hit too…
- Black Friday is coming up on November 27th. This is a fantastic time to pick up some in store bargains, I have so much information on this already including which retailers will be taking part – Click here to see the Black Friday post.
- Cyber Monday follows Black Friday, but all the deals will be online instead of instore. The retailers who are involved with Black Friday usually get involved with Cyber Monday but I will keep you all posted when I hear more.
- Sainsburys half price toy sale is coming soon. There are 2 dates flying around for this event, 21st or 22nd October is when it will be happening. Pencil the 21st in your diary just to make sue you don’t miss it but I will update when I hear more.
- Boots Advantage card event – This will be in store from 28th October and you will get £10 worth of points for every £50 you spend. This usually is a 2 day event.
Hit the charity shops
No, I’m not being cheap – this is actually a very good idea! Not only will you raise money for Charity while you are doing your Christmas shopping, you will save yourself a fortune!
How many times have you had a good spring clean of your child’s room and got together all of the toys that they got last Christmas and never played with and took them to your local charity shop. I’ve done it a few times and I know a lot of friends who have. You could pick up some nearly-new toys for a fraction of their price plus you are supporting a charity – win win!
If money is tight, or you just want some fun with the present shopping, why not arrange ‘Secret Santa’ with your family. Instead of buying each family member a present, just buy one present for a certain family member. This makes Christmas shopping easier, cheaper and you will put more thought into that one present you are buying which results in less unwanted gifts.
The dreaded food shop
I actually hate food shopping, I hate it even more at Christmas time. A few year ago I signed up to Tesco’s delivery saver plan which is £6 a month for unlimited grocery deliveries just so I could have access to their Christmas Priority booking slots and do the whole grocery shop online in advance so it’s out of the way. That is still a god idea for most but I decided to knock the delivery saver on the head because I wasn’t making full use of it and not getting my moneys worth.
I have found that just by continuing to shop as I usually would, but putting a few extra items in the basket for Christmas dinner, works out much better and it’s a great way to spread the cost.
When it comes to buying the meat, head to your local butcher. I love to shop local when and where I can and my local butcher always has a great deal on meat bundles. Some butchers do Christmas plans where you can pay weekly and they will have a meat bundle ready for you to collect closer to Christmas.
Also, download grocery cash back apps on your phone, such as Checkout Smart and Shopitize. You can often earn money back from your purchases, sometimes even free items!
Shopping in advance not only takes all the stresses and pressures off a last minute Christmas Eve shop, it also makes life a little easier for all of the fabulous supermarket workers who are rushed off their feet from open ’til close.
Also, if there are any 2 for 1 offers on and you only need one of the items, take the other item to your local food bank or homeless shelter. It will certainly come in handy over Christmas and it’ll be a great feeling knowing you are helping others 🙂
If you have any other hints and tips, please let me know and I will add them to the bottom of this guide and will thank you for them 🙂
I have received this message from Carol, I love it! What do you think?
- Just reading your tips for keeping xmas costs low and your comment about santa taking all the credit. I do things a little different in my house.
As santa has to buy all the boys and girls in the world he brings one gift (not expensive but still desired so kids are thrilled) and a stocking which can be filled with practical and novelty items so not necessarily expensive too.
These two items are always placed in my children’s bedrooms and wrapped in different wrapping paper then the gifts downstairs from us, family/ friends.
I introduced this as one year my son asked for a list of high value toys and a landrover for his dad. We said santa can’t bring dad a landrover and he said Santa would just bring an extra sleigh to carry it.
Hasnt spoilt the magic of xmas at all and kids appreciate that they can’t have everything and appreciate what they get too.