The holiday season for me, and millions of other people, can be very stressful and puts a strain on a lot of peoples’ economy – unnecessarily. Whatever holiday you celebrate in December, gifts and good food are big parts of them. Studies show that we argue, fight and feel emotionally worse during the Christmas and Chanukka seasons, for loads of reasons. But, with good planning, and a few easy tips and tricks, you can avoid a lot of tears and sleepless nights. There are good and easy ways to save money and don’t go into debt or ruin to have a nice holiday.
First I’m going to discuss how to get nice gifts for you family and friends, tips & tricks and then put out some useful links to different discount websites, price comparing sites etc. I’ll get to food in my next blog post, since I suspect that this will be a rather long post.
For me, buying gifts is the most stressful of all! I celebrate Christmas and I’ve already started asking my friends and family what they want for Christmas, just so I won’t be stressed the week leading up to it. There are a million things to be done anyway and spreading out your shopping is a smart move. Let me give you a few tips that you can use:
- Start planning NOW! Sit down with your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/children (if you have either one) and plan the holiday. Let you kids be part of the plans from an early age, they’ll love it!
- Spread out you gift shopping – you don’t have to do everything at once. Do a few every week and always bring a list with you to cross check and cross off what you’ve bought. That way you won’t buy the same thing twice. The same thing goes for food.
- WRITE lists of what everyone wants – you WON’T remember what your family and friends want.
- Start asking the ones you plan on buying presents for what they want already, it pays to be early. Again, if you ask late then you’ll have to stress buy everything at once and that’s not good.
- Order of the internet or try finding what you want on clearance. That saves huge amounts of money. Take some time to surf around and compare prices at different websites. Also, many websites give you free shipping if you order over a certain amount, so if you can – collect a few presents from the same site to get over that amount, providing that all the gifts are at a relatively good price.
- There are more often than not codes for free shipping. Hunt one down!
- DO NOT use the deal: “Buy now – pay in 3 months”. That costs extra money and could set you into debt. Only shop with money you have NOW, or don’t buy it.
- If you have a stockpile at home, then you can make cheap gift baskets from that. Put together a basket and wrap it in a festive crepe paper and some beautiful satin bands, and give it away to relatives, recently married friends etc.
- A gift basket from your stockpile can contain so many combinations, for example
- Diapers, pacifiers, baby wipes, baby clothes that were on sale, laundry detergent, baby food and a little stuffed toy for the new parents, or parents-to-be.
- Laundry detergent, washing up liquid, soap, shampoo, cleaning supplies etc. and other household items to the friend or relative who’s just bought a home or moved away to go to college and might be a little strapped for cash.
- Pasta, marinara sauce, baked beans, tins, gift cards to food shops, travel sized shampoos and soap, coupons and other things to the person who’s just started studying at college or the university.
- Set a budget and stick to it. Say: “This year our budget for presents is going to be X. How can I/we stick to it?”
- Have savings account for holiday expenses just like you have one for vacation, emergencies and pension. Put a little sum in every week/month, depending on how often you get paid, and you’ll have a good start. This account can be used for other holidays as well and not just the ones in December. Just remember to always have money there!
- Homemade food is always appreciated. If you have a garden full of various fruits, berries and vegetables, then do something with them and give away jams, juices, pickles etc.
- Decide on how many gifts each person is going to have, for example: each of my children will have 4 each, my spouse 3, I’m getting 3 from myself and every other relative will get 1 gift each. That limits it somewhat.
- I like to leave a gift for the mailman and the guys who empty my garbage every week. Usually I buy a couple of nice chocolate boxes, wrap them and write a card. Then I go out when I see them and wish them a happy holiday.
- Hunt for coupons, rebates and discount codes. There are a million of them during the holidays.
- Be aware that some shops actually mark up their prices a lot before the 25th of December and then dump them for the sales.
Pricerunner (UK): http://www.pricerunner.co.uk/
Pricerunner (US): http://www.pricegrabber.com/
Pricerunner (SWE): http://www.pricerunner.se/
Deal Extreme: http://www.dx.com/?Utm_rid=16341893&Utm_source=affiliate
Amazon (UK); https://www.amazon.co.uk/
Amazon (US): https://www.amazon.com/
Voucher codes (UK): https://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/
My Voucher Codes (UK): https://www.myvouchercodes.co.uk/
Missguided Voucher Codes (UK): https://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/missguided.co.uk
Official Coupon Code (US): https://www.officialcouponcode.com/
Voucher Cloud (US): https://www.vouchercloud.net/
Groupon (US): https://www.groupon.com/
Groupon (UK): https://www.groupon.co.uk/
Coupons (US): https://www.coupons.com/coupon-codes/
Ashley’s money saver (UK): https://ashleighmoneysaver.co.uk/coupon-detective/
Extreme Couponing (UK): http://www.extremecouponing.co.uk/
Supermarket Coupons (UK): http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/supermarket-coupons