Three Ways to Buy Christmas Gifts for Less

christmas-santaChristmas is the most expensive time of the year and Christmas gifts are likely to account for a large proportion of your expenditure in the run-up to the festive season, especially if you have a large, extended family or a wide circle of friends. In times of economic difficulties, it makes sense to re-think your normal Christmas gift shopping habits and look for ways in which you can save money whilst at the same time still buying presents that will delight the recipients. Here are some ways to shop smartly for Christmas gifts.

Outlet Malls

Shopping for Christmas gifts at outlet malls is an excellent way to make your dollar stretch further. Outlet malls typically sell branded goods at prices 50 per cent to 70 per cent lower than in normal retail outlets. Clothing, accessories, cosmetics, home wares, books, toys, and many other items can be bought at outlet malls, so it is possible that you will be able to buy most, if not all, of the items on your Christmas gift list on a single trip to an outlet mall.

It is a good idea to set a budget before you leave home and keep to it. Since many items are offered at a large discount, you may be tempted to buy more gifts than you need to and you may end up spending more in total than you would have spent in your local shopping mall.

eBay and Other Online Stores

eBay sellers and owners of other online stores can afford to sell goods at lower prices than traditional retailers because they have lower overheads. Further advantages of doing your Christmas shopping online include being able to browse and order at anytime of the day or night, and not having to fight your way through crowded shopping malls in the run-up to Christmas. If you have friends or family members living overseas, you could order gifts from a website in their home country and arrange for them to be gift wrapped and delivered directly to their door.

If you buy gifts on eBay or other online auction sites, it is important that you set yourself a maximum price for each item and do not bid beyond that. Sometimes it is all too easy to get carried away with “auction fever” and offer more than an item is worth.

Personalize Low-Cost Items or Make Gifts Yourself

Unique Christmas presents can be created by either personalizing a low-cost item or making a gift from scratch. Look in your local dollar store for items that you could personalize. For example, you could buy a hardback notebook in a plain color and cover it with fabric in a design that would appeal to the recipient. If you buy an inexpensive fabric remnant in a fabric store, you could make a unique personalized gift quickly, easily and inexpensively.

Three Quick and Easy Ways to Save Money This Christmas

bear-christmasAlmost everyone overspends in the run-up to Christmas and regrets it in the lean month of January. The good news is that there are some very quick and easy ways in which you can make your hard-earned cash go further this Christmas.

Send Christmas e-cards or Print Your Own Christmas Cards. You may not wish to send Christmas e-cards to everyone on your Christmas card list, but, if you are on a tight budget, it makes sense to send at least some e-cards. You will not only save money on buying paper cards and envelopes but you will also save money on postage, especially if the recipients live overseas. Another option is to print your own Christmas cards using designs that can be downloaded free of charge from the Internet. Some designs allow you to incorporate your own photos, which is a nice idea if you live far from family and friends. It is also possible to print out envelope shapes and fold and glue them together to make your own envelopes, This is more cost effective than buying them and gives your Christmas greetings a personal touch too.

Don’t Buy Any New Christmas Decorations This Year. Most families already have several boxes of Christmas decorations, yet it is easy to be seduced by the Christmas spirit in the run-up to Christmas and buy even more decorations Take out all of your Christmas decorations well in advance and decide which ones you will re-use this year. If you have some time, look on the Internet for instructions and set aside some time at the weekend for the whole family to make new decorations together. Try and use only materials that you already have. Paper chains, for example, are a great decoration to make, as you only need paper, scissors, and glue or scotch tape.

Buy as Much Own-Label Food as Possible. Food bills over the holiday season are always high, whether you are just having a few friends over for a small party or whether you are inviting the whole of your extended family. In order to reduce your spending on groceries at this time of the year, buy as many supermarket own-label products as possible. Own-label products are usually of a similar quality to branded products with the only difference being that the packaging is plain. Your guests will not be able to tell the difference unless they see the packaging. If you are in doubt about the quality of a certain own-label product.

An Economical Christmas

christmasChristmas is a wonderful time of the year. We try to put our problems behind us and meet with our friends and family to celebrate together. Unfortunately, times have been tough for many recently, and the thought of Christmas can fill people with dread. However, this need not be the case. With a little imagination, everybody can have a wonderful Christmas, even those on a tight budget.

Decorating the house is an important part of the Christmas festivities. Most people want to have a tree as the center of attraction in their home. Artificial trees are generally the cheapest to buy and you have them for many years to come. However, if you want a real tree, invest in one that is in a pot and still has roots You can then put it outside after Christmas and use it again the following year. It is also more environmentally friendly than buying a dead tree.

Decorations for the tree can prove expensive. Of course, many people do collect them from year to year. However, if you are just starting out, buy a few decorations and then make some of your own. If you have kept Christmas cards from previous years, you can cut up images from them, such as reindeer and snowmen, to hang on your tree. You can also put ribbons and party streamers on the tree. Many countries have cheaper stores such as pound, euro or dollar shops, and these generally stock very reasonably priced decorations.

We can be pressured into buying expensive gifts for each other. If you are short of money, it is important to set a budget so that you don’t end up in too much debt after Christmas. If you buy individual presents for family members, you might try buying a family gift rather than one for each. This can prove to be a considerable saving. Board games and gift certificates are presents that the whole family can enjoy.

Homemade gifts are often cheaper than presents bought in a store. Thought and care goes into making these gifts and people will appreciate this. You can put skills such as sewing, knitting and embroidery to good use at Christmas. If you are experienced in the kitchen, you can make biscuits, chutneys, jellies, and cakes. Put them into suitable containers and decorate with ribbons and bows. They will look more expensive than they actually are to make.