10 ways to cut the cost of Christmas gifts
1. Make the most of all those loyalty points you've accrued over the year and use rewards on your supermarket and high street retailer loyalty cards to buy some of your Christmas gifts. 3000 points on a Boots Advantage card equals £30 to spend.
Watch our Moneywise TV episode: How to make the most of loyalty cards
2. Do your friends and family really appreciate socks and scented candles? Why not try making some festive chutney or mincemeat and bottling it up in a nice jar. Or you can have a go at making chocolate truffles or fudge.
Even better get the kids on board to make some Christmas cookies. Wrap them all up with cellophane and ribbon and nobody will accuse you of being cheap. Check out websites like deliaonline.com or nigella.com for inspiration.
Watch our Moneywise TV piece on Gift-giving etiquette
3. Have a frank chat with some of your friends about whether or not they want to do gifts this year to spare any embarrassment. Nobody wants to receive a unexpected gift if it means they then feel obliged to rush out and buy a gift in return.
4. By all means browse book and music stores for inspiration but for gifts like CDs, DVDs and books always buy online. It's quicker, easier and most importantly cheaper. Shop with plenty of time to ensure you don't have to splash out on express delivery charges. Both Amazon.co.uk and Play.com offer free delivery if you don't require next day delivery.
Read: The Moneywise guide to shopping online
5. If you need to buy for every member of a family, why not consider buying one gift the whole family will enjoy? This might be a hamper, a board or computer game. One great and well planned gift often goes down better than five hastily bought gifts.
6. Plan ahead and write a list. You'll spend less if you hit the shops knowing exactly what you need to buy, rather than wondering round the shops aimlessly and busting your budget with last minute panic buys.
7. Give time rather than money. Instead of splashing out on expensive gifts why not try giving friends and family a voucher for your time. Parents of young kids would love the offer of overnight baby-sitting while anyone that has just moved home would be grateful for a day spent on painting or decorating.
8. Secret Santa doesn't have to be the preserve of the office, nor do you have to buy silly gifts. So for example, rather than spending a fortune buying gifts for your whole family, why don't you all agree to spend a fixed sum on just one person? Nobody busts their budget but everybody receives one great gift.
9. Volunteer a meal. If you are visiting friends or family over the Christmas period why not volunteer to cook a meal instead of bringing a gift? If your hosts have been rushed off their feet over the festive period they'll appreciate the break.
10. Ask people what they want. It might sound obvious but it's something people often forget in the rush to get their Christmas shopping done. It's better to give a gift that you know the recipient will use and appreciate rather than wasting money on something you don't know they'll like. Plus, if you're struggling for inspiration and in a hurry the chances are you'll end up paying far more than you intended.
Take a moment to watch our Moneywise episode: Why i'm cutting back this Christmas