Tighter household budgets mean more people than ever will be cutting back this Christmas and spending less on gifts for friends and family.
A poll by iVillage.co.uk found that 75% of people are planning to save money this year by only buying presents for their immediate family or playing secret Santa.
While the cost of presents can add up, follow these money-saving Christmas tips to avoid overspending this December.
1. Don’t rush
Running around the shops on Christmas Eve inevitably results in panic purchases and will result in you spending much more than you had planned.
2. Make a list
Jot down the people you want to give presents to, with a budget next to each name, to stop your spending from spiraling out of control.
3. Check it twice
Tight budgets may require a rethink of some people on your list. But remember that everyone is likely to be
feeling the pinch, so suggest a Christmas gathering instead.
4. Avoid credit
Sky-high interest rates on credit and store cards mean you could still be paying for gifts well into the new year, so try to limit your spending to the amount of money you actually have.
5. Hit the sales
The credit crunch is hitting the high street, with many stores slashing their prices, so take advantage of
cut-price products, particularly clothing and electrical items.
6. Buy online
Make big savings by shopping online using price comparison sites and cashback sites. Just be sure to check delivery times to ensure your presents arrive on time and return policies.
7. Beware extra costs
It’s easy to forget the hidden costs of online shopping, such as delivery and gift-wrapping, so look out for retailers that offer these services for free.
8. Combine gifts
Suggest setting up a secret Santa scheme and, if you usually buy separate gifts for friends and their children,
consider giving one gift instead so that they can enjoy it as a family, such as a board game or hamper.
9. Keep receipts
Not all gift-giving works out, so keep the paperwork in case any presents need to be returned or exchanged.
10. Get creative
The most thoughtful gifts are often the cheapest. Homemade items such as photo albums, home-cooked food or even paintings make unique and special presents.