The holiday season is a time for giving — and for most of us, this means that it’s a crucial time for setting budgetary priorities as well. If there’s a toy, video game or special item that your child wants, chances are that it’s probably going to be expensive. Make sure you can afford the absolute essentials — such as that cherished toy, or the beautiful jumper you want for your sister, or the long-desired, high tech tablet for your spouse — by saving money on other items. Buy gift-wrap, tape and ribbon at discount stores; likewise save on seasonal foods by clipping vouchers and looking at weekly sales updates.
The same holds true with decorations; resist the temptation to buy that brilliant-but-expensive mechanical Father Christmas or that utterly scrummy gourmet Christmas cake and put the money towards a special gift on someone’s list. By using this approach, you’ll be able to save money for the important things; your children and loved ones will get the gifts they really want, and you’ll have the supreme satisfaction of being able to afford to give them.
Stores generally continue to offer their best sale prices right up until the big day, because they need to get their inventory down before the New Year. Take advantage of these sale prices and shop around until you get the best deal. Likewise, if you’re shopping online with a certain retailer, do an Internet search to see if that retailer has any discount promotional codes; these codes often aren’t advertised on the retailer’s website, and sometimes they offer really substantial savings. Shopping on auction sites such as eBay is also a great way to find bargains, particularly on popular toys of the season. Quite often these toys are offered at a “buy it now” price, and even with shipping costs, you can save as much as half of what the toy would cost in a retail store.
If you’re out shopping, take a detour from the shopping centres and check out your local charity shops. While it might take some searching, these shops can yield everything from still-tagged, unworn designer clothing to new-in-the-box, unused toys. Likewise, consignment shops can sometimes be a good source for brand new clothing and accessories.
If you’ve got a talent for knitting or crocheting, then stock up on good quality yarn when it’s on sale and choose a few simple shawl or afghan patterns that you can make up quickly and economically with just a few skeins of yarn. It’s a lovely — and money saving — way to show someone that you cared enough to make something especially for them. Likewise, if cooking is your forte, bake up batches of Christmas cakes, festive biscuits, or anything else you’re good at, and fill holiday tins with these treats. At Christmastime, food is always appreciated, especially when it’s homemade — and you’ll be able to make these goodies at a fraction of the cost of buying them.
Gift baskets are also a welcome gift, whether filled with food, bath salts and soaps or linens and kitchenware. Shop sales and clearances to stock up on appealing and trendy items, then parcel them out into inexpensive-yet-attractive baskets — thrift stores and charity shops always have plenty of these — and cover the whole with clear or coloured cellophane topped off with a huge bow—and voila! You have an expensive-looking luxury gift basket at a budget price.
By using some of these tips — and coming up with a few of your own — you’re sure to be able to shave a bit off of your Christmas spending. This way, you’ll be able to better afford that expensive toy your child is longing for this year. And, if you save enough on the non-essentials, you might even be able to treat yourself to that scrummy gourmet Christmas cake after all.
This post was written as a guest blog post by mum’s mall - a specialist price comparison site for maternity products, toys, kids & baby clothes featuring over 50 online stores. Find mum’s mall on Facebook and Follow mum’s mall on Twitter.