Christmas…….a time to spend with loved ones, a time to celebrate, a time to be generous, a time to forgive, a time to stop and be grateful for all that you have. Christmas certainly is special. But did you know that average income households can take up to six months to clear debts built up through Christmas spending on food and gifts? Don’t get caught up in this frenzy only to wake up with a financial hangover when it’s over. Here are a few ideas to help you cut the cost of Christmas:


  1. Set yourself a Christmas budget. The only way to make sure that you spend what you can afford to spend is to have a budget and to stick to it.
  2. If you lack discipline, leave your credit cards at home when you go shopping and just take the cash amount you budgeted for. This may sound extreme but you do not want to be like the 5 million or so adults in the UK who are still paying off their debts from last Christmas!
  3. Did you know that one out of five Christmas gifts is unwanted? Why not agree a ‘present price limit’ with family and / or friends and get a few gift ideas from each of them? A small, but wanted gift is always a winner.
  4. Buying gifts for all your children’s friends can quickly add up to a hefty sum. Why don’t you get together with the other parents and arrange a Secret Santa. Each of you can draw one child’s name out the hat for whom you then buy a present. This way, every child gets one nice gift and every adult only has to buy one gift. My kids love this one!
  5. Discount / voucher codes. Anytime I buy something online I always look for a discount / voucher / promotional code. Sometimes I get lucky and sometimes not. It’s well worth trying though as you can often bag yourself a 5% discount or free postage and packing at the very least.
  6. Cashback websites. Yes, there are loads of cashback websites out there which give you cash back for shopping at well known online stores simply by clicking through from their websites. Examples are and
  7. If you’re into advent calendars there are plenty free ones online which the kids will love just as much. Simply do a search via your search engine.
  8. If you’re a high street shopper, try your hand at haggling. Yes, haggling works on the high street. You just have to know how, and practice makes perfect.
  9. Free samples from upmarket cosmetic counters are a wonderful stocking-filler for girls.
  10. Consider giving a favour or a skill swap this Christmas e.g. babysitting, beauty treatment or haircut, DIY, etc.
  11. If you have kids, frame some of their artwork to make a great gift for the grandparents.
  12. Photobooks are another great gift for family members. They are cheaper than you think to do online and if you do more than one, you get further discounts. Check out
  13. Mugs stuffed with chocolates and sweets are much cheaper to do yourself than to buy ready-made.
  14. Shop in antique shops, charity shops and markets for unusual and frugal gifts.
  15. Get baking – if you’re good in the kitchen, try your hand at making sweets or shortbread. Decorate and wrap them up nicely in some cellophane and a pretty ribbon and you’ll have yourself a very nice gift for someone.
  16. When it comes to food shopping, don’t get deceived by 3 for 2 offers on expensive brands. Why buy more than you need? Also, own-brands will look just as good and be just as tasty.
  17. Compare the price of your shopping trolley at and see where you’re best off doing your shopping at.
  18. Cook from scratch. This is not only cheaper to do but it’s healthier too. I know its extra work, but it’s a great reason for doing a dish or two less and it’s also a good opportunity to enlist the help of the kids. If you are organised and plan ahead you can prepare a few things in advance.
  19. The tragic thing about Christmas is the waste, especially when it comes to food. Research has shown that 6.7 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK alone. Don’t contribute to this horrific number, check out for some seasonal recipes for leftovers. Also, freeze the leftovers you can and enjoy them on another occasion.
  20. Sending Christmas cards is a huge expense! Consider sending personalised e-cards. They’re free on websites like pr and they’re kinder on the environment too. For those of you who have time and are also creative, why not design your own cards in word or powerpoint?
  21. We spend so much money on expensive wrapping paper and gift tags. Don’t get carried away. Plain wrapping paper with a nice coloured ribbon is often just as effective. Old Christmas cards also make great gift tags. Cut the picture off the front of the card, add a little loop of pretty string to it and Bob’s your uncle.
  22. Hold out one more year and buy new Christmas decorations and an artificial tree after they go on sale for next year.

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