Frugal tips for Christmas on a tight budget


Frugal Christmas Gifting 

1. Make presents for family and friends. 
If you have the supplies around your home to make presents then this is a great way to save money. Maybe you have a hobby that means you have particular supplies, such as sewing supplies, beading, model making or woodworking for example. There are many different hobbies that involve supplies that would be useful in making gifts. If you have the supplies and the skills use them! You can personalise the gifts you make to each individual person by making something related to a particular interest of the person you are gifting too e.g. a football team, TV series, Film etc. If you like to make your own jams, chutneys or baked goods maybe you could make extra when making them for yourself and put together a little bundle to gift. 

2. Don't waste money on expensive gift wrapping and bags
It's understandable to want the gifts you give to look good when presented to their recipient, you don't need to spend lots of money on expensive gift wrapping and bags though. Be thrifty and find low cost wrapping paper then watch a tutorial online that teaches you how to make it look pretty and how to make gift bags with the wrap too. Alternatively purchase plain brown paper and decorate it yourself with pens or stamps.
Avoid buying gift tags, save the cards you get each Christmas and cut them up into gift tags for future years. 

3. Make up your own hampers
Don't get drawn into the 'gift hamper' market where things have been pre-packed into gift bundles and hampers for you. Often the price has been raised beyond the cost of what it would to purchase the items and bundle them up into a gift box or bag yourself. There are many tutorials online that will teach you how to make beautiful gift baskets, bags and boxes using wrapping paper or you could pick up a little basket in a craft store / charity shop cheaply and wrap a selection of goodies up yourself. In most if not all cases it is cheaper to make up your own gift hampers for loved ones, and you can make them more personalised to the person too. 

4. Don't be afraid to re-gift
If you receive a gift during the year, that isn't personalised to you, that you don't think you'll use don't chuck it away, re-gift it. Obviously don't gift it back to the person that gave it to you, give it to someone else who you think will enjoy it. 

5. Look on freecycle and local free sites 
Keep checking freecycle or local free sites on social media for your area to see if there are things being given away that you could use to make gifts for friends and family. Sometimes you'll see things like books or childrens toys being given away during clear outs on 'for sale' or 'free' sites on Facebook. Check throughout the year, pick up what you think will be useful and keep notes so you don't forget what you have got. 

6. Spread out the cost 
Planning ahead is a key way to reduce costs when it comes to buying gifts. Start your Christmas shopping as early as you can, look out for things in SALES that might be good to gift to friends and family. 

If you can afford to buy gifts for friends and family this year please try and purchase in small independently owned shops before heading to large chain stores. Family run and indie owned shops are struggling in the current economic state and so your support will be much appreciated by them. 

Frugal Christmas gift receiving 

1. Stop turning your nose up at the gift of 'smellies'. 
Often I hear people moan about receiving gift sets of shower and bath items, as if they are not an extremely useful item to receive. Getting these items as gifts also saves you money through the year, saving you from buying them. 

2. If asked to make a list, think of useful things 
If you are asked to make a list for a loved one think about the year ahead and what you may need. As lovely as it is to get fancy gifts try and think about more useful items. Things you use around the home on a daily basis for example. If the items you need are too high cost for one person to get think about the place you are going to get it and ask for a gift card in that place. 

Frugal Christmas Eating 

1. Share it out 
If you are having friends and family over for a Christmas meal share out the cost of buying and cooking the food. Work together to assign the different things you'll need to those attending, try and make it as fair as possible, people will understand that you cannot buy and cook everything for everyone, especially this year. 

2. Spread out the cost 
If you can, start saving way ahead of time for Christmas food. Put away a little amount of money each week or month, somewhere you won't touch it, so that you'll have enough to spend come the time. If you shop weekly or monthly as Christmas gets closer look in the shops and see if you can buy some items early. It is important to check the use by dates to ensure the items will last until the date you plan to use them. In most cases you'll be able to buy Xmas puddings and cakes quite far ahead of time and put them somewhere safe until they are needed. 

Are there any frugal tips you think we've missed? Let us know in the comments.