You Don't Have to Be Scrooge to Save Money at Christmas

OK, so when it comes to frugal shoppers, Scrooge probably beats most of us hands down at this time of year. However, despite assurances that the recession is over, many families continue to face the pressures of limited wages and increasingly high bills.  If you want to avoid a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past (understatedly dressed as a big credit card bill) in January, there are a number of simple steps you can take now to make Christmas Present a bit more palatable. 

OMG We’re All Going to Starve!

Right, now let’s get this clear, the supermarkets will not close for ten weeks over the Christmas period.  In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find one of these multi-national corporations closing for more than five minutes, even in the event of fire, flood or nuclear disaster.  This doesn’t seem to stop shoppers from acting out some Zombie-esque type apocalypse routine around the festive season.  With trolleys piled high, they roam the aisles with unthinking, glassy eyes, mouthing “must buy sprouts, must buy sprouts, must buy sprouts”.  The reality is that supermarkets may close for a whole twenty-four hours but this doesn’t actually equate to a famine.  Buy enough food to see you through and don’t splash out on extras which nobody eats and you’ll end up chucking out.  Shop as you would normally; perhaps add some treats like a ham, a few mince pies, a pudding and a side of beef but don’t panic and spend a fortune.  On Boxing Day, should the worst happen and your supermarket remain closed (as if) have leftovers; in fact leftovers are the ideal Boxing Day meal.  

The Value of Family

Liaise with close family members and consider buying “family” presents as opposed to lots of individual presents.  A board game, or an interactive computer game for the whole family may well help to stop them murdering each other over the festive season.  Have a quiet chat with siblings and get this plan in place.  You’ll buy them a family present and they can do the same for you.  In most cases relatives will heave a very big sigh of relief, if you suggest this approach; we’re all a bit strapped for cash these days and it no longer makes you look cheap to suggest this kind of thing – it can even make you popular.  When it comes to presents for your own kids and spouse, try to consider gifts that they need as well as those that they want.  For stocking fillers don’t be afraid of pound shops, charity shops and discount voucher code sites.  Charity shops can stock some excellent gifts that look new (in some cases they actually are) and buying from charity stores means that a worthwhile cause is also getting a gift too.  For the flashest, best presents, buy using discount codes and vouchers – the Internet is awash with them and there is just one excuse for buying full price these days. 

Sticky Situations

Christmas cards are great aren’t they?  Who doesn’t enjoy spending weeks writing them out and posting them in the full knowledge that a bit more of the Amazon Rainforest has made the ultimate sacrifice for the greetings card industry?  Get into the traditional spirit of Christmas card sending and send to people who you rarely see from year to year.  At work, if there isn’t one already, set up a charity fund and tell everyone your donating to that and not sending a card to all the people you spend the year within spitting distance of.  For family and close friends send a personalised or homemade card; they’ll admire your creativity and originality and will mimic it next year, saving yet more trees and postage costs.  You can also make your own wrapping paper, using a basic roll of brown parcel paper, string, ribbon, glitter and paint/coloured pencils.  If you have kids, you don’t even have to waste valuable time doing this yourself; in terms of sticky, messy, colourful activities it scores 12 out of 10.  They’ll thank you for it.

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