With just a few more days left to Christmas, the heat is on if you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet. However, just because you are rushing to buy a few last minute presents doesn't mean you have to break the bank.
One of the most difficult and the most rewarding things about Christmas is finding the right present for a loved one. When you think about it, a £50-100 kitchen appliance probably isn't what they really want. You can usually light up a friend or relative's Christmas with a thoughtful present that won't cost you a bomb.
If you are good with your hands or have a arts & craft related hobby then you are onto a winner. If you can paint then use your talent and make some paintings as presents. Other, similar, alternatives that can go down well are homemade candles, cakes, sweets or soaps. Recipients will appreciate the personal touch.
If you do decide to hit the shops, try to stay off the beaten track. Prices will be at a premium in the high street shops so check out some of the lesser known back-street shops or even a few second-hand shops or markets.
Of course, you really don't have to leave your home to find some Christmas bargains, you will find some of the best deals out there online. Online retailers and auction websites like eBay are a great hunting ground for Christmas shoppers.
However, as with normal shops, online shops will also charge more in the run up to Christmas. Try to look for some alternatives such as collectibles or second hand goods that you may find online. Websites such as TaZoom specialise in second-hand goods and collectibles that may be very difficult to find elsewhere. In fact, there is not much you won't find on TaZoom, ranging from bikes to collectible stamps, used furniture to motor bikes.
Time is short, but you may just have time to order online for Christmas. If you are really stuck for ideas you could even try designing and printing coupons for your time and giving these as presents. For example, you could offer your services as a gardener, a cook or a babysitter for a day.
There is more expense to Christmas than just buying presents. The costs of decorating, cooking and entertaining all add up, and quickly. So try to look at cheaper options for all of your Christmas outgoings. You can cut the cost of Christmas without scrimping on fun.
When it comes to decorating, use your creativity. The next time you have a few daylight hours to spare take a walk and gather some holly, pine cones and other natural materials you can use to make Christmas decorations. Also, if you have kids they will probably get some great ideas for making decorations in school.
After presents, socialising is probably the most expensive part of Christmas. Between now and early January there will be countless invites and opportunities to go out on the town. However, try to limit these to one or two nights. You can have great social evenings at home for a fraction of the price by just inviting some friends and family around.
We hope these tips will help you get through this Christmas. For next Christmas, maybe start preparing a little earlier. We will have some advice on how to do this in January.