Christmas is the most financially draining and stressful time of year and the worst bit about it is you'd rather not have spent all that money right? At least some of it will have gone on people you only see a few times a year (if that) and you'll receive at least one present you really didn't want.
Additionally this year the UK's crazy pet owners will spend around £27 million on presents for their animal counterparts. I mean, does your cat really want anything more than a bit of turkey off your plate?
There are plenty of tips on the internet if you know where to look. Martins Money Tips has some here. So here is my contribution minus the Scrooge effect.....
1. Presents are okay but you need to rein it in. I've limited everyone to just one or two gifts this year and they have to give me ideas for things they genuinely want or need. I am not buying anything for the sake of it just to fill present opening space. Make a rule with family and stick to it.
2. Christmas cards. Do you actually need to send them? They sit on a shelf for a couple of weeks and then they're straight into the bin. Quality ones cost at least £2 a shot so you can easily spend the price of a couple of decent presents on bits of paper that will just be thrown away.
3. Recycle your gift bags. We have an ongoing joke in my family about the same gift bags that come round year after year. Everyone reuses them and passes them on. The next year, they come back again. And so it goes on. Some of our bags have been doing the rounds for 5 or 6 years now and at £4 - 5 a shot that's money you can easily do without spending.
|Reuse your gift bags. It will save you money (source)|
5. Don't decorate inside the house. Unless you're completely anal about Christmas or doing a lot of home entertainment and need to make a show for your materialistic friends there's no need to make your house look like a grotto. Even more so if you're not planning to be home at Christmas anyway. I haven't decorated since about 2002. I always go away for Christmas so it's a pointless exercise as far as I'm concerned. Decorations and trees are a huge waste of money.
7. Ditch the outside show. Not only is it expensive to buy outside lights in the first place but the electricity bills must cost a fortune. Despite the recession I have seen lots of houses covered in lights this year. It's also VERY distracting to drivers. I get mesmerised by the bright lights and that's not a good thing on a busy road.
So there you are. I'm sure there a zillion other ideas and if you want to comment and post your money savers please do. I want novelty, funny and practical.