Only two weeks to go and if money is tight and you haven’t bought all of your gifts yet you may be feeling the pressure. You will either fall into one of two camps; either you love this whole ‘gift giving thing’, or you hate it. Either way, don’t miss the unique opportunity you have to show some appreciation, even if it doesn’t come naturally to you. I guarantee you that your life will be much more vibrant if you make an effort. Whats more, you can do it and still save money!
If gifts aren’t a part of how you express gratitude you could be severely underestimating the power a small gesture can have.
Let me be honest, gifts are not something I always appreciate, but for a lot of people, it sends the message of appreciation and validation. You don’t have to break the bank to show someone they matter to you, but it would be a mistake not to.
The shops want you to spend. Consequently, you may have been feeling the crippling chokehold of the high street this year. There are plenty of ways to make your giving meaningful, cheaper and far more personalised. If you’ve still got some people on your list (you should totally make a list by the way), try some new, cost-effective and thoughtful ideas.
Here are a few ways you can be finance savvy this Christmas
[ictt-tweet-blockquote]You don’t always have to spend money to give a great gift. One of the greatest things is giving the gift of moments. [/ictt-tweet-blockquote]
Budget, Don’t Borrow Money
It can be so tempting, especially if you have good rates, to spend on a credit card to get presents sorted. We convince ourselves that the interest is worth it and helps ease the pain. With a little self-discipline, you can save yourself the trouble of putting money into the credit company’s pocket.
I once sat down to work out every penny I paid in interest, bank charges and others costs for borrowings. Over the years it amounted to an eye-watering figure that I don’t want to ever think about again!
Set yourself a budget (a budget you can afford) and stick to it. You may not think it’s a big deal, but this lifestyle discipline is an incremental change that amounts to a lot of money over the years.
You may say ‘Julian, it’s okay. I have 0% interest for like two years’. Well okay, but even then I would seriously consider not using it for the sake of building the habit of only spending what I can afford. Just spend on credit what you can pay back in full at the end of the month, this way you get a level of protection, card benefits and the appearance of looking credit active (which help your credit score) without paying fees.
If you’re unsure, it’s probably best to leave well alone. If you’re not feeling clued up, I highly recommend checking out The Money Saving Expert Website.
Vary It With Vouchers
You don’t always have to spend money to give a great gift. One of the greatest presents is giving the gift of moments. It may be you know a couple or a family that don’t always get the quality time they deserve, or somebody who you know has been wound tight lately and needs to de-stress.
For less than £5 you can get a quality, albeit novelty yet sentimental, I.O.U gift card made up. Add what you want; free babysitting for a night, a coupon for a quality night out, an adventure or excursion, a ‘date night in’ hamper or even a treasure hunt!
Shop The Charity Stores To Save Money
I used to have a major aversion to buying anything from a charity shop thinking that ‘if somebody else didn’t want it, why would I’? Since then, I have discovered that there are some incredible gems sometimes donated. At the time, I was in desperate need of a jumper, I wound up in a charity shop and picked up a decent Ralph Lauren Polo jumper for much less than it was worth! That moment convinced me that there are decent things to be found and they are more than appropriate as decent gifts – if they are well suited to the person for whom you are buying.
If you’ve never done it before, give it a go!
I call this the Julian method.
You can wait until Christmas Eve and make a massive list of everyone for who you want to get a gift. Set yourself a limit of say £5 per person and head into the chaos the high street and try and snap up last-minute offers. Also, bear in mind this can go one of two ways; either you will find the discounts I ordinarily do, or you will find they have slammed you into a corner and put the prices up last minute. Running into hiked prices almost never happens, but beware that it is a risk to shop last-minute so close to Christmas.
I happen to love doing this. It’s become somewhat of a Christmas tradition. I spend a few hours wrapping, eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine. What’s not to love?
You might not want to try all of those things, but why not give one of them ago.
What are some of the ways you have saved this Christmas?
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