Skint Dad

Christmas on a shoestring

Read Skint Dad's top tips on how to slash the price of Christmas and still enjoy the festivities.

Christmas is only a week away and although most of you are looking forward to spending time with family throughout the festive period, others may be starting to feel the pinc

Buying presents for your nearest and dearest, having family around for Christmas dinner and socialising more this time of the year than any other can really place a strain on finances.

With that said, the holiday season doesn’t have to leave you bankrupt and if you’re low on funds you can still do Christmas on a shoestring and have a great time.

Make a list and check it twice

If you want to cut your costs this Christmas then you need to start making lists. Food, cards and presents each need a list and need updating every time you buy something from the shop, send a card or wrap a present.

Advanced buying is another reason lists come out on top. Come the January sales when you can pick up wrapping paper, Christmas cards and numerous other festive items at a discounted price, you’ll need a list so that when December comes around you won’t spend unnecessary cash on duplicate items which you may have forgotten about.

Only buy presents for children

For a long time we bought Christmas presents for everyone in the family. Nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters; they all received a gift from us. It was costing a fortune so a couple of years ago we took the decision to only buy presents for the children in the family.

Not only did this instantly save us a huge amount of money and time but it also took the pressure off our relatives as they stopped buying us gifts in return.

Alternatively, why not do a family Secret Santa? Put everyone’s names in a hat and draw just one person. Set an agreed budget and come Christmas everyone will have a present to open from under the tree.

Buy a fake Christmas tree

I love the smell of a real Christmas tree (but truly hate clearing up the dropped needles!). Spending out money every year on a new tree can put a dent in the December budget so if you’re on a tight budget then invest in an artificial one instead. Not only will you save money this year but also for future Christmases to come.

Alternatively, if you have a reasonably sized garden you could plan ahead and grow your own Christmas trees. Be warned though, it takes between seven to ten years to grow an eight foot Christmas tree from seed!

Shop just before Christmas Day

This tip is slightly risky as you may find shops will have run out of stock but by leaving the shopping until a couple of days before Christmas can save you a fortune.

Cut price Christmas decorations, cheap chocolate selection boxes and big discounts on toys, gifts and games can be had if you head to the shops just as the sales are starting. Be prepared to face big crowds though as leaving Christmas to the last minute is a British tradition! You need to remember to factor in time to get the presents wrapped too.

Ditch the turkey

Having a turkey roast on Christmas day is a tradition for many families but it’s not a tradition that has been around in the UK for that long so why follow it?

When you’re tight on cash then ditch buying the whole bird and get just the crown. Or why not opt for a cheaper alternative instead. Chicken is a very popular – and far cheaper – alternative to a turkey (in fact I find that a chicken doesn’t dry out as much but perhaps that’s just my cooking!).

Have a pre-Christmas clear out and make some cash

With little time until Christmas you still have enough time for a clear out to both make some room and make some cash for Christmas.

Spend a bit of time going through your home room-by-room sorting out all the items you no longer want. Then sort the items into two piles: one pile of items that are junk and need throwing out and one pile of items which you can sell.

Advertise these items on local sites such as Gumtree and Facebook selling groups. The money you make can be put towards food on Christmas day or a few extra cheeky presents.

So as you can see Christmas doesn’t have to be overly expensive. With a few hacks and shortcuts you can slash the cost of Christmas and still enjoy the most festive time of year.

Make a list and check it twice.