Instead of aimlessly buying gifts throughout the season (a major wallet drain), use this shopping guide, chock-full of surprising strategies, to cross everything off your list.
We’ve passed the 100-day mark, so the countdown to Christmas has begun – it’s time to get MoneySaving before Santa’s sleigh lands. Many complain of being skint in January, so avoid this by following our sackful of tips.
We cover everything from budgeting for the big day to how to get cheap fancy perfume and when to book train tickets in advance. And for those who celebrate Eid, Chanukah or owt else, don’t worry – for the most part the same tips apply.
Don’t plan the perfect Christmas – first work out what you can afford
Before you start planning, consider this: many list every lusted-for item, gifts for all, and a corking meal, then only afterwards consider: “How will I pay for it?” That’s a recipe for ending up broke.
Instead, calculate your budget and ask: “What can I afford to spend on Christmas?” Christmas is one day – don’t ruin the whole of the next year for it.
Agree with friends to ban unnecessary Christmas presents
Consider not giving this Christmas. We’re not talking about gifts from parents or grandparents, but the ever-widening glut of friends, extended family and colleagues.
Christmas isn’t a retail festival – we need to end obliged giving and think about what we’re giving, to whom and why.
Remember, kids aren’t retail snobs
Young children don’t value your gift based on price – they often seem more interested playing with the wrapping. So don’t shell out big bucks unnecessarily.
A perennial favourite of this site’s Festive Fiver Christmas gift contests is the balloon box. Get a huge box, fill it tight with blown-up balloons, then wrap it. Though be careful to ensure burst balloon bits don’t get in mouths.