Christmas is a wonderful time of year however all this merriment comes at a cost. Every year more and more families are finding themselves with hefty bills and mounting dept. However don’t despair, below are a few tips to make Christmas that bit cheaper and help lighten the financial burden without sacrificing the spirit of the occasion.
Buying gifts is one of the largest costs when it comes to Christmas. I know no one wants to be a scrooge and this is especially difficult when you have small children but there are ways to reduce the money spend on presents.
Firstly many shops are now offering sales on the run up to Christmas as opposed to saving them until January. Firms are feeling the pinch and so offer various sales in the months running up to Christmas as a way to boost Christmas Spending. Take advantage of these, a saving of as little as 20% can make a real difference once it all adds up. To really take advantage of the sales you need to plan ahead and make a sure you know what you are going to get everybody, keep an eye out for any sale which you could visit and get the right gift at a better price.
Secondly shop around. It might seem a simple suggestion but don’t just go and grab the gift from the first shop you walk into. Looking online is a great way to find the best price as most stores have their prices listed online. Another great way to save money shopping around is by looking at alternative products, sometimes you are paying a premium for a brand which dose the exact same as a cheaper alternative. Just make sure the alternative is something they want, this can be especially true when dealing with electronics or video games.
Thirdly if your family, group of friends or work colleges are in the habit of buying cheap presents for each other, adult to adult these cheap gifts quickly equal a lot of money when you’re buying for a lot of people. A great alternative to lots of cheap gifts is a secret Santa. A Secret Santa is where everybody draws names secretly out of a hat and buys a gift just for that person; usually a limit is set such as $20. This can make it a fun experience and it is far better getting one decent gift than lots of $5 tat that you will quickly throw away. This tip can easily save you as small fortune in larger groups.
A frequently overlooked cost of Christmas is your gas and electricity bills. In winter these bills are especially high and so it is an important cost to remember. Around the Christmas period is one of the most frequent times of year for leaving bills unpaid, this can quickly result in extra fines later on.
However there are a few ways to make your bills a bit more manageable around the holidays.
One extra electricity cost that crops up at Christmas is through all the extra lighting and decorations. Now I know you’re only getting in the Christmas spirit and so I’m not going to tell you not to have nice lights and decorations but instead advise you how to use them correctly. Make sure you don’t leave them on overnight as this is a massive waste of money and very few people will see them after twelve anyway. If you go to bed early but want to show them off for a few extra hours invest in a timer. Similarly don’t put them on too early as they won’t have the same effect in the day light and will waste more valuable electricity and money.
It’s inevitable that your heating bills are going to be large with the cold weather and the Christmas excess but often you could save lots while still keeping your house warm. One major way to do this is by making sure you only heat the right rooms when they are needed, for example there is no point in warming your bedrooms in the middle of the day. A lot of modern heating systems allow you control individual room and usually also have timer settings. Another important tip is to make sure you house is properly insulated to stop heat escaping. Make sure there are no gaps under doors and that windows are properly covered by thick curtains or quality wooden blinds to stop heat escaping.
Some of these tips might seem small but these small savings soon add up and can save you a fortune at a time of year when every penny counts.
I wish you all a merry Christmas and hope you manage to save money this Christmas.
This was a guest post by Sam Fisher on behalf of Wooden Blinds Direct, a specialist in ethically sourced wooden blinds.