Have yourself a Merry bargain Christmas

Christmas is one of our favourite times of year. A time for living, a time for believing, some (not naming any named, *ahem* Cliff Richard) may say. To continue quoting Cliff, it’s also a time for giving and a time for getting, which means it can actually be one of the most expensive times of the year.

And while we should all enjoy indulging with family and friends, we need to be careful to ensure our Christmas splurging doesn’t put us in to longer-term debt.

It’s no wonder that many of us overspend during the festive period with the added pressure of showering our loved ones with expensive presents which has certainly not been helped by Insta bragging. It’s reported that Britain splashes out more than any other country in Europe at Christmas, and is second only to America in the league of big spenders. Recent research from RetailMeNot showed UK families will spend on average £473.83 on presents this year while others report average spending of more than £800.

Almost a quarter of Britons (23 per cent) felt under pressure to spend more than they could afford.  In the 2015 survey 35 per cent of people said had already borrowed money or planned to borrow it to pay for Christmas gifts.

Now you don’t have to be Martin Lewis to realise that this is no way to balance your budget. So that’s why we’re encouraging you to have a great, fun Christmas without spending a fortune – and here’s how…

  • DIY Xmas Presents:

DIY presents not only save loads of money, you’ll also find that your friends, family and loved ones will appreciate the effort more.

Take a look at this great blog for some DIY inspiration. We particularly love the biscuits in a box. Yum!!

And these are just ingenious bottles of reindeer beer?!

If you’re looking for something a bit more extravagant the book lamp and stylish scarf camera strap could cost a fortune, but with a bit of creativity you can make them yourself without making a dent in your finances.

  • Hand-Made Cosmetics

Rather than buying cosmetics for someone, why not make them? Yes, that’s right, there’s no need for you to spend loads of money on expensive products when you can hand-produce them. It might not come from a top brand but it will be more appreciated because of the effort you put in.

  • Discount Codes

If you’re not the artistic type, be creative with your internet searching and you’ll find some great discount codes that can make your gift buying a lot cheaper.

  • Christmas lunch on the cheap

From baking your own mince pies to keeping a close eye on the size of your bird, there’s lots of ways to save money on your Christmas dinner.

And good news for those of you wondering how you’ll even afford the ingredients for a Christmas dinner this year, if you shop wisely, the 11 ingredients necessary for a good Christmas dinner are now 10.8% cheaper at just £2.48 per head.

  • Brilliant yet occasionally bonkers DIY Xmas Trees

Haven’t got round to buying your Christmas tree yet? Why not make your own? There’s lots of unique ideas here – we love the egg carton Xmas tree – it looks as if it’s straight off the Doctor Who set!

  • Free Christmas Gift Cheques

Why not use the utterly brilliant trick of free Christmas gift cheques  Don’t bother wasting money you don’t have, just send out a cheque pledging to do something nice whether it’s baking a cake for your grandparents, child minding for your aunt, a massage for your mum or dog walking for your, erm, dog.

  • Charity Gifts

Thanks to this great tip from in the Guardian. Agree with friends to spend a maximum £10 on presents and shop at charity shops. It’s amazing how much great stuff you can get there at basement prices, and how much fun you can have finding them.

  • Travel

And while you’re doing the family rounds, make sure you’re splitting train fares i.e dividing your journey up into multiple bits without unnecessarily changing trains every two stops.