The Christmas crunch: shopping on a budget

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So you don’t want to appear a Scrooge but the thought of buying Christmas presents when money is tight makes the festive period become a daunting one.  Firstly you must remember a lot of people are in the same situation as you, so making a compromise between friends and family will be a relief to both parties. However, a budget does not have to ruin Christmas. Less money can mean more thought and creativity put into presents.

Getting organised is key to a low cost Christmas. Heading into the shops with a jumble of names in your head and no budget will send you into a sweat; resulting in you coming out feeling flustered and unsure on how you managed to spend so much money. However, writing a list with of names and budgets for each person will help clear your head and allow you to not get carried away. Starting shopping in advance also means you will be less tempted to panic shop; picking up anything near the price of your budget regardless of whether your grandma really wants a JLS poster or not. Giving yourself enough time to browse will help you find presents which are worth every penny you spend.

Secret Santa between friends cuts the cost and time spent buying presents considerably. This is also a fun way to exchange presents as there is the added suspense of not knowing who is buying your gift. For this to work a budget needs to be set so that everyone is spending the same amount. If you are really feeling penniless; you can get creative and set the rule that every present needs to be handmade. This means everyone’s present will be personal and more appreciated than a cheap last minute gift.

The internet is a great way to find bargains and deals which are hard to find in shops. Shopping from home also takes you away from hustle and bustle of shopping centres so you can concentrate on what you need to buy.  Websites such as Play.com are great for saving on DVD’s and CD’s with up to 60% off box sets. Amazon is also great for buying books and provides free delivery for some products. EBay can also be great if you know how to use it, but always read the small print and don’t get carried away with your biding.

Remember do not get caught up with buying the little bits. Buy a wrapping paper which is suitable for everyone, and don’t spend too much on fancy paper because it will just be ripped up in the excitement of what is hiding under it.  If you are feeling really organised the sales are a perfect time for buying cards and presents. These can then be stored away till the mad rush starts all over again.

So, when the thought of Christmas has got you into a panic; use these tips to allow the festive period to become a pain free and happy time without breaking the bank.

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