This year will be an incredibly lean Christmas for myself, and means I can’t splash out on my loved ones like I usually do at Christmas (last year I spent £350+ just on tickets for Billy Joel and Hairspray for my family), however, that doesn’t mean I can’t get my family presents I know they will absolutely love and cherish, although working to a tighter budget.
My Christmas shopping usually starts in late November, and Black Friday usually marks my first weekend of getting my Christmas gifts in order. I didn’t have any spare money around Black Friday weekend this year so I unfortunately missed out, but even when I have a much larger budget, I always tend to have a look at items I have in mind for family and buy them at this point. I don’t tend to buy during the Black Friday sales unless I know there is a reasonable markdown and know the true original price of the product. There were spates of brands putting up prices for Black Friday this year, including the likes of huge online retailer such as PLT, but this is nothing new, so don’t be shocked.
I also keep an eye on the likes of ASOS, who currently have a huge sale of gift items, up to 50% off hundred of items. I have managed to get some incredible presents I didn’t think I would be able to afford for my sister and dad in this sale, so it is definitely worth a look before they end it. It is perfect for those last-minute secret Santa gifts, or for those who want to save a pretty penny buying something more extravagant for someone they love during the holidays.
For the past 2 Christmases I have made the Lowry Outlet Mall in Salford one of my go-to stops on my Christmas shopping list, and I have had so much money left over that I have been able to treat myself as well as my friends and family during my shopping trips here. I’ll be honest, I don’t fully understand outlet stores and how they manage to get their prices so cheap compared to the usual high street shops (if you know, please let me know in the comments) but being able to get current season items at half the price is phenomenal and I don’t understand why this form of shopping is not more popular.
For me, I swear by the H. Samuel outlet, the M&S outlet and an amazing store called Tessuti to guarantee some incredible savings. I have noticed more and more Tessuti brick and mortar shops popping up around my area, so there may be one closer to you than you think. They offer high end designer goods (think Moschino, Vivienne Westwood and Kate Spade) at a fraction of their original price. Perfect for treating the fashion conscious sibling to something special without needed to break the bank (although they’ll think you did).
Although technically an outlet store, TK Maxx deserves its own entire section. I shop in TK Maxx all year round and have bought some truly treasured items from there (including Moschino and Versace bags, high end skincare and Doc Martens). I find it incredibly difficult to go into TK Maxx and find something I desperately need, however, I do fall in love with items which I was not even considering buying. This is why I use TK Maxx as my last stop on my budget shopping trip. If I haven’t been able to find anything for someone on my list, I can guarantee there will be something in TK Maxx to tickle their fancy.
Last year I was struggling for a present for my Nan and picked up a gorgeous Armani scarf for less than £20. I have no idea how I did this, but I promise you it was real. This year, I will be using TK Maxx to pick up some last minute gifts and to browse for those I am yet to buy for. With the vast range of items on offer, it would be impossible not to find an amazing bargain or three.
Of course, the ultimate money saver at Christmas is using your talents and giving homemade gifts. I will argue that this is a brilliant idea even if you are not working to a tight budget, as the receiver will be in awe of the time you have spent preparing the gift and ensuring it is something they love. If I find the time to turn to homemade this year, I will be looking at homemade candles, lip balms and perishables like chutneys and jams, but you could make anything your heat desires. If you have the ability to sew of knit, the possibilities are endless. I have seen jars of homemade hot chocolate mix around which would be so easy to make with cocoa, sugar and mini marshmallows, so even if your cooking and crafting skills are limited, there is definitely something homemade you can gift to a loved one this holiday season.
What are your best tips and tricks for not overspending or sticking to a budget at Christmas? Help a girl out!