I hardly dare mention it, but as most major retailers couldn’t wait to get the tinsel out again for another year, I guess we’ve all got to face facts; you-know-who is coming out to play. Perhaps global warming is behind Santa’s annoying tendency to leave the North Pole earlier each year, or perhaps it’s the desperation of the High Street stores to part us from our cash that means there is a distinctly a frosty, tinsely atmosphere in the shops. Santa may well be getting a sinking feeling on those ice-floes, but he’s not the only one; many families having struggled through several recessionary Christmases and may rightly feel despondent as they face yet another one. Here’s some money saving tips to get you through.
Not so long ago Nigella Lawson (a.k.a. Saatchi) advised her children that they would only be able to retain one present each, while the rest would go to the local children’s hospital. Given their mother and step-father’s interests, the kids were probably savvy enough to keep the Hurst and Emin sketches and send Barbie and Ken off to A&E. However, for those of us unable to afford admirable principles, the simple fact is that managing expectations is a reality. The best policy, as ever, is honesty. Hopefully it’s not going to be one present per mini-me, but explain there may well be an upper budget limit on the main present for each of your little helpers.
As many of us are in the same boat, it is no longer insulting to your friends and relatives to wrap up a delicious selection of homemade jams, pickles and preserves. Creating a Christmas hamper, make-do-and-mend style is actually increasingly common and does offer a real personal touch. It saves a ton of cash too; compared to the Fortnum and Mason variety. In fact, a homemade hamper, stocked with a selection of tasty treats (some of them can be bought when you find a good offer) to cater to individual tastes, can actually be a lot more personal. You’ll probably receive one back and may well find you are now in competition to create the best Christmas hampers!
High Street Stand Off
Obviously the sales that previously started after Christmas have shifted a little in recent times. Now they start in June and end the following May. There is always a discount to be had as retailers and consumers begin their annual stand off to see who can hold out longest, without either rushing into the shops in a panic or dropping their prices by 50 percent. Keep your cool the Christmas Sales will start earlier than ever this year, as Internet retail continues to hammer nails into the High Street’s coffin. Obviously, don’t forget the Internet and keep a very close eye out for promotional codes and discount vouchers. Like the sales, these are everywhere, especially at this time of year and can be useful for finding main presents, stocking fillers and that new outfit for the Christmas do.
Christmas Dinner; Treat or Torture?
Who doesn’t love Turkey with all the trimmings followed by Christmas Pudding? Hundreds of thousands, probably millions of people, quite possibly; if you do actually like the real deal, then remember that turkeys of the frozen variety, are relatively cheap at the moment but they’ll go through the roof in the final throes of December. Buy now, if you can’t resist your traditional Christmas roast. If you can, and would happily resist it, consider an alternative and go for something completely different, saving cash in the process.
Most meats that aren’t turkey are not priced with the seasonal tax in mind and non-meat mains will be much cheaper. If nobody can stand the annual carbohydrate drenched Christmas pudding, choose a cheaper alternative! Whatever you choose to supply this season, ensure that you shop early, make the most of discounts, two for one offers and multi-buy discounts, especially on frozen, or non-perishable produce that can be purchased well in advance.
While promotional codes can help to put some of the merry back into Christmas, there are also a number of other methods to keep the costs down without sacrificing anything other than a turkey or two.