Oh no, it’s another one of Lilly’s budgeting blog posts…but this time with a Christmas theme! But seriously, when I decided to stick to a proper budget this year (as opposed to going a bit mental and dealing with the consequences *ahem*… overdraft), I wasn’t quite expecting to learn so much about buying presents…
Where’s your bargain hat?
You need a good eye for bargains if you’re buying presents with a tight budget in mind. My best advice is to shop around and if you see something you like, give it a quick google to see if it can be bought cheaper elsewhere. Also, if you’re online shopping, try to buy all from the same store if you can to save on delivery costs.
Thrifting is the new Gifting
Buying a brand new jumper off the racks in Topshop will set you back a good £40 minimum, but there are actually some great finds in vintage/second-hand charity shops. Don’t be afraid to hunt there, second-hand isn’t synonymous with “rubbish”. You often find stuff that’s never even been worn for a tiny fraction of the original retail price.
Or Re-gifting is the new Gifting?
If you’ve ever had a drawer or a box full of small bits and bobs that you’ve picked up, or that have been given to you, which you know you’ll never find a use for… then why not re-gift it? There’s a bit of a taboo about this but if you genuinely think the person you’re giving to will like it, then I personally don’t see the harm.
You’ll be sad a few times
Not being able to splash all the cash (that you don’t have) is one of the hardest parts about doing Christmas on a budget. I want to spend a tonne on my family and friends at Christmas because I love them and I generally just love giving gifts, so this is one of the hardest things for me. But you know, sticking to the budget has me feeling pretty good, so the sadness is made up for.
Budgeting will become a personal challenge
It sounds a bit nuts, but once you’ve set a budget it’s kind of fun to try not to break it. I had £10 left over once I finished my Christmas shopping, so now I know that if I see something I have to get for someone, I’ve got a little bit of extra cash in the kitty.
You’re going to need a spreadsheet, guys
The biggest key to budgeting is planning, so a spreadsheet is really the best place to start. By making a list of the people you’re buying for, what you’re getting for them and how much you’d like to spend on them, it’s easy to work out what’s actually feasible for you.
Or even just a note in your phone…
As well as that, I took my phone out with me while I was shopping and after checking out in each shop, I added a quick total of how much I’d spent thus far and how much of my overall budget was left. It’s a bit more accessible and speedy than opening up a spreadsheet on my phone and trying to understand what it says while battling with the crowds of Christmas shoppers.
Deals, deals, deals
Plan ahead of your shopping trips/online purchases to save the most money. I used Perkbox to get a £10 gift card for less and I also utilised a free £5 voucher from Perkbox on another website.
It’s the thought that counts…
I’d argue that my presents this year are a little more thoughtful, because I really spent way more time mulling over what to get. Not only that, but I was really fussy with what I did buy, which meant I only got stuff that I felt confident they would like. I personally feel like I’ve done a good job this year!