When you're strapped for cash, the festive season can bring with it all manner of money worries and financial woes, and for many Brits across the country, the new year is started with a large helping of debt.
Don't fall into the trap of overspending this Christmas. Instead try some of these top tips for saving money on pressies to help keep the cost down.
Make your own
Homemade gifts add a little heart to your festive giving and they won't cost the earth. Put your own particular skills to good use, whether that be baking up some fabulous foodie treats, impressing loved ones with your arty side or letting the little ones unleash their creative side, or melting down old candles to pour into a pretty tea cup of Kilner jar for a festive glow. Make it personal and from the heart and you can't go far wrong.
Babies aren't into brands
Even if their parents are, very small children have no interest in how much their gifts cost. In fact, many a parent or grandparent has remarked on how their kids are more interested in the box or the wrapping paper than what's inside. So don't waste your hard-earned cash on a toy that'll quickly be put away to gather dust. Give them some instant joy with bubbles or giant balloons, or even a wrapped box filled with balloons. You don't need to spend a fortune to see their little faces light up.
Save it for the sales
One of the most frustrating things about Christmas is seeing all those expensive gifts on sale at half price come January, so why not wait? If there are big ticket items on your loved one's wish list, take a little time to wrap up a posh-looking IOU. They'll be only too happy to wait knowing that the HD TV or games console is, in many cases, just a day away, and you can always explain that with the money you saved, you can afford to add in a few extras to sweeten the deal.
Family is one thing, but buying gifts for friends and work colleagues means the cost can quickly mount up. If your pals aren't keen on a no-gift policy this year, suggest a Secret Santa arrangement with a hard and fast price limit on spending. Seeking out items for under £5 or £10 might take time, but you'll save money and probably have a giggle into the bargain.
If you have something very expensive and very definite in mind for your spouse, partner or other family member, do your research online to find the best price. But before you buy, check to see whether the vendor appears on the big cash back sites like Quidco or Topcashback. These sites are largely free to join and will put cashback in your account provided you click through to the seller via their site. It might not always be the cheapest option, but if your chosen vendor is partnered with a cashback site, why not take advantage?
Do you struggle to pay for Christmas? How do you save money on presents? Leave your comments below...