How to have a good Christmas on a budget.

… It’s possible.

X Factor has returned to our screens and if you’re anything like us you’ll associate this show with Christmas, how can you not? When I was a youngster as soon as the auditions came on I would always get super hyper. Fun for me, you can imagine that my parent’s weren’t best pleased half way through September! Now however, as an adult I get excited because it means that it is officially acceptable to talk about it and of course start the all important gift shopping – My absolute favourite!

This year we have become more money aware, instead of throwing all our money at impulse purchases we have decided to budget. It’s surprising how much we actually spend on rubbish. My weakness is confectionery, now my daughter is at school I find it so, so hard to not pop into the shop on the way home and grab some goodies. Anyway, back to the subject Tamara

After spending the best part of a year budgeting I am almost certain that you can still have the “perfect” Christmas without the extravagant price tag. In fact I am that certain I have compelled a list of ways that we can achieve that. There is not one thing in this list that I haven’t tried and tested! Why not check them out?

Apps.

A pretty broad word that isn’t it? By apps I don’t mean the likes of Candy Crush or Fortnite… I mean sure you can forget all about Christmas and just keep levelling up, that’s totally fine if that’s how you want to go about things but the apps that I am on about are the likes of ShopmiumShoppix and Voucher Cloud. All Apps that offer you money off products or certain shops.

I always check these apps before I head out to do my grocery shop or a spot of shopping in town. There’s always at least one of the apps offering money off a product that I was going to purchase anyway which is always a bonus! I have found myself checking Voucher Cloud a hell of a lot lately and making sure that I buy gifts from the shops that are offering either money off or cashback. Talking about cashback, Top Cashback is a great app for getting money back from the shops you shop at whether that be online or in store.

The key to making these apps work is to only purchase what you would have purchased anyway, it is so easy to go “Ooh this is a good deal, I am sure I will use this at some point” and before you know it you’ve got 6 pairs of slippers and a tea towel with Noel Edmonds’ face on.

Other apps that are great (and I use) are:

  • ClickSnap – By the makers of Quidco, ClickSnap is an app filled with cashback offers for certain products that you can purchase in your supermarket.
  • AppKarma – AppKarma is great for getting vouchers such as Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and Steam. You can also cash out your points through PayPal. Everyone loves extra money don’t they?
  • Receipt Hog – Upload your receipt to get points that can be redeemed in Amazon vouchers, MasterCard pre-paid cards or PayPal money. Each receipt that you upload gives you one entry into the moths sweepstake.
  • YouGov – Answer quick surveys for points which can be cashed-out at 5,000 for £50.
  • Curious Cat – Answer quick surveys in return for points that can be cashed out on PayPal.
  • Hot UK deals – Filled with the latest deals all across the UK.
  • Latest Free Stuff – This app is full of freebies that you can claim, I like to check this app over the year, sometimes there are things that are perfect for stocking fillers!

Facebook groups/pages.

Yep, there are loads of groups on Facebook where people share all the bargains that they find/purchase. Just recently someone gave a heads up to a coffee machine going for £20 in Asda! What a steal. I love checking these groups and going out and grabbing certain things throughout the year that I can then gift at Christmas and Birthdays, again, only if I feel it is something that the recipient would actually want. It’s no good running out and grabbing an Xbox for your Nan just because it’s going cheap.

Simply search things like ” coupons” or “bargains” loads of groups will come to your rescue.

Avoid Black Friday.

Yes, I hear you. This is a bit of an unusual remark but I mean it. Avoid at all costs. Not only are the crowds blanketing, they are also fierce and for what? a TV with £200 off? Chances are, if you’re using any of the apps above or in one of those groups on Facebook, you will find way better deals through-out the year and guess what? Not a single queue in sight. All Black Friday really is is a hyped up marketing strategy.The only people who really win during that are the big guys.

There are far better event’s being held throughout the year. Ones I like are:

  • Argos big red event – usually held around April/May and August where many items within their catalogue are around half price!
  • Claires – Claires hold many, many events during the year, recently they held a “5 for £5″ event which is perfect for those stocking fillers!

Aldi is your best friend.

When it comes to food over the festive season try discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl. Lately, more and more people are choosing to shop at these shops including me! I will admit I never used to set foot in these stores because I prefered buying big brands however, I bit the bullet and gave it a go one weekend and I haven’t looked back. Their food is often the same quality as larger supermarkets and it isn’t unusual for us to find certain things that actually takes far better than branded.

Shopping in these stores for festive foods will without a doubt be far cheaper than shopping in larger stores which will mean you save money for the better things.

Use those forgotten loyalty points.

It really is a no brainer, but try to use those loyalty cards to your advantage. Instead of using them through out the year on random things why not save them up and use them at the end of the year when purchasing gifts? It mean’s you’ll be saving money yet still getting what you wanted.

Tesco clubcard and Superdrug and the perfect example. You can grab some socks for stockings in Tesco and some lovely fragrances from Superdrug all with the points that you accumulated over the year.

DON’T OVER DO IT.

Easier said than done, I know. If anyone is guilty of overdoing the gifting at Christmas it’s me.I just cannot help myself. I find something that I think Shaniah will love and once the hype of unwrapping is over the present is never played with. I got in the habit of impulse buying because I feel guilty when she doesn’t have her present pile stacked high. Truth is, children would rather have less but what they actually want then loads of things that they don’t.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you have got what they’ve asked for then you’ve got enough.


Ultimately, there are going to be times during the festive period that spending a large amount is unavoidable and sometimes you’ll need money fast. Short-term loans can often get you out of a tight situation but remember, only do this if you know you are able to pay them back with ease nobody enjoys owing.

Loan companies such as CashLady who are a well-established and reputable loan leader and care about their customers are the loan companies to go to if you truly really need to.

Diclaimer: This is a collaboration with Cash Lady. All opinions are my own.

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