I'm a big fan of finding ways to have a great Christmas without spending lots of money, so here are some top tips for a thrifty festive season.
Letter from Santa
If your little ones still believe in the big guy, then it's definitely worth getting them a free letter from Santa (aka the Royal Mail). This one is a big hit with my nephew, who loves asking Santa about the weather in the North Pole and what the reindeer eat.
Send your child's Christmas letters to: Santa/Father Christmas, Santa's Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ.
All it costs is a stamp - Santa's elves will do the rest! Make sure that you include your child's full name and address in the letter so Santa can write back to your little believer.
Send your letters by Friday 8 December to receive your reply.
Why not follow the old tradition of Secret Santa? This is usually for work colleagues or friends, but it can be done with relatives too, if you have a large family like I do. Lots of nieces and nephews can start to set you back financially if you buy for everyone.
Instead, set a budget and draw names from a hat. This is a much cheaper alternative than buying individual presents and also saves you from hours of tedious wrapping!
Fish for an invite
Worried about the cost of Christmas dinner? The cheapest option is getting a cheeky invite to someone's house! (Thanks Mum, your parsnips are the best.)
If that isn't an option, you can get a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings (minus Brussel sprouts, bleurgh!) for less than £13. All you have to do is shop around a little. This is what I found when looking around for the best deals:
- Iceland Turkey with bacon (500g) - £3
- Asda Smart Price Sage and onion stuffing- 19p
- Asda Smart Price Gravy granules- 20p
- Asda Pigs in blankets 300g - £1.75
- Morrisons Wonky Veg selection box (8 x potatoes, 8 x carrots, cauliflower, 4 x onions, cabbage, 4 x parsnips, swede) - £3
- Asda Yorkshire Puddings x 15 - 50p
- Asda Profiteroles x 16 - £1
- Iceland Chocolate Gateaux - £2
- Poundland 6 Christmas Crackers - £1
Remember, these prices could change but the general idea is that if you don't limit yourself to just one store, you can have a great Christmas dinner without having to spend a fortune.
MSE Festive Fivers
I can't recommend www.moneysavingexpert.com enough - it's helped me switch energy accounts, taught me how to budget when I left home and showed me how to boost my income when I was unemployed.
And over Christmas, the site is fantastic for cheap gift ideas. Go to the website address above - using the search bar in the top right corner, type in "festive fivers".
There are some great ideas here for presents, like the antique tea cup candle and the memory jar, and all cost less than £5.
Share your ideas
If you have any more ideas for a cheap and cheerful Christmas, why not share them with other customers at my.derwentliving.com.
Happy holidays, everyone!
Don't fall prey to credit
It's far better to budget in advance for Christmas than to borrow. Christmas really is about spending time with your family; so enjoy a little turkey, curl up under a blanket and watch some Christmas movies.
Sadly, Christmas isn't jolly for all and some of the things on this list will still be out of reach for many. If you have debt worries, you can get help by contacting any of the organisations below:
- Citizen's Advice - 03444 111 444
- Money Advice Service - 0800 138 7777
- StepChange - 0800 138 1111
- National Debtline - 0808 808 4000
Never be afraid to ask for help: it'll feel like having a weight lifted off your shoulders.