How to save money on Christmas presents

BY Helen Dewdney

5th Dec 2022 Christmas

How to save money on Christmas presents

Christmas presents don't have to break the bank. From crafts to cashback hacks and Secret Santa, these are the ways to save money on Christmas gifts

The consumer champion Which? revealed that one in four people received an unwanted Christmas present last year. With this in mind, and living through a cost of living crisis, why not talk with friends and family about reducing the number of presents and the amount you spend?

This may be a difficult conversation but most people would probably welcome the opportunity.

Start to reduce present giving

Suggest buying only for children or run a Secret Santa. It doesn’t have to be just for work colleagues, it’s also good for friends and family. 

Secret Santa Generator does all the hard work for you. It is free and you just need to enter people’s names and the budget into the site (you can even put a wish list) and let it select who gives to whom.

Give a favour

Hands in pink gardening gloves planting bud as Christmas presentOffer to help with the gardening or cleaning for a cost-free Christmas present

Christmas is about being with people, not about the amount of money you spend, so why not gift your time and skills as Christmas presents?

"Pledge to clear out an attic or give a hand to someone moving home"

If you have green fingers or are handy with a hammer, offer to help with a home improvement project. Pledge to clear out an attic, give a hand to someone moving home or support someone starting up their new business. Make some vouchers.

These work well for children to give too: “I will clean the house”, “I will do the ironing”, etc.

Buy second hand

For second hand Christmas presents, buy clothes hanging on rail at charity shopCharity shops are full of trinkets that you can gift as a second hand Christmas present

Check out Facebook and Gumtree for bargains and items listed as “collection only” on eBay. With more people selling belongings to make money, there is plenty of choice.

Bryony Lewis’ daughter was desperate for the Leapfrog (RRP £55) ice cream cart. She picked up one in perfect condition for £17 from Facebook.

Charity finds are also sought after. Gill Bearskine’s son had "a digger from Oxfam" written on his Christmas list last year. He saw it there months before and hadn't forgotten. Normally around £45 new, she bought it for £1.99.

Buy things from charity shops and add your own personal touches. For example, take a Kilner jar and a glittery glue stick, decorate it and write the person’s name on it. Hand sew a motif onto a scarf. Jo Blood buys her sister piles of books second-hand and then finds a special pin or bookmark to go with them.

Buy cheaply

Use your Pound Shop to put lots of things together to make a fun Christmas stocking. For example, lots of different chocolate bars in a recycled hamper box/tin.

But watch out for loss leaders, those under-priced items that entice you to spend more.

Give digitally

If you normally buy for children whom you don’t see very often, film yourself reading a story. Personalise it by using the child’s name throughout. Upload to a platform like YouTube and set it to "private". Send the child that link.

You could, of course, also write your own story, which would be even better.

Sign up for cashback and free offers

Woman wearing Santa hat smiles as she buys Christmas present with cashback card on phoneSigning up for cashback schemes and online competitions can help you dock the cost of present giving

Get free stuff. Use sites such as FreeStuffUK and Latest Deals for no-cost and low-cost items. Enter competitions, sign up to test products or do surveys to get free goodies from a wide range of retailers.

Use cashback sites and apps. JamDoughnut offers prepayment gift cards to use online, in-store or on the phone to earn reward points.

"Enter competitions, sign up to test products or do surveys to get free goodies"

Take out cash after you have received £10 worth in points. TopCashbackQuidco are the main ones and for your child’s nominated child’s bank account, consider Kidstart

Sign up for free and use whichever one gives the biggest cashback.

Download Honey, which searches for active discount codes on websites you visit.

Check end of line items on eBay's Shops Hub and, if you’re in no rush, leave items in your shopping basket. Sometimes you’ll get an email giving you a discount code.

Get crafty

Print photos of friends and family that you have taken throughout the year and turn them into homemade scrapbooks, photo books, or calendars.

If you are good at sewing, baking or dried flower arranging, put your skills to good use and make your presents.

"Create your own bath bombs, lip balms and bath salts"

Create your own bath bombs, lip balms and bath salts easily by following one of the many recipes on the internet. Involve children in making their own presents too—the list of potential gifts is endless.

Pinterest and Instagram are great for getting ideas for homemade presents and money saving, too.

Give an IOU

If you want to treat someone but can’t afford what you know they would really like, make an “IOU” card with a message promising it from the January sales.

This will help to spread the cost and works well with friends as a fun game of who can save the most.

Be careful with your spending, put time and thought into present giving and have a Happy Christmas.

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