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Family with presents

Family festive tips from mums

Who knows better than mums? Let’s face it, they’re usually the ones controlling the Christmas purse strings. What inventive ways have Mumsnet and their community members come up with for a budget Christmas?

Christmas can be a busy and expensive time, but there are festive shortcuts you can make to make sure you keep it a merry one for you, your family – and your wallet.

One of the best ways of keeping track of your Christmas spending, is to create a Christmas budget. Our Christmas Money Planner has been used thousands of times this year already, and has helpful averages for all of your Christmas costs to help you pinpoint likely expenses of everything from presents to your tree.

There are different things you can do as well that you might not have thought of.

Here are some tips Mumsnet and their community had to share.

Make Christmas merry with these tips from Mumsnet

1. Plan ahead as much as you can

Sort out everything you need to do before the big day, and break it down into manageable chunks that can fit in with your other commitments. If you're a fan of making lists or spreadsheets, this is your moment - just don't forget to stick to them. Below is a great tip from our Mumsnet community

"Do a list of everyone you need to buy presents for and set price limits. Then get things from the internet using offer sites and discount codes. That way, it looks like you have spent far more."

2. Think of surprising places to shop

Don’t just stick to the high street. There are lots of places you can find presents for your children, from charity shops, to the more surprising, such as Facebook local selling pages. Be creative and you may just find yourself a bargain!

Why not follow these tips from the Mumsnet community?

“If you don't mind second hand trawl the charity shops and boot fairs for book and games. Also ask on Freecycle for board games and puzzles. Sometimes, you can be really lucky and get someone clearing out.  Board games are great because they are big.”

“Local Facebook selling sites are also great. You have to check them often because the good things will go in 10 minutes.”


3. It’s the thought that counts

If you're watching your budget, set price limits, shop around, and don't be afraid to suggest a Secret Santa to friends and family - they might find it a blessed relief. Don't underestimate the value of a homemade gift - if you're a keen cook or know how to knit, put your skills to good use and save a bit of cash whilst you're at it.

These two ideas from Mumsnet community could save you -

"For gifts, forget about what others are doing. Think of the receiver and what they like and need, and then try to find something with THEM in mind. So even if it's small, it's personal."

"Buy decent 'family' presents instead of separate ones. Getting joint family gifts is great, and you can have a bit of togetherness using them, too."


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  • Julia Dance / 1 December 2015

    When we were very short of money, we gave each other cheque books for cups of tea on demand, cooking dinner, washing up, not washing up, breakfast in bed. All to suit what people could do. It was a great success.

  • Amy / 29 November 2015

    Great tips. I changed my gift tactics a while ago when I was a skint student, and found that my family and friends appreciated the gifts more because they were so personal.
    I now make a list of people and think of ideas for them, for my mum and dad I get them concert tickets an split them with my brother. For my brother I might get him tickets to a comet gig with a meal deal to take his girlfriend.
    I find its best to do this before going shopping or else you see a deal and make it fit the person, and it's never quite right. eBay is a great place for niche gifts such as vintage accessories, or classic and nostalgic items.
    I also think experience gifts are great for people who have enough "stuff", and is something they may not usually pay for themselves. I have even gotten vouchers for local restaurants who wouldn't usually do them simply by asking.
    I've been told several times that I am "really good at gift finding", and in the process I have spent less than I used to, the gifts are more meaningful and I actually enjoy finding them too! My mum has been inspired and now knits me something lovely every year for Christmas.