Although I like being thrifty, I love choosing and giving gifts. There’s just something so wonderful about giving a gift that you know the receiver will absolutely love.
Unfortunately, gifts and cards add up. As I don’t want to cut corners on the gifts themselves — particularly for the kids in the family — I try to make savings on other areas.
Buy a multi-purpose occasion wrapping paper
Wrapping paper is one of those gift-giving essentials which can massively inflate the total cost; especially if you end up panic-buying those individually wrapped sheets as opposed to a roll. Instead of buying multiple papers for multiple occasions, buy a couple of rolls which can be used for a variety of occasions. Stuck for inspiration? I’ve included some links below to some end-use neutral wrapping paper which should see you through a year’s worth of celebrations.
Buy in the post-Christmas sales
Immediately after Christmas, shops slash the price of their Christmas gift wrap, cards and gift tags. Last year I picked up £12 worth of tags and wrap for £2 when I popped to the shops on Boxing Day to pick up some cream for dessert (why is it always the cream I forget?!) Because of this, I won’t be buying any wrapping paper this year — and I think I probably have enough gift tags to last a lifetime.
Set a mutually low budget
Whether its Secret Santa or a Bargain Hunt type challenge, agreeing a budget between family and friends can keep costs down. A £10 present budget for adults works well; especially if combined with Secret Santa. You’ll probably discover that everyone else will be relieved to be able to save some money too.
Bulk-buy greetings cards
Again, picking up gift cards on an ad hoc basis can be expensive. At the start of every year, I bulk buy enough cards to cover all the various birthdays and upcoming events — including a couple to cover any special occasions such as new babies / new houses / weddings.
I use Whistlefish and their 10 for £8 offer — just 80p per card. This method means I only spend £24 on cards for birthdays and occasions and I reckon this method saves me around £45 a year.
Plan — and budget — ahead
Write a detailed list of all your gift-buying requirements for the year, detailing occasion, recipients and budget for each gift. Not only will this help you plan out your monthly gift fund, it also means you can plan gift ideas in advance — and pick up any bargains throughout the year. This tactic can save you a lot of cash vs. panic buying everything at full price in the months before Christmas, when retailers will be taking advantage of consumer trends.
If you’re feeling particularly geeky, you can even track the savings you’ve made against the RRP of your purchases — it’ll help keep you motivated to bargain hunt and give you that warm fuzzy feeling when you work out just how much you’ve saved.