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NOW CLOSED: Talk to Experian CreditExpert about budgeting this Christmas - you could win a £200 voucher for a major retailer of your choice

(205 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Oct-12 08:22:35

We've been asked by Experian CreditExpert to find out what budgeting plans you have in place for Christmas this year (2 months to go, folks! grin).

They'd like to know what plans you have to get finances in order - or is it something you manage well, try to avoid thinking about or leave 'til the new year to sort?
Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts? Do you buy fewer gifts?
How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year? Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?

Any other thoughts on the cost of Christmas all welcome.

Add your views and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one winner will get a £200 voucher for a major retailer of your choice - in time for Christmas!

You can find more info on CreditExpert here: https://www.facebook.com/ExperianUK

thanks and good luck
MNHQ

YouSmegHead Wed 24-Oct-12 08:30:59

My Christmases have defo changed in the last 4 years, went from having a very good job to being made redundant & dh has had a 20% pay cut. Last year was planned very carefully. I made and bought things from eBay. I looked into everything bought checking out the cheapest option. For example for my sil I really want to get a photo session with a free photo. I managed to find one online for a high st shop for less than £15 with cash back and free delvery. It included a free picture and online pictures. From ebay I got a brand new jigsaw for a £1 from down the road. My ebay tip is to carefully look at distance if picking up and that with postage its not always cheaper than the shops and finally alway remember to use the cash back sites.

Frontpaw Wed 24-Oct-12 08:32:19

I dint usually set a budget - more of a target amount per person/gift.

Sometimes you know which shops do good discounts or 3 for 2 offers and can wait for them otherwise buy when I see something I think is the 'right gift, for the right price'.

I do a mix of online and in-store shopping. Online is fine if you know exactly what the product is. Nothing worse than buying something and being disappointed when it arrives - or it not arriving/arriving late.

Its best to save over time (lessens the hit) buy the "bits and pieces' presents (sweets, wine etc) as you go along in your weekly shop when you see things on offer. Don't leave it to the last minute or the bargains may well be gone, the products you wanted are gone, and you end up spending more to get a decent present, or but a panic purchase (that is rubbish!).

We'll probably spend about £5-600 this year. Have saved and budgeted so that we won't feel it and I always pay off credit cards in full, so won't be paying interest.

I normally try to start shopping for Christmas by at least Sept. Getting the littler things as we go and bigger things closer to the time (avoids changed minds).

Ive never really budgeted, just bought want I could, even I could.

This year we have one or two gift but no idea how we will manage the rest of it. I'm hoping dp finds a job asap. Sinc he lost his job there is nothing spare at the end of the month. I have a well paid job but it just about pays the bills.

Next year I will be doing one of those saving schemes. Even if it's only £20 a month.

I'm also having a think about gifts I can make rather than buy.

Xroads Wed 24-Oct-12 08:38:27

I try to save for it, we have £70 a month going into an isa but tbh i always draw it out when we get skint at the end of the month.

This year I'm planning to make things to sell at craft fairs to fund xmas, I've started buying bits and bobs too, I went to a toy sale and got quite a lot of kids stuff for £90 which was great!

Me and dh have decided no gifts for each other this year as we recently brought an ipad plus last year we suprised dd's with a holiday to florida so we need a cheap christmas this year!

EauRouge Wed 24-Oct-12 08:47:04

I don't set a budget but I do have a rough limit. I don't think I've ever spent more than £100 altogether on presents. Christmas is much more about spending time with family for us than spending money. I have a large family and it's a family tradition to make presents so that helps to keep the cost down. I also buy second hand gifts for the DDs, that way I can get them something nice for less money.

I've been ebaying loads of old baby stuff this year to help pay for Christmas.

I keep meaning to do what my DM does; she buys things throughout the year and then in December gets them all out of the cupboard and decides who would like what.

I don't budget but I do limit the amount spent on presents. I also try and spread out the present buying, starting in August. I wait for the 3 for 2 and other special offers in the supermarkets, usually mid-December, for last minute presents.

Puppypoppet Wed 24-Oct-12 09:14:27

In the past have not really had a budget just bought what we needed for christmas. However as we had major renovation to house this year leaving us with some debt, which we want to clear as quickly as possible, this year I'm being a lot more careful. I've started to buy bits and bobs when they are offer.
Try to buy everything when discounted by shopping around which does help - find the bargains tend to disappear nearer xmas. For the last few years we have decided to just buy gifts just for the children.
I don't set budgets for gifts / foods etc but do shop around.
I do virtually all gift shopping online - can usually get discount codes and cashback. I do still buy food instore though.

Don't know how much we will spend this Christmas as yet mainly because Christmas list hasn't been written as yet by DD. This year I have also been selling bits and bobs on ebay to use towards gifts.

DoodleAlley Wed 24-Oct-12 09:28:41

I do make gifts but it is rare for this to work out cheaper when you knit or sew.

Have managed to do food gifts cheaper but you have I be prepared to reuse things like jam jars.

I have planned ahead for my family but DH's family make last minute decisions and have all their birthdays in the next two months too which combine to make it impossible for us to buy in advance. We couldn't choose presents ourselves they want to choose.

In theory we should recognise and save up now (and earlier) for this but te money seems to disappear each month too easily.

I have already bought DS stocking contents. I save money by buy a bit now and then when something seems reasonable and deliberately keep things limited in number and value and include practical things I would be buying anyway but that he would still enjoy e.g he wants a spiderman toothbrush. Would normally get a normal one as its cheaper but it's only a small mark up to get him one as a present.

We keep our main present to DS fairly limited. He has just had his birthday and the excitement of christmas means size of presents just don't seem to matter to him still thankfully. We spend more at his birthday as a method of spreading out our spending.

Frontpaw Wed 24-Oct-12 10:13:13

Stockings work out quite dear though! Pound here, pound there and before you know it, you've spent over £20 on very little! (In my day it was a tangerine, some small toys --and £notes in a small diary--).

In terms of Christmas, Birthday etc we try to put money away on a monthly basis to dip into as and when e.g. when we have 3 birthdays in the same month. It's been difficult this year though with continuous large bills - for car repairs, a huge water bill we can't have a meter fitted to reduce this, increased car insurance premiums etc. We have a couplr of hundre pounds going into savings when we get paid tomorrow and that will be the present fund for everyone, the £200 next month will be food etc for Christmas / the new year.

I buy presents throughout the year if I see something that would really suit X person, and also 2nd hand gifts if they're particularly suitable for the individual. this helps to reduce costs.

We set general budgets for presents but not £x per person - we wouldn't buy £100 necklaces but if MIL's DVD player broke on 18th December, we'd get her a new one at Christmas even if she therefore got more than my mum, for example. Food and drink, we just do a normal shop plus the main meal. We try not to buy snacks / chocolates because a) they just get eaten before Christmas so you have to buy more and b) we have a 3 year old so can't just leave bowls around to snack on or he'd never eat proper meals over Christmas. We're not big drinkers but may have a bottle of Baileys / Sherry etc. Has this changed since the recession started? Only that we no longer have the larger buffer of money saved up throughout the year so we have to be more careful what we buy. We know we want pate, but would now go to the deli, or buy a cheaper range, even though it's Christmas, rather than just chucking stuff in that you fancy regardless of cost, because it's christmas.

I much prefer online shopping and will do very little physical shopping for gifts. The range online is so much better. I've had my credit card cloned a couple of times but i'm happy to buy online from companies I know are safe.

I have started making Christmas gifts where appropriate - Christmas cakes for family, fudge, pickled cabbage for someone who really likes it etc, which I'd never previously have done. We haven't reduced gifts e.g. only bought for a parent as dad, rather than dad and gerandfather, because I feel that parents should have "grandparent" gifts, they've waited a long time for this gradnchild! They tend to get photos / hand decorated baubles etc rather than shop-bought gifts.

My big pinch point over christmas is getting paid earlier in December - we're usually paid on 25th so it'll be about the 20th this year. It's great in the run up to Christmas but you have to stretch your money over 6 or 7 weeks until you get paid at the end of January, so we'll look at trying to put some money aside when we get paid next month, that we can dip into in January so we're not struggling to get to the end of the month.

Frontpaw Wed 24-Oct-12 10:14:42

Bakugun, metal detector, mechanical dinosaur and bucket 'n spade.

That's DSs list... Any out there (not sure what the Royal Parks are going to think about the metal detector though...)

Frontpaw Wed 24-Oct-12 10:16:54

Yes - its nice to get the children to make things too. Baker Ross do good calendars that the children can draw on or print out their favourite photos and stick on.

BoerWarKids Wed 24-Oct-12 11:03:26

They'd like to know what plans you have to get finances in order - or is it something you manage well, try to avoid thinking about or leave 'til the new year to sort? I manage as I plan in advance.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? Yes, particularly January and summer. It helps as I'm on a low-income.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started? Yes, as above, I'm on a low income. The recession has had an impact.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? I do both, no preference. Yes.

What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts? Do you buy fewer gifts?
In my family we only buy gifts for children, 18 and under. This saves a lot! Making gifts is a great idea, I'm not very crafty though sad

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year? Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year? It will be around £100. I don't save, just buy year round.

dinkystinky Wed 24-Oct-12 11:08:40

I try to start budgeting for Christmas in October - I like to work in a family show and also a pre-xmas treat for my DH sister and her husband into this budget. I start xmas shopping in October, when the half price toy sales and discounts on toiletries are out - they get scarcer nearer to Christmas. To keep costs down, I also do some homemade presents for teachers and family with the kids. I buy most things online - between work and family life I dont get much time to spend traipsing around the shops and love the variety of items I can find online. I dont budget for food and drink as we often spend christmas at grandparents houses - I will however take a homemade hamper of food with us for them for the festive period. I tend to buy for immediate family, close family friends, DH's family, our nanny and DS1's teacher, my secretary and junior workmates. Personal presents, that show you know what they like or would like, are the most appreciated - not too much money needs to be spent. We'll probably spend around £400 on Christmas this year. DH doesnt budget and generally pays for xmas on Credit Cards and then has a lean (in every sense) January to pay for it - I did that once and didnt enjoy it at all so now budget in advance.

unquietmind Wed 24-Oct-12 12:35:28

What plans you have to get finances in order - or is it something you manage well, try to avoid thinking about or leave 'til the new year to sort?

I do like to avoid thinking about it, Id rather not do it and before I had kids I did the basics but didnt celebrate. Now we plan months in advance, set the kids a budget and save.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?

Yes if there are specific gifts that are wanted. Bit harder if they dont know until the last minute

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not?

We have to budget - its just not practical to blow all our money on Christmas and starve or freeze in January - plus any big blow out makes you think everyone will expect it next year, or they will feel obliged to up their game or present values because you put a lot in - spending loads has a wider effect.

Has this changed since the recession started?

It has in the sense that we have to do it more - but the premise was there anyway

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?

I use reputable sites and look for security logos or use paypal. We were stung one year by an ebay seller with really good feedback and who did not sell the goods - we had to wait for January for the money to be returned, and had to use savings to buy presents to be replaced with the refund. I buy in shops to support small independent businesses or if the prices are lower instore - but I prefer the cheaper options online and the convenience of it all arriving and not having to go into the christmas crowds

What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts? Do you buy fewer gifts?

Charity shops - sometimes have brand new books, DVDs, bottles of perfume, etc. Dont rule them out because you think a family member wont like it because its from a charity shop - if they dont like that part, dont tell them!

Ebay and Amazon - compare prices

Send a letter or call your friends asking for a list of necessary gifts, things they need no matter how unexciting - makes Christmas useful and practical, limits spending and stops friends feeling obliged to buy expensive things that you may not want. This may also encourage friends and relatives to do the same so you can get useful and necessary stuff too - how many boxes of chocolates do you take to work because there are too many at home, for example? How many gifts do you recycle to others? etc.

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year? Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?

Not bought anything yet as the kids have not decided

Kids - £150 each = £600
Step daughter - attempt to give £100 but may struggle
Parents - £50
Grandad - £30 (whisky)
Brother - £50
Friends (collective) No more than £100
Food = £100
Total = £1030 min

My partner and I have decided not to give gifts to each other this year but to save any money we may have spent on a holiday. I imagine he will still get me a book and Ill get him a bottle of brandy and chocolate. Theres not much we want from each other or need.

Pascha Wed 24-Oct-12 12:53:31

We spend as little as we can. Food budget is no bigger than on normal weeks, just a slightly different range of foods I suppose.

We don't have a budget as such for presents, just a rule to buy for children only. DH and I just make up a stocking for each other with little things. We shop online, getting as much done early as possible.

The money isn't there to do it any differently. I refuse to get into debt over christmas. The credit card is there for the big stuff not this.

gingercat12 Wed 24-Oct-12 13:07:07

We know exactly how much we spend on each member of the family. We have 6 nephews / nieces + 3 great nephews, so we have no option, really.

Parents / brothers / sisters in England £25-30 each Total £100 - 120 mainly in vouchers
(Great-) Nephews / nieces £15 each Total £135 in cash
Friends in England £40
Family and friends abroad £160 - 180 (it is limited what we can carry, and we do not want to embarrass anybody, or force them to buy huge gifts for us)
DS £50 max (more likely to be £30, but he has not made up his mind yet)
Travel £800
DH £40
Me £40 (probably less, already bought some of it)

So it would be between £ 1,300 and 1,400 including travel.

Travel arrangements are all made well in advance online and with bonus points where possible.

All presents are bought on offer or with vouchers with I earn from surveys.

It is hard to save more, as one part of the gift is that we visit each other, so that is costly. Younger generation wants cash only, which again you cannot really reduce.

We can only save money on ourselves.

ShatnersBassoon Wed 24-Oct-12 13:08:15

I don't have a Christmas budget, but I do check the bank balance more often in December so I know where we stand.

I don't wait for sales, just buy when I see things. I've missed out on things too many times by dithering.

I combine online shopping and high street shopping and start picking bits up at about this time of year. We don't save specifically for Christmas, but use savings to pay for bigger presents.

I don't think about money saving at Christmas. I suppose we'll spend about £1500 on the Christmas period festivities by the time we've paid for visits to far-flung family.

They'd like to know what plans you have to get finances in order - or is it something you manage well, try to avoid thinking about or leave 'til the new year to sort?
We budget throughout the year for all bills. After that we know how much we have to spend each month. I tend to do most of the Xmas shopping in late Sept/early Oct so that I don't have to go to the shops when they're really busy.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
I like to be organised with the shopping so I don't necessarily wait for a sale/discount. I do shop around for a good deal for most things.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Roughly yes. I may spend a little less if I find a bargain or more if I have the spare money. Not changed since the recession, I've always done this.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
This year has been unusual in that it's been about 50% online. I usually prefer to browse the shops and do one big shopping day. I got a few things that way got the rest online. I feel pretty safe shopping online - I'm aware of the Distance Selling Regulations so look out for certain things (e.g. address, returns policy in line with the DSR's).

What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts? Do you buy fewer gifts?
This year I've made a few gifts. It hasn't really saved much money as I still spent the same amount on materials or bought something extra to make up the difference. We make sure not to go overboard with the food shop.

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year? Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?
Presents roughly £250. I've spread the cost a little by buying the materials for things I'm making early in July/August, doing the bulk of the shopping in Sept and then getting the last few bits in Oct.

jojane Wed 24-Oct-12 13:12:03

Last few years I have bought presents from September onwards, made lots of presents and budgeted as much as I could. This year due to lots of other expenses I havnt had the money to start Xmas shopping so will have to do that in dec and buy less than I would normally.

turnipvontrapp Wed 24-Oct-12 13:24:10

They'd like to know what plans you have to get finances in order - or is it something you manage well, try to avoid thinking about or leave 'til the new year to sort?
manage it fairly well, limit amount to be spent.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Sometimes
Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
No don't set budgets but dont go crazy either, try to remember its only 1 day!
Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
online much easier, feel fairly safe.
What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts? Do you buy fewer gifts?
Food hampers you put together yourself a good idea. Only buy for the children of relatives.
How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year? Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?
£700-800

Any other thoughts on the cost of Christmas all welcome.
Its not just about the presents, other things like panto, having friends round and family make memorable experiences.

poshfrock Wed 24-Oct-12 13:43:00

They'd like to know what plans you have to get finances in order - or is it something you manage well, try to avoid thinking about or leave 'til the new year to sort?

We save monthly from Jan-Oct via MIL. She runs a scheme through her church where we can save for retail vouchers - the church get a percentage and we can't touch the money. We've been doing it for about 8 years and it really works for us.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?

Yes if possible. This year for example my husband and I were both due mobile phone upgrades just be fore Xmas - we deliberately chose ones that came with a free Galaxy tablet so now we have 2 presents for nothing for 2 of our 4 kids as we would have got the new phones anyway.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?

Yes we have a price per person and the price varies depending on who the person is. So we spend say £50 each on our kids but £15 on nephews/nieces.
We just do our normal food shop ( plus Xmas dinner) but add on £50 for extra booze. We get given a tin each of Roses and Heroes by two aunts each year and I think that's enough chocolate. We will spend a lot less on food as a result of the recession and will probably drop our monthly saving next year.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?

Well as our kids have got older we've tended to go for Amazon vouchers rather than the high street ones especially since Woolies went out of business so most of ours is online. There's not much you can't get from Amazon these days especially as 3 of our kids are teenagers who like music, games and DVDs. As we pay with vouchers rather than cards I think it's safer.

What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts? Do you buy fewer gifts?
How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year? Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?

I'm quite a good seamstress so I have made cuddley toys, hats, scarves etc in the past for kids' friends. Hubby and I will only have small presents this year. We will have vouchers of £800 saved - I imagine most will get spent but as we have the two free tablets we should be able to hold some back and use for birthdays next year.

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toomuchteaching Wed 24-Oct-12 13:43:28

I limit the amount we spend - that really is the top tip! Christmas is different now that we're a one income house, just like the rest of the year is different. I suppose it's easier because mine are under 2, but I just can't imagine spending hundreds of pounds on toys they may or may not stay interested in. I would much rather put the money towards a holiday or anything that is more than one day. I shop online a lot so I get the chance to compare prices and I try not to get sucked into buying lots of unimportant tat that no one will remember a week later! I don't skimp on food though... nothing beats a lovely roast goose once a year!

BornToFolk Wed 24-Oct-12 13:52:40

They'd like to know what plans you have to get finances in order - or is it something you manage well, try to avoid thinking about or leave 'til the new year to sort?

I never go into debt to pay for Christmas. I was lucky enough to get a £500 bonus this year in June so that went straight into savings to cover Christmas. I doubt I'll spend it all though, I hope to have some left over to start the holiday saving fund!

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?

Yes. I try not to pay full price for anything! If I see a good deal on something I'll buy it.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?

Yes, kind of. As I said, I won't go into debt so when the money's gone, it's gone.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?

I do a lot online as I think you can often get better deals. I use Quidco to get cashback and search for discount codes etc. I've got a couple of ideas for things to get DS and I'll keep my eyes open for good deals. I'd never just walk into a shop and buy the first thing I see.
I do feel safe shopping online as I mainly use established retailers, like Amazon, for big purchases anyway.

What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts? Do you buy fewer gifts?

Set aside money early and don't go crazy.

I do sometimes make my own gifts as I knit but as someone upthread said, it's rare that I actually save money this way as the cost of (decent) materials is quite high.

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year? Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?

£500 absolute max but as little as I can get away with.

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