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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

TheReturnOfBridezilla Wed 24-Oct-12 18:45:03

I picked up a few stocking fillers in the January sales last year and have gradually added to it, picking up a book or a bubble bath etc at the supermarket when I do a big shop. Started present buying in July (although my dc have September birthdays so this was included) and get a main present for someone on every payday from then on.

Yes, yes to sales and discounts! I think I have only paid full price for a few items this year although I have on more thing to get which is fast selling out and seems to be full price everywhere now. sad

No budget, just get what I want as cheaply as possible. I don't work well with budgets, having one would result in me spending needlessly to top up a gift which came in "under budget".

No not really although I am more sale savvy and tend to buy when I see something cheap rather than waiting until closer to the time to pick it up.

Yes, I shop a lot online when I know what I want as its usually cheaper and I can shop around quickly without having to arrange childcare. I also love EBay but IMO nothing beats a day at the shops. grin

I feel safe online with the big retailers, am a bit reticent with smaller, more unknown dealers but always safe with eBay as their buyer protection is excellent.

My tip is clubcard vouchers. We save ours all year and then do a massive shop for the extra food and drink we need in December for free.

Probably about £1500 +. But we are big Christmas fans. It's my favourite time of the year.

ouryve Wed 24-Oct-12 18:50:37

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?W

It's not something that worries us. We simply spend within our means

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

We look for savings when buying 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?

We don't set a budget, but we don't go mad, either

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

I live in a rural area and don't drive so often shop 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?

In the past when money has been tighter, I have made gifts. Generally, I think it's more important that the gift is well matched to the receiver than is extravagant. DH and I have a reciprocal agreement with my family that gifts are for the kids, only - that puts a lot less stress on family members who find it harder to fund Christmas.

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?

Don't know. It depends on what we will buy. It;s certainly won't be the full £500 worth of lego requested by DS1!

flamingtoaster Wed 24-Oct-12 18:51:30

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 keep a careful eye on spending throughout the year and Christmas is no different. I plan well ahead so it's not a problem.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? .. I start buying for the next Christmas in the January sales - cards, wrapping paper, even some presents.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started? >> I don't set budgets for food - due to family allergies we have to buy glutenfree/milkfree so can't often take advantage of bargains on food - though I make all the mincepies, liebkuchen, cakes etc. which makes it cheaper. With friends we have an agreed maximum price for presents.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? I feel safe shopping on some sites - there are some sites I wouldn't shop on. It depends on the present if it's branded and I can see it in a shop then if it's cheaper I buy online. If it's not branded then I prefer to buy in person to be sure of quality.

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?(1) Set an agreed maximum amount for presents with friends - makes life a lot easier. (2) Search online for vouchers and special offers. (3) Remember you are not shopping for a siege - Christmas Day and Boxing Day are only two days - buy good quality food but avoid wasting food and money by not buying more than you actually need.

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've been putting presents away since January when I see things at bargain prices.

I try not to go into debt over xmas. I maybe use my overdraft for an extra £100-£200 but nothing too deep.

I buy throughout the year. If I can find something in a sale it's a bonus.

I don't set strict budgets for gifts, food, drink etc but I have a vague price in mind that I try and stay within shouting distance of!

I shop a lot for DC's things online as they are always with me at the shops. I will often look at things for family members online and then go buy it in a shop.
We are lucky to have some fab local independent shops that I always make a point of visiting as well.

Tips to pass on would be start early and remember that nobody would want you to put yourself in a difficult place by buying them something you can't afford.

We'll probably have spent £500-£800 on xmas this year.The only cost that I will really notice in Dec is the extra food/drink bill as the rest has been eked out over the year.

LineRunner Wed 24-Oct-12 19:04:00

Dear Experian

Can please have an assurance that you will show me the file that you hold on me, without my having to pay to see this?

Liney

We will be spending about £80-100 on Christmas this year. That's buying a present and stocking gifts for DD (aged 3) and the same for DS but with a birthday present too (he'll be 1 on Christmas Day). I am making presents for our parents and siblings (chocolate bark I think). Our food shopping will come out of that money as well.

I try to put aside at least £10 a month towards Christmas, usually more if I can manage it, but I keep having to dip into it to put money on the electric meter. Because I have the cash put aside I don't tend to buy online but I do a lot of browsing in charity shops and on Freecycle as well as Facebook selling groups. If I do need to buy online I ask my mum to do it and give her the cash - that way the money doesn't get swallowed up in our usual outgoings.

ScorpionQueen Wed 24-Oct-12 19:13:04

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

I rarely pay full price for anything. I use a lot of discount codes, buy in the sales etc. The Christmas bargain thread on MN has been very useful.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
I set a budget and always have, although before the recession i got more for my food and drink money.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? Online and yes, totally 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?

Shop around. there is almost always a code or deal you could use. Don't wait til mid-November, the prices sneak up.

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?
This year we will be spending about £1000, with £600 of that being on laptops for my 2 girls, as I need mine for work and they are getting more and more online homework, coursework etc. We have saved all year and have both done overtime at work to be able to spend this much, so are lucky.

ldt87 Wed 24-Oct-12 19:13:51

Every year i say i will budget better and every time i get to about now and panic! I have never had a Christmas not on a budget, some years are better than others but this one will be our worst yet following redundancy. We decided in recent years to only buy presents for our children and parents. Our siblings have kids too so they don't buy for us either we all understand how expensive it is. We keep an eye out for sales and special offers for specific items and often just treat ourselves in the sales instead of buying each other presents. All money needs to go towards the children and the food. Both my daughters birthdays are in December too so it is an exceptionally expensive time of year. This year i really don't know how much I'll be spending on anyone because the money we have available is so little. We will still have a good Christmas though all together.

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Wed 24-Oct-12 19:26:05

I try to start my shopping early and not go too mad about it, or it gets out of control. I find lists of what's already bought are essential, or you end up with too much.

I don't set a budget, as such, except between DP, my sister and my 'almost' sister friend who spends every Christmas with us. We do a stocking circle and have a budget of 10 or 15 pounds each per person.

We always go to my mothers for Christmas day but we have the whole family for Christmas Eve dinner at ours. We don't set a budget but its quite casual and my stepfather usually brings the wine.

I love shopping online and loathe going in shops on the weekend during November and December!

I'm not sure how much we'll spend this year between us, as it's pretty spread out. I'd never go into debt for Christmas. Too painful to pay off.

mumnosbest Wed 24-Oct-12 19:47:31

I love christmas and do normally go way over my budget but am finding this year really depressing. Im on my last couple of months of maternity leave (unpaid and am relying on Scrooge dh who doesnt like christmas quite as much sad

Normally as a family we set a budget for gifts for adults then spend what we want on the kids. Food ends up costing so much for just a couple of days. We usually plan our food shop about a month in advance and save up.

issimma Wed 24-Oct-12 19:48:49

I start thinking about Christmas finances in Autumn. I buy Christmas cards and gift wrap when I see them on offer, and buy a book of stamps a week. We don't buy many gifts, and not expensive ones generally, so they tend to come out of the household budget.

When I know what I want to buy, I always research discount codes and online sales to get a good price. DH's present came from Groupon and was 50% off sth he's always wanted to try.

We have budgets for gifts (DH and I £30ish). DD is a baby, so haven't had to worry too much about peer pressure there! We buy for parents, siblings, a couple of young children and a friend. Prices from £5 to £20 each.

I feel safe shopping online, and it's how I usually do it.

Tips: buy fewer gifts, set a budget for each person, use the internet to get a good deal. I'd like to do the £10, buy one present for one adult secret santa thing but MIL was horrified when DH suggested it!

aJumpedUpPantryGirl Wed 24-Oct-12 19:51:38

I have a spreadsheet for each year, that way I can cross reference what I give people each year blush
This means that I can buy things throughout the year - also, if I have an idea for a gift for someone I add it to the spreadsheet, this means I (hopefully) manage to get people things they really want.

I don't set a budget, although I am more aware of how much I spend nowadays

I do about 70% of my shopping online. The rest I buy from local independent shops. I'd like to buy more stuff locally but I hate shopping

I make gifts, although I'm not sure if this is moneysaving as I spend a fortune on yarn/craft stuff

I know it is frowned upon but I also occasionally regift stuff. If someone has given me something that really isn't to my taste but I know someone else would appreciate it
(This is where the spreadsheet comes in handy, cos I also make a note of who gave me anything I plan to regift.

I'm not sure how much we'll spend on Christmas this year

I pick up things in charity shops through the year, whenever something right catches my eye. Our "present" budget is set annually anyway, and we actually spend very little in November and December.
Christmas Day itself doesn't cost any more than any other day, it's only ever the four of us, we have roast chicken with home grown veg and homemade stuffing, we make our own crackers with chopped up Christmas card "jigsaws" and sweets/toys picked up here and there for pence.
We use the same decorations and lights each year, decorations are unmatched creations of the DCs, we light the table with the christingle oranges from the Christmas Eve service.
We don't spend much on the DCs presents, most of which are at least second hand, they're not very commercialised DCs, last year they were more taken with their pencil cases than with the second hand wii!

cashmere Wed 24-Oct-12 19:53:57

I've had to be organised this year as new baby due early Dec followed by mat leave (so less money).
I did all my shopping online in July/Aug/Sept and got a lot in the sale or special offers.
As I got everything so early the people receiving gifts shouldn't be aware of the offers eg in the summer The Book People did a free Jamie O cook book with a £40 spend. Now it's a diary/gift bags but a lot of people will know that the diary was 'free' so less suitable as a gift.
I'd definitely do it this way again. I've written down everything I've bought so I don't forget/buy twice.

FrillyMilly Wed 24-Oct-12 19:56:29

I start thinking about Xmas around about September. This year is going to be tight as only just back from maternity leave.

I've set a budget for each person and have been picking up stocking fillers, food and small things like gift wrap every week. I do loads of shopping online as I can shop around for the best deals. I do try to keep an eye out for sales but I always seem to miss out on the good stuff.

In total we will probably spend around £350. Me and DH don't buy for each other and we limit spend on close family.

We generally start buying bits from September onwards. I will pick up small presents when doing supermarket shop and I have been looking out for lots on ebay (kids stuff).

We have also done a big car boot sale and sold lots on ebay these last few months so we have a bit more cash for Christmas.

I have also checked out prices at various places a bit more than I would have in previous years - I'm thinking of the more expensive things like xmas pudding, crackers etc

I write down everything I need and everything I buy in a little notepad so I don't forget what I bought back in September!

androbbob Wed 24-Oct-12 20:12:57

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 usually start in August by putting cash away and start buying Sept onwards.

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

Dont specifically look for sales.but identify an item and find cheapest place to get it.

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

Dont set a budget exactly but a spend per person andctry to stick to that. Dont see any reason to change this year.

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

Definately shop online n get delivered to work if can as saves prying eyes. I have no problem shopping on line but stick to well known places.

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

I save up my ebay sales money and spend that. Alos Tesco vouchers and anyv3 ror 2 offers.

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?

Try to finish spending by nov and pay up front not on credit

aimingtobeaperfectionist Wed 24-Oct-12 20:29:15

Christmas can be an expensive time and it has been in the past. This year we just can't afford it to be so im taking steps to ensure we won't be totally skint come January.
I'm on SMP which is due to finish in January so I just can't afford to go overboard with presents. I'd love to go wild and treat everyone but I'm hoping my 'hand made Christmas' will still please everyone.
I will always wait for the sales or discounts to buy the things I need. I make a list and stick to it, keep it in my purse and that way if I'm out and see something nice I can check if I've anything similar and if I actually new to buy it.
I don't really have a set budget but I do have lists of who to buy for, what I'm buying etc so I can keep track. If I was buying people shop bought gifts id have a budget. This year it's more of a 'how much can I get for as little as possible' blush.
I use the Internet to check I'm paying the lowest price all the time. I've saved a lot this way and having my iPhone helps as I can be in a shop and check prices online.
I try to use PayPal when shopping online as this makes me feel safer. I don't have a credit card (another step to not overspending) so its nice to have a back up for my money.
I've been looking at sites such as pintrest, eBay, Martha Stewart etc to make my 'handmade christmas'. I enjoy making things so I've tried to find really lovely presents people will enjoy that won't cost me the earth.
I started buying for Christmas about a month ago and I'm hoping to have it all done well before Christmas. Spreading the cost really helps. I'll also be trying to sell things on eBay- declutter and make a bit of extra money at the same time.
Me and my partner have agreed not to buy for each other as there's nothing we actually need. We will spend on DD though. I've been to a half price toy sale already!

HairyPoppins Wed 24-Oct-12 20:30:47

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?
Try to keep on top of it through the year.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
I buy all my Christmas cards etc in the January sales, make my own tags (I actually make and sell them, so I just use whatever doesn't sell that year for our family) and pick up presents throughout the year when I see something that someone will like, when it's available at a reasonable price.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Not really, our immediate and extended family have both grown in the last 4 years so it has been hard to keep the costs down. We tend to agree to buy just for the kids and not adults once friends/relatives have had children.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I much prefer shopping online as I get less carried away, although sometimes it feels like I'm not spending real money. I really enjoy buying handmade gifts in person at festive craft fairs, too, although I know they're not to everyone's taste, so I wouldn't get them for everyone on my list.

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?
Because crafts are so big at the moment, it's pretty easy to find a magazine or book with great ideas in it and make your own presents.
Our cheeky money saving tip is to go to the PIL for Christmas dinner - they always cook way too much, so often we get to take the leftovers home for Boxing Day, too (we tell them it's for the cats as otherwise it would go in the bin, there is shame to eating leftovers according to my PIL). They love hosting people, I get a rest from having my decor/cooking skills/cleanliness standards commented on, and when it all gets too much, I drink their Courvoisier and then my DH drives us home.

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?
Around £300, which includes petrol for the 400 mile round trip to see my parents for a couple of days, days out over the holidays if we start to go stir crazy, and extra food/drink from being at home. We'll save this in childcare fees and train fares by not being at work. Probably another £100 has already been spent on gifts, but that's most of them sorted now.

Eeek, Christmas!! That is the general cry in our house. It is shouts of excitement from the kids but shouts of fear from dh and I. In fact dh's favourite cry of horror is "'There are only (insert number btw 1-11 here) paydays till Christmas!!" We don't gernerally have plans or finance in order. We would never consider taking out a loan for Christmas. But we don't really have enough money to put something by for Christmas althoug this is something I am going to try and do from next year. (but will no doubt fail at)

I don't necessarily wait for sales and discounts when buying gifts but will buy something if I see it on offer if it is the sort of thing someone would really like. We do not have a large family so aim to buy specific gifts for that person, which is not always possible in the sales.

No, we do not set a budget for food and drink. We tend to celebrate just with the four of us so don't need to buy alot of extra food in large quantities. But we do, from September onwards, pop a few extras in the shopping basket. So we have chocolates already stashed away and a few extra bottles of wine in the cupboard. We shop at Sainsbury and save our nextar points. We then use these on the Christmas food shop which stops us feeling guilty about buying treats and snacks and alcohol!

I am quite happy buying gifts online, in fact I often see something in a shop and go online to see if I can find it cheaper (taking delivery costs into account too) I feel safe buying online as long as I am buying from a secure site.

I would love to say I make my own gifts but alas I am not very creative. I don't have many money saving tips to give (desperate to receive some though, off to read the thread in a minute) other than that I shop around to find a specific gift at the best price.

We won't spend a lot on Christmas. Each child has a gift budget of around £50 and then some extra little bits in their stocking on top of that. We have already started buying presents (for instance the school had a bookfair on with reduced priced books) and we have some chocolate and wine stashed away.

Am seriously considering NOT exchanging Christmas cards with those people I see on a regular basis. I don't see the point and Christmas cards are expensive. But I worry because I fear it is expected?

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 all year for christmas. If we buy anything on credit card to get points then it is paid off immediately. We don't get into debt for the sake of 1 day.

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

I always try to shop sales, it makes our budget go further. We still spend the same amount on each person but they get a little more.

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

We set a loose budget because we have a huge family and it is so easy to overspend. The budget is fairly flexible though. The budget for food is whatever we save on our nectar card throughout the year. This has changed because we now stay at home not because of the recession though.

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

I prefer to shop online but generally use stores I can trust or pay by credit card or paypal.

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?

Get onto the money saving threads on Mumsnet, the christmas one is amazing! Set your budget then stick to it. If you go shopping take only the cash you intend to spend with you, leave your cards at home.

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?

We will spend around £600 including gifts for each other. We save throughout the year and buy bits when we see them. Also put loose change in our money pot, that usually covers the cash for neices and nephews. Also get non perishables in the january sales where possible, especially cards, gift wrap etc.

noseymcposey Wed 24-Oct-12 20:55:38

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 used to do any planning for Christmas and then up getting in mess in January which took a few months to sort out.

Starting last year I have been much more organised with buying presents in advance (last year was DS's first xmas, plus I have two step sons so not having enough money to buy them presents in December really is not an option).

This year, our finances are really tight so I started buying presents in August to spread it over as many months as possible. We are also hosting family so I have been saving food stamps to put towards the food costs and we have put money aside each month to cover presents.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Yes, and always search online for voucher codes

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Yes, because there is a finite amount of money and running out of it without getting everything needed would result in unhappy family.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
Almost all online as it prevents impulse buying. Feel very 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?
We have bought fewer gifts for the children than in the past. Also set limits with the other adults in our lives as they too struggle financially.

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?
In total, including presents/food probably about £700. We have been spending this over a period of monthx

skyebluezombie Wed 24-Oct-12 21:07:52

I pick up bits and pieces through the year when sales are on. I sell things on eBay to use PayPal to pay for Boots 3 for 2 gifts.

On Christmas Day, while the rest if the family has a nap, I order loads of half price gifts from Boots online to start next year! I also use done if these things for birthday presents through the year.

I do all my shopping online, hate crowded shops. Shopping online means you can get the best price too.

I spend as little as possible by getting nice stuff cheap. Picked up some really expensive beauty products at a jumble sale recently? £25 body scrub, unopened and sealed.

I do not spend a fortune on DD either as I really do think it's daft to get into debt because you think you have to spend hundreds of pounds on your kids.

I do get the impression (though I admit it is only an impression!) that some people do spend ridiculous amounts on Christmas.

Even for the children I don't think they need that much money spending on them, they have enough really and I don't want to get them used to huge amounts/values of presents when we already struggle to find space for all their junk toys! As for adults, we only buy for close family, and for bigger family groups we do a "Secret Santa" rather than everyone buying for everyone else. (We recently started doing that even for the children with their cousins, as it was getting ridiculous otherwise).

Otherwise, I suppose the main expenses are food and drinks, and we do try to get something nice/a bit special, but again, don't feel the need to go completely over the top with tons of selection boxes and so on. On the other hand we do bake quite a lot ourselves, so always have homemade cakes & puddings and Christmas biscuits!

ZigZagWanderer Wed 24-Oct-12 21:26:34

I started shopping in August so we don't splash out all at once.
I searched for online discount codes and got some good deals, I also use eBay a lot, they now collect Nectar points which is a bonus.
I have lots of children (nephews and nieces) to buy for so Home Bargains has been a godsend.
I try not to spend more nearer Xmas but I usually fail, but this year is different as I'm now a SAHM.

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