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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

Lucky englishgirlapproximately winning two sponsored discussions within a monthenvy!

stephgr Fri 09-Nov-12 02:24:16

i try to shop in sales all year round plus usecashback sites wherever possible. I also recycle gifts where i can and my children spend time making presents. I try to use bogofs and voucher codes. I have no idea how much I'll spend but I have asked people not to be extravagant when giving so that I won't feel bad when I don't respond with lavish gifts

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 05-Nov-12 10:44:22

thanks for all the comments. EnglishGirlApproximately has been selected as the winner of the £200 voucher - I have pm-ed you.

melodyangel Sat 03-Nov-12 15:42:58

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 have set up a regular saving account for Christmas works really well and takes out all the stress as we stick to the budget.

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

I tend to hold out for a good deal, definately shop around for the best price. I buy christmas cards for the next year every January.

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

We have a strict budget, always have, stops overspending and going overboard just because it's christmas.

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

Both.

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 only buy for the children in my family, DH's side don't have any kids so buy for his parents and sibling. We only buy each other a token gift such as a book.

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?

Our budget is £600 for food, presents, tree, everything.

mummybrained Fri 02-Nov-12 14:18:10

plans to get finances in order - my husband is self-employed so we try to pay the tax bill in Oct / Nov so we know how much we have left to spend.

I never pay for Christmas on Credit Cards, only Debit cards, so if the money's not there, you're not tempted to pick up extras.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - I look for deals throughout the year for the present cupboard, but i try to stop buying in December as it gets harder to see the decent stuff for the xmas tatt in the shops, panic buying is never good value

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started? - our xmas get togethers are changing, what would have been a big night out is now a xmas lunch with friends and family, cold meat and cakes rather than boozey, it has changed due to the recession, but this is also because we're all growing up! I still splash out on a couple of good joints of meat though for xmas eve and xmas day

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?- mainly online, as long as there's enough time for delivery. it's easier to get the things you want and not come home with a load of rubbish, already started scouring amazon deals

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? - families with lots of kids don't mind if you just buy for the kids, singles / couples without kids should get something too though!

you don't need the big box of chocs and endless biscuits, you'll be sick of them come xmas. It's unfashionable to say so, but making your own gifts (especially food) and crackers, table settings etc. can be lovely but often costs more so do the maths before going crazy in hobbycraft!

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 buying things all year, i even give presents from charity shops if it's something really special you don't often get now, i couldn't put a price on xmas....also depends what ds asks santa for as this is where the money starts to mount up

ChildOfThe1980s Fri 02-Nov-12 10:56:19

Our finances aren't massively in order, but we don't go into debt for Christmas.

I get discounts when I can, but it's not something I chase after.

We set a budget for gifts- a small amount of money per person. We buy gifts for many friends and family, including some abroad, and we want to spend approximately the same on each person (with the exception of very close close family, who get more.)

I do some shopping online, especially as it has good choice. I do find it fairly boring though, and prefer real shops. I am confident with shopping online.

I make some of my own gifts, including paper crafts and baking, but these tend to be additional gifts.

We don't save for Christmas. I don't know how much we'll spend - probably £400 in total.

smileyhappymummy Thu 01-Nov-12 22:12:41

I buy gifts throughout the year whenever I see a bargain I think someone would like I buy it and it goes into my present stash. Generally starts in the january sales.

cherryjellow Thu 01-Nov-12 21:58:07

I try to manage it and plan for it but I can't really afford it. I always look for sales and discounts, last year I bought things in july when I saw them. I wish I did that this year!
I don't buy much extra food, except 1 roast which we don't normally do. I set amounts to spend per person before hand. i have always done this but the amounts are getting smaller. Its the problem with having a massive and growing extended family.
I buy online and in store. I only really shop online on amazon.
Tips : Kids don't need tones of stuff. compare everything to see where the best deal is !
Ithink we will spend 350 on everything maybe less if I can get away with it smile. I started shopping last month

VirtuallyHere Wed 31-Oct-12 22:20:14

>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?

Our finances are kept well in order through the year as I use an excel spreadsheet to track where the joint account funds go (we each have a small personal allowance that can be spent as wished). I therefore know which are the months where we have big bills - e.g. all the insurances due.

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

Not really. I don't tend to buy many gifts so do tend to buy Xmas ones in November/December.

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

For gifts I do make a list of roughly what will be spent on each person. We use all our Nectar points for the Xmas supermarket shopping.

>Has this changed since the recession started?

No, I've always been fairly careful with tracking what is spent.

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

Most gifts are ordered online for the convenience/cheaper cost.

>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?

Kids do not need hundreds of pounds of presents. Young ones will be just as happy at finding some useful items, such as socks and toothbrushes, in their stocking as all toys.

>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?

Probably around £250.

>Any other thoughts on the cost of Christmas all welcome.

Experiences will always be remembered more than a load of plastic tat for young kids. Have fun at Xmas feeding ducks, going to the park. panto, etc.

prakattack Wed 31-Oct-12 15:25:19

2 children and 2 lots of unpaid maternity leave have meant I budget more and more these days! The recession has made our budgets even tighter but mainly it's just the result of living on one income for so long...
We always used to just set a target amount per present but now we have an overall, not very big, budget and have to stick to it rigidly!
I never buy anything full price and start early so that I can grab all the best deals - I started in July this year before I went back to work after baby no. 2 and have been adding to the pile every month whenever I see a good deal.

We've also made agreements with several sets of friends now to limit what we buy - to not buy at all, to do homemade presents only, or to buy for kids only and not adults.
My Xmas list used to have a few family children on - now it has over 20 babies and toddlers!!

boranpolska Wed 31-Oct-12 10:59:47

Over the years buy for less people, only very close immediate family, Nan, Grandad, Mum, Dad, Neices and Nephews. I have three children and try to be sensible and not over spend (though I don't set a budget). Also tend to give them things we would probably get them anyway - clothes, books etc. I buy throughout the year, generally online, use discounts codes in most cases and use the cashback website Quidco. Food wise I make chrimbo pudding, mince pies etc and always buy a turkey but tend not to go mad and have a fridge full of things you end up regretting. I love the Tesco double up offers which they do at Christmas and generally another point on the year so I get toys then. I also use a cashback credit card and tend to save up the John Lewis vouchers I earn for Christmas.

ooer Tue 30-Oct-12 22:13:09

^ Christmas finances ^: I manage well. I don't go overboard at Christmas but then again we are comfortably off. I will be able to pay my January credit card bill in full.

re waiting for sales or discounts when buying gifts - I often give gift vouchers or money so my family/friends can take advantage of the sales after Christmas.

Re budgets - I set individual budgets for gifts but not for food and drink. For gifts it's because we are all quite well off and I don't like waste - if I want something I can afford to buy it myself, and if I can't afford it I certainly wouldn't expect anyone else to buy it for me. So a present is really just a token. Hasn't changed since recession.

Re shopping online or in person? Mixed strategy - tend to shop online for [fussy] children, but in local shops for other gifts as I want to support my local shops. Feel safe enough shopping online but am very aware of online security.

money saving tips etc
Have been trying to persuade adult family members to stop buying each other presents and concentrate on the young ones. Have succeeded in setting £10 budget per person for family (grownup) gifts but think that's as far as it will go. I have no idea how much we will spend on Christmas - if we are hosting will be c. £150 on food and drink, around £400 on gifts, around £100 on Christmas cards and stamps. I don't save for Christmas and I don't buy ahead. Maybe I should be starting to panic ...? But no, it always all gets done.

thisthreadwilloutme Tue 30-Oct-12 14:44:35

I decide on a budget (which varies from year to year) and stick to it. I make a list of all people I am buying gifts for and allocate them an amount of money. This list lives in my handbag so if I buy a gift when I am out and about I tick them off and don't forget.

I get the kids to make tons of lovely gifts for teachers, grandparents, aunties and uncles.

I check online for deals and buy presents when I see them rather than all together.

In terms of food, we don't go too overboard. My dh is a teacher so we don't need to buy any chocolates! I think the important thing is time together as a family, good food and better company. If the gifts are personal and thoughtful they don't have to be expensive.

egdeh Tue 30-Oct-12 14:34:51

We don't budget for Christmas exactly, usually shop in Nov / Dec on credit card so pay over two or three months depending on how statements fall. But, recession and looming need to move if we want dc to go to a reasonable school mean I am more focussed on saving money to try to reduce mortgage and, whilst budget Christmas won't do this, every little helps, so am trying to get into a more frugal mindset.

I've gone off online since yodel delivered several packages last year which I didn't receive (stolen from doorstep apparently) which made the whole thing very stressful, having to replace gifts at last minute. Am trying to avoid Amazon at the very least - yodel and tax thing have put me off. Also, unless someone wants a very specific item, I prefer to see what i am choosing in the flesh before buying.

Haven't previously had to budget for food as usually at parents / in-laws, but do take booze, chocolates, nuts etc to contribute. If we are at home this year, likely to be only us, so food costs won't be much more than standard anyway I'd imagine.

Would love to be able to make gifts, but I am not competent, can't imagine anyone being delighted to receive anything I'd handmade - might get the dc to make things for grandparents though as that might be well received.

Overall, I think our CHristmases tend to be quite cheap / frugal in terms of what we spend (well under £100 per dc and about £20 per other family member, don't buy for friends etc). Still adds up, but we'd never spend money we couldn't afford or borrow to pay for Christmas (or at least I hope we wouldn't).

Fluffyfish Tue 30-Oct-12 14:32:55

This year, largely because we are expecting baby no 2 in Dec, I have bought presents throughout the year starting in a bout April. I don't have a specific budget but we don't go overboard. My guess is that I have spent about £30 each on my brother, sister in law, nephew, parents and parents in law, about a tenner on my best mate and about £50 each on husband and toddler. But I believe it is the thought not the cost that counts. Presents for friends' kids are actually regifts from things dd has been given throughout year or I get through work blush.

By spreading it throughout the year I've barely noticed it. I haven;t done it systematically but when I made list last week of all I have got I only have about four things left to get.

asuwere Tue 30-Oct-12 14:32:03

*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'm always pretty organised with my finances so never leave it till the new year.

*Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?*
I'm quite cheap good with money so generally only ever buy things when reduced.

*Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not?*
I don't really set specific budgets but I know what my limits are so wouldn't spend too much. I think sometimes when specific budgets are set per person, some people end up buying extra things that aren't needed just so the same amount has been spent.

*Has this changed since the recession started? *
Nope

*Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?*
I do a lot of online shopping and find it easier to to shop around and compare prices when doing it online. I feel online shopping is just as secure, sometimes more so than in person.

*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 do sometimes make gifts - especially good to get kids to make gifts. I would say to remember that it really is the thought that counts and there isn't any need for the buying just for buyings sake.

*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?*
Probably spend no more than about £80, that's including any extra food treats. No saving as it isn't a major expense.

zipzap Mon 29-Oct-12 23:13:38

Forgot to add that I am teach the dc to become bargain hunters too - and they understand that as Santa has so many presents to buy then sometimes if you are relaxed about the things that don't matter (like scruffy packaging) then you can have a bigger better gift inside the packaging.

After all - the packaging is only going to be thrown away. So if Santa has a limited budget he can spend on you, would you prefer him to spend it on a small but perfectly packaged present or a larger present that is in a scruffy box?

ds1 (7) in particular has cottoned on to the fact that this is also a way to stretch his pocket money or christmas money if he is out buying toys! He's also always on the lookout for sale bargains or any sort of offer. Takes after his mum grin

Ikea1234 Mon 29-Oct-12 21:53:35

This year we are away for Christmas, and tbh, the cost of food and extras is almost nil, although obviously the holiday had to be paid for. We are having to be uber organised for buying presents and sending cards etc, and have already started earmarking gifts. We have £130 in nectar points to spend, and will use these for items like books and toys, which is the majority of our present buying. I've also been a survey member for RM and you get paid in stamps - that's card sending sorted!

PurpleCrazyHorse Mon 29-Oct-12 21:45:40

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?
This is the first year we've had savings to use for Christmas and it's a revelation. Previously we've gone overdrawn and then cut back in January & February to even back up. I think we'll try to save in 2013 too so we do the same next year.

We've been buying Morrisons food stamps since the spring so have some extra money for Christmas food. We're at relatives for Christmas Day so this will just be for some extra treats on top of our usual shopping.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
I don't tend to buy presents in the sales although I think this is a good idea. We have a very small house and don't have much room to store gifts. If I had a bigger house I definitely would. We do however always buy wrapping paper and Christmas cards in the January sales. This weekend I have already bought six gifts, 2 in sales (that I didn't know was on) and the rest during a Boots triple points weekend.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
I try to set an overall budget for gifts and not go over that. We have a fairly strict monthly food budget and I have some Morrisons saving stamps for extra Christmas food treats. This hasn't changed during the recession but we have a longer term financial goal so have been trying to budget for the last few years.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I shop online as I can compare prices and deals and I also use Quidco for cashback which adds to any savings. Plus, I don't have to pay for parking! I do sometimes look in the shops at gifts and then purchase online. I feel totally safe purchasing online and tend to use PayPal if it's an option or have a credit card for this purchase as it offers good protection.

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'm supplementing cheaper gifts this year with some homemade cookies or shortbread. Our daughter is only 3yo so we won't be buying much for her as she doesn't actually need much at the moment. I'd also look in charity shops or cheaper shops for gifts for her.

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 have about £300 saved up and so far I'm expecting to spend almost all of that, but that will be for all our presents (including DH and I). I've just started buying gifts so I have a good choice, can take advantage of any special offers and not be in a last minute rush.

ChicMama25 Mon 29-Oct-12 20:21:13

We are going to set a budget for presents including what we get each other - perhaps not very romantic but we have bigger fish to fry ie trying to get out of debt within 1yr, (bit of university credit card legacy, luckily interest free) pay more into our mortgage, save for decorating our house. I have £200 to spend on everyone's presents and my partner will spend similar amount. He will get his family's presents and I mine, then they are "from" both of us. Biggest expense will be daughter's presents as I want her to have at least 1 from "father christmas" and 1 from us plus stocking things I suppose. We will plan meals and shop in advance, with a budget for food and wine. Not sure how much yet but it won't be much more than we would normally spend as don't think you need to go crazy to eat well. Generally I don't have any time to do xmas shopping (or any shopping) so will do all online and have delivered to my office. Always sale stuff if possible - just got my mum a lovely cashmere jumper in the midseason sale - her xmas present done although it is still October! My partner's fave shop is tkmaxx. We have got plenty a wedding / xmas present from there! I'm happy to scrimp a bit as I know it will be worth it to get financially sorted, I don't want to overspend.

shriekingnora Mon 29-Oct-12 16:53:48

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 try to have about £200 saved by October. I never get credit so I can't overspend. Once it's gone, it's gone.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? No, but shop very carefully for specific things eg will research for ages online.

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 for presents and wrapping and cards/stamps. We don't entertain much here over Christmas so don't need to budget extra for food. Special foods we have here include things like star shaped cookies which are very low cost. We used to get a big tin of quality street (or two) but can't afford that now.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? I always shop online in early November. Haven't had any problems so far! Tend to stick to big names.

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 buy very few gifts - we do secret santa with one side of the family and kids only with the other side (and we're the only ones with kids!). This year we won't be doing secret santa but will be giving family beer forom our brewery and also swapping beer for chutneys etc at the next farmers market we do. So I guess my tip would be see if you can swap any goods or services. I have also saved tesco vouchers throughout the year.

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year? £150 as that is the money me and DH got for out birthdays in September. We are very very poor this year. That has to cover everything including stockings for three DC. Oh and DD and DS2's birthdays which are both within a week of Christmas. I also have about £50 of Tesco vouchers and wrapping paper and some cards left from last year. I actually want to cry just thinking about it.

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year? I have saved a few toys that people hae given to us over the year for DS2 (and for his birthday). We've been honest with the kids about lack of funds this year and they were rather sweetly mostly upset that me and Dh wouldn't be getting anything. They asked if they could have some money from their savings to get stuff for us sad

We save an amount monthly throughout the year, in order to try and make it less painful come December.

We have decided this year for the first time to not buy presents for each other (DH and I) in an attempt to save.

We have saved a year's worth of nectar and boots points which will help towards food and gifts.

I have had conversations with some family members, and we have agreed to not get gifts for each other this year.

I do try and buy some things on offer, such as 3 for 2 or use sites such as Amazon for savings.

whattodoo Mon 29-Oct-12 14:02:32

I'm aiming to be far better organised this year, so that I don't do a last minute panic buy which inevitably costs more. I'm being stricter on the budget per person too.
I often buy things through the year if I see them on special offer. Buy cards, wrap etc in Jan sales.
I'm hosting Christmas dinner for the first time this year, I'll be making as much home-made myself to cut costs and will prob ask everyone to bring something eg the veg or some cream or whatever.
I want to do as much online buying as poss - keeps costs down and prevents impulse buys when I go to the shops!
I am confident about safety online shopping.
I'm budgeting £500 for Christmas this year, including gifts, food, new decorations, panto tickets etc
I've not saved specifically, but have bought odds and ends as I see them.

cleanandclothed Mon 29-Oct-12 13:31:31

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

Yes - for example I buy photo calendars every year and try to have them made up by November and then wait for at least 30% off before I buy. Have just done one and got 50% off.

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

I hosted last year for the first time. Didn't set a budget but did make most things rather than buy (cakes, mincemeat etc). Spent quite a bit but was pleased with what I got.

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

Mainly online. Yes I feel 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?

I do make my own, and as a family we club together to buy gifts for each other, so my sisters and I will buy joint gifts for my parents, etc. That way we can get something someone really wants, rather than them getting a few smaller presents for the sake of getting something.

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?

Probably about £600 - £800. That will be gifts for 15-20 people. As I am not hosting this year I don't have any other Christmas costs (oh...petrol....probably at least £100 on that).

ProphetOfDoom Mon 29-Oct-12 13:05:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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