Please note: This topic is for discussions paid for by Mumsnet clients. If you'd like to have your own paid for discussion thread, please feel free to mail us at insight@mumsnet.com. If you are a start-up or student and you want to request feedback from MNers, please post in Media Requests topic.

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 England 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.

Add message | Report | Message poster jojane

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.

moonbells Wed 24-Oct-12 14:20:31

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Yes, and yes. I've kept one toy hidden for DS since last year's Amazon Black Friday!

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

Yes to gifts - extended family are usually quite good, only paying a given amount per person. Food we're a bit more relaxed with. I don't drink and DH not much, so that saves a lot of £.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
Online. I LOATHE going shopping. Food I can cope with, but presents and clothes... ugh. I'm the one with the list at shop opening time charging round to get everything on it and escaping home as fast as possible. We each keep one credit card solely for online and phone purchases.

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 don't like surprises and am bloody awful not terribly good at thinking what to get people. So I ask people what they'd like. Then you know that it won't be looked at in horror and regifted or, basically, wasted. I wish my ILs would realise this! (Thinks of bizarre chunky pugugly costume bracelet I got a few years back - I only wear minimal jewellery, and it's never been out the box)

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year?
Heck, no idea!

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?
We save supermarket vouchers. Have cashback credit card each and spend everything on them, then pay them straight off. Gets us between 0.5% and 1% back. Mounts up when you're buying everyday shopping and especially petrol. We also link in as many other sellers as we can, eg Shell club> Waitrose points and E.On > Tesco clubcard vouchers. The latter we use for stuff we'd otherwise have to pay a lot for.

Joandmike81 Wed 24-Oct-12 14:25:21

I've got a budget of £350 for Christmas this year. That is just for presents for family and friends as we spend Christmas day at my parents and Boxing day at my inlaws.

I've been using cashback websites all year, for everything and have been saving up the money to spend at Christmas.

I normally make a homemade hamper of goodies for my aunt and uncle, we make our own wine from fruit trees, and jam. I also make biscuits/shortbread and sweets for the kids.

i will also be looking out for deals on books, I insist on buying the children in the family books for birthdays and christmas as they get so many toys that get left and forgotten about. They seem to like getting books though as I now get lists of potential books to buy from each of them.

My hubby and I won't be buying each other big gifts this year, I've picked up a couple of small things for him when I've seen them, but otherwise, we will focus on our daughter.

I also save up my Tesco club card vouchers and have been doubling them up to get extra things like wine, toys, etc..

I tend to mix between shopping online and in store, I always check the price of something instore if I've seen it online and online if I've seen it in store. I then also check voucher websites to see if I can get voucher and then check to see if I can also get cashback on it.

My money saving tip is to research, check and double check to make sure you have got the best deal, don't just buy something because it is buy 3 for 2, it may not always be the best deal!

jill316 Wed 24-Oct-12 14:29:01

* im a mum of 5 so for the last few years i have relied on personal loans (provi etc) as help for my kids and families presents but this year i started early as i found id spend all year paying the loans back and then take them out again at xmas and repeat the whole cycle. and they add so much on top of the loan too. so this year i also started saving up my spare change in a pot and buyin savings stamps where i do my main xmas shop. it has been abit of a struggle but it will be worth it.

* if i see a good deal on stuff when im out and i have the money i`ll always grab it, in sept argos had some good 3 for 2 offers on and i snapped loads of bits up for xmas . i got 3 duvet sets for £50 but if i bought them when the offer was over it would have cost £75. always look out for offers u save sooo much money
* i always set out to stick to a budget but i admit i have a hard time sticking to it. say i say ill only spend £30 on my sisters, and then once i spent the £30 i see something one of them will love, ill buy it but then i have to buy the other sister something else so they dont get less. i dont go wildy overboard thou as i dont have the money too go crazy. and this year we have all agreed not to go mad as no one has the money to with things being so bad at the min. and its the same with food, i have a list in my mind but them ill see offers etc and buy them aswell.
* i mix online with shopping in person. i will ALWAYS look online for what im buying before i go in person, that way i can see whos got the best price for what i want. i dont drive so big stuff also gets ordered online. also look for voucher codes online, you can save alot of money with discount codes something you cant do in store.
* always check prices online bfore you go shopping if your getting something in partctiular, look for offers but dont buy things just because they`re on offer. search for discount codes/free delivery codes if your buying online. make homemade cards, cheaper and more fun to do-the kids will enjoy
it-.
* on my 5 kids, my mum and dad and my 2 sisters and food and drink i will prob spend £1000. which may sound alot but i was talking to a friend the other day and she plans to spend that much on just her 2 kids!!! i have been buying presents since sept (one or 2 a week) and i really think its the best way to do it as i havent been noticing it as much as when i leave it til the last min and then struggle to have enough money to pay bills and buy presents. i will def do the same again next year as i am less stressed than i was last year and will not have to take out huge loans so will be better off next year too!

BelinaTheChicken Wed 24-Oct-12 14:33:00

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?

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
I try to buy stocking fillers in the sales and have a 'present drawer' with other sales gifts so that if we or the DC are given a gift we weren't expecting then we have spares without having to panic buy a more expensive gift

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Yes, definitely. We didn't so much before the recession, but that was also pre DC, so we didn't have as many people to buy for. Food and drink I plan out meticulously, but DH has an irritating habit of inviting people last minute, so it doesn't always work out quite as planned

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I buy a lot from eBay, which I find very safe. It also means I can check prices to get the cheapest, without having to run from store to store. In the run up to Christmas I try to have a clearout and sell a load of stuff on eBay, and then use any money made for presents. In the past I have managed to buy all stocking fillers and presents for family without dipping into our monthly budget. I also try not to go mad on sticking fillers, DC are young so stick to 10 gifts per stocking, some of which will be thingsd they need, craft things I would have bought anyway. I always make playdough for the stocking too. And buy good condition second hand stuff, as DC are still too young to care either way

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?
DS1 and I make salt dough Christmas decorations which are given to family and friends, and always seem to be well received. My DPs, PILs and DSis get calendars from Photobox, which can usually be bought on a good offer, I try to wait for their sales where you can buy credits and use them later. DH and I generally don't do gifts for each other at the moment, but if we have a bit of spare cash we would buy something for the house.

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?
Will probably spend aroun £100 on the DC (between them), and about £150 on family and friends. We are not hosting Christms this year, so our food budget will probably only be £50-100 over what we would normally spend.

I try not to go too mad with presents, as I think it's the atmosphere of Christmas that is more important than material items. Having said that, I have tiny DC, will probably be scraping together for an iPad (or hoverboard?) by the time they are teenagers grin

elizaco Wed 24-Oct-12 14:34:05

I try to start saving in October - so 3 months of saving, then some on a credit card that I pay off straight away, so spread the cost over 4 months.

TerrorNotSoFrightened Wed 24-Oct-12 14:41:50

I put away £20 each month towards Christmas.

I buy two presents each month from January - October. (I have 20 people to give gifts to. Spend around £10 on each)

I buy cards, wrapping etc in the January sales.

I save tesco points and just have the one voucher payout in November, I usually take advantage of the double points promotion.

I pay a small amount each month to our local butcher, this gets me a ham, large turkey crown, lots of pigs in blankets and a massive steak pie.

From around July I add two items to our weekly shop which get put away for Christmas, things like spices, biscuits for cheese, bottles of appetiser.

Tamoo Wed 24-Oct-12 15:17:12

I simply can't afford to buy for (adult) extended family and it's been that way for a couple of years now. I'm pretty sure they understand and can deal with that! For kids of family, I keep a look out for toy sales eg 3 for 2 offers at Argos, Sainsbury's etc or good reductions when I'm out and about.

I would be organised enough to start shopping earlier in the year but buying for children means you have to wait and make sure of what they're interested in as trends change so much.

DS knows he won't get as much spent on him at Christmas as he does for birthday because Christmas is for everyone and is an expensive time of year. He gets a stocking, one decent present (usually something electronic), and a few books. He gets sent items from family and I think this is plenty, in fact despite our straits I still worry about spoiling him.

I start shopping September/October depending on what he's into. I generally know by this time what he will like and try to get some bargains on Amazon before the prices freeze at higher levels.

I'm really lucky in that I don't have to cater for lots of people at Christmas so that is one expense down. In the past food has cost almost as much as gifts. Nor do I have to travel to visit family or post items abroad.

For the last two years DS has made Christmas presents for people inc. decorations and fudge in nice jars. They seem to go down well, are more personal and fit our budget.

StaceeJaxx Wed 24-Oct-12 15:19:47

In the past I've been able to just cut back a bit in the months leading up to Christmas and this enabled me to buy most of the presents. This year though DH has been made redundant and we can't even afford to pay the bills let alone start thinking about Christmas presents. I think the kids are probably only going to be getting presents from nanny and grandad this year. sad

LineRunner Wed 24-Oct-12 15:42:29

I am selling some things on ebaY to defray the cost of Christmas.

Talking of allaying worries, I could do without the worry that Experian holds a file on me that I have never seen that may or may not be accurate and that may or not affect my future life or those of my DCs who share my address.

OrangeKat Wed 24-Oct-12 16:17:15

I start my shopping in August, and keep a list of who/what/etc.
I have almost finished the gift shopping, just have to buy dh a kindle and then I'm done!
THat will leave the next two months to slowly acquire all the extra food/wine/stuff that Christmas tends to involve, and I shouldn't get any big bills- the idea is that it all gets absorbed easily.
I do set a rough budget for each person, and I NEVER pay full rice for anything! If I didn't start so early that would be difficult, but 4 months savvy internet shopping/t k maxx makes it easy.
I also save my fuel payments from work and get September-November to arrive in my December pay packet which gives us a little extra fun fund.

Anchorwoman Wed 24-Oct-12 16:27:41

I'm selling some of the DC's old stuff to fund presents this year and have been collecting small gifts as I see them. Ds has got some nice little stocking filler toys from charity shops and Dd has a push along car with sound and lights from a charity shop. We will eat nice food but presents will be economy style this year. I make things some years if I feel inspired and have time. I hate the big expense of Christmas, would rather spend time with family and friends than spend money on pointless tat.

CheeryCherry Wed 24-Oct-12 16:30:36

We have never formally budgeted for Christmas but will be doing so this year. We will need to be stricter with spending. I have made a few presents already, and have planned what to do for family&friends but not got the DCs sorted. I buy food and gifts in Oct/Nov when the good offers are on, and always have emergency selection boxes/tins of biscuits in store for forgotten or unexpected guests! In the past we have spent freely, but we're in so much debt now that we can't do it. I bet we spend around £350 on presents usually, nd as we always host Christmas eve/Day/Boxing Day for 8-12 people here, we spend probably the same in food/drink just for those few days! Bonkers but we do love it. Just hoping for a lottery win this year...but it would help if I played it!

MegBusset Wed 24-Oct-12 16:40:29

I have a vague budget of £100 per DC (inc stocking) and for DH. Only buy for close family members, about £25 per adult.

I started shopping in August blush as I had some Tesco vouchers that were about to expire, and doubled them up in the Clubcard Exchange that was on at the time. I have also used some money saved up in my PayPal account from selling on eBay. The Christmas bargain threads on here have been great for ideas smile

I shop mostly online through trusted retailers and have never had any problems. I loathe going to the shops in December although I do like the John Lewis Xmas department!

Piffpaffpoff Wed 24-Oct-12 16:45:50

I mostly buy online now and started buying in September to spread to cost over three or four months. I use quidco and always check for discount codes. I look for deals and/or sales and club together with family members on 3for2 or Bogof deals. We have also set a cost limit for presents for nieces and nephews.

I don't have a budget as such for food and drnk but I shop at Aldi mainly and try to get my turkey in Nov when Tesco has an offer on.

We'll probably spend about £7-800.

WhatWouldGrandmaDo Wed 24-Oct-12 17:04:44

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 put aside money each month towards birthday / Christmas gifts

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

Yes - almost only ever buy stuff that's discounted, on 3 for 2 etc. I start early (September - any earlier is too much for me!). Also use Tesco vouchers etc and save these towards Christmas

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

Yes absolutely! It's mainly gifts as we tend to have Christmas dinner with my parents so don't really need extra food.

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

Bit of both - wherever I can get a good deal. As I'm a SAHM I am usually around to get deliveries so happy to shop with online retailers if they're cheaper for certain types of gifts. I tend to stick to big names or online versions of high street stores (where it's easier to find things)

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?

Look out for vouchers / voucher codes online is an obvious one. Don't buy for every adult in the family, I just get for the children for more extended family. Don't go overboard as it just ends up overwhelming for smaller children IME.

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?

The budget is £400 for gifts - that's about £50 each for me / DH / DC and then £100 for each of our families. But I supplement it with vouchers.

3bunnies Wed 24-Oct-12 17:35:52

I don't have a specific budget, but a kind of maximum value I'm prepared to spend. I have bought quite a lot of presents already, which will be great as long as I stop spending soon! We are having to be a bit more careful this year, but is still coming from generic money pot.

I use a mixture of online and shops, but usually check prices online first.

We do make some (e.g. For teachers, godparents etc) but it doesn't necessarily work out cheaper, by the time I have got all the craft stuff, does show a bit more thought though hopefully.

Not too sure where we are having Christmas this year so don't know whether we need food, but will probably spend about 400 on presents, but other than the 3 dc's birthday it is the only time of the year we give presents to most people.

mrsbunnyw Wed 24-Oct-12 17:36:49

We buy as much as possible online. We both work and have infant school aged children, so finding the time to trawl around the busy shops, or to make our own gifts, is tricky, and I think you get a wider choice online. We tend to stick to retailers we trust, and have to shop in advance to allow time for delivery.

The amount we spend depends on whether we're cooking or being cooked for; I tend to go a bit overboard on food I think, but then sometimes my parents contribute after the event. We're much stricter with the cost of presents but as DH has a very large family that all buys for everyone, we have to be. We probably buy around 30 presents; mostly for around £10 each but our own children or each other would be more; maybe £40-£50 each. Plus stockings for the children which are probably £15-20 each.

I try to buy things as the year goes around, so that we spread the cost, and also re-gift children's toys or other things where we can, but we still do the bulk of it in November/ early December. Fortunately DH gets his bonus in the Autumn!

blooblies Wed 24-Oct-12 17:41:26

All our birthdays and Christmas come at once so budgeting for Christmas is essential. We set aside an amount each month to at least cover Christmas and have a rough maximum budget per person which we aim for. Of course, sale deals give us flexibility in this. We try to use 3 for 2's and free postage, sales, etc. I'd love to be organised and do this through the year but I find it hard to get into the frame of mind until late October. We use online shopping where possible as we hate the parking, crowds and time required for shopping in town. Even the postage costs are worth paying compared with parking charges and impulse buys if in town. I'll be trying to buy second hand where possible this year from local sales because of an extra dc and maternity leave. I'd also like to make gifts but am lacking in inspiration and time this year.

ZombTEE Wed 24-Oct-12 17:42:37

We have a set limit and I buy bits and bobs as I see them starting in about October. For example, HMV had a 2 DVDs for £15 sale recently so I bought 2, one for now and one for my son's Christmas present.

I also started buying wine about now and squirreling it away as I'd hate to not have enough of that! grin

I've also started my menu plan as we just found out that inlaws will be here from Eve to Boxing Day so I will start buying staples for that now so we aren't hit with a larger grocery bill in December.

I think that's all I do...

BettyandDon Wed 24-Oct-12 17:45:58

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?

Well for me - 2 elements of christmas - gifts and food. For gifts, I spend @£150 on DD, £20 each on my family and £30 on DH. I paid for this by signing up for some market research and i also luckily got money back from the tax man.

For food, we have £300 per month on food anyway. we have started to buy little things for Christmas already that will keep, so we dont notice the cost at once. We will try to stay within this limit in Dec for the big shop.

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

I wont buy anything in the shops until I have checked I have the best price which normally means checking online. Nearly all of DD gifts were from Amazon or on sales / bought with a discount code online.

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. Well before I was a SAHM I spent a fortune as I earned a fortune. Once I bought a flatmate a candle on impulse (needed a gift) and it cost me £50!!! Clearly nuts, no way I would do this now.

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

I'm happy to buy online as you get the best price, but I would prefer to just buy in the shops as teh items are best seen in the flesh. I'm heavily pregnant now though so high street is a bit out of bounds. I also would not be able to shop with my DD so I'm not sure where she would disappear to to allow me to shop!

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 will be supplementing my £20 budget for GPS with some homemade fudge and perhaps some toddler art!

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 think it will end up costing about £500. If I had to pay for that out of normal monthly budget it would be hard, but I have made sure that I have extra inccome this year to cover it.

Mrscoghoul Wed 24-Oct-12 17:50:18

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?
This year I have some savings set aside for Christmas, in past years (pre-DC) we would have just paid for Christmas using disposable monthly income and not saved in December the way we would have the rest of the year.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Don't wait for them, but I do keep gifts in mind when I browse sales.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
We budget for gifts roughly, but not strictly, mainly to keep costs in check. As for food, we save up nectar points over the year, and what ever we have at December is the Christmas food and drink budget.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
A bit of both, I like the conveninece and money saving aspects of shopping online (which by the way I feel completely safe doing), but I do love a bit of high street shopping at Christmas, especially late night shopping in the dark!

*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 think one big money saving tip is that for your own children (especially when they're young), 2nd hand gifts are absolutely fine. My DS is getting an immaculate wooden train set from a car boot that cost me £2!! As he's only going to be 9 mo, that's his only gift! Also, stocking fillers can be useful things you'd buy for your children anyway such as socks, file paper, bubble bath, pants etc.

I have made chutney's etc. in the past, but they often add up to the same or more as just buying from a shop. This year we'll probably spend around £200 on Christmas.

Tigerbomb Wed 24-Oct-12 18:00:32

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?
All bills are budgeted through the year. We also budget for a small amount of savings for any unexpected bills, car etc.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
It’s a bit of both. If I see something during the year that is on offer I will buy it. Other wise I shop around looking for discount codes online etc.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
A rough budget is set for each person and for food. It is definitely smaller since the recession started and I tend to buy for less people.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
A bit of both. I only use websites that I trust when I buy on line

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?
The only thing I do religiously is buy saving stamps for Morrisons through the year. I now have two full cards (£200) and am on a third. You get £3 free with each full card. I don’t buy stocking fillers anymore, just buy one main present.

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 approx £400 on presents and food. I already have the money saved for food and have bought a few gifts throughout the year. .

hackneyzoo Wed 24-Oct-12 18:11:29

Is it something you manage well, try to avoid thinking about or leave 'til the new year to sort?

I try to plant what gifts I am going to buy my 3DC. I have a very tight budget, so each kid gets around £50 spent on them. I sell lots of things (old toys/ clothesetc) on ebay from about August onwards and put aside the paypal balance for gifts.

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

Sometimes. I often buy second hand, or pick bits up in charity shops.

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

Yes I do, otherwise there is no way we could afford it. TBH I don't go overboard at xmas and just view Xmas dinner as a big roast! I tend to save up Nectar points and vouchers to spend on Christmas food shopping. I provide the food on the agreement that other attending family members will provide a generous supply of wine!

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

I shop on line mostly. I work longishhours and have 3dc, so don't really get any time to go shopping. Plus the thought of shops at xmas time fills me with horror!

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 buy gifts for children and close family only.
I often make gifts for adults (infused olive oil, nice biscuits etc)
DP and I don't get each other gifts
Stick to a budget

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year?
Probably about £200 in total for food and presents.
Maybe another £140 on petrol and travel costs as my family are at the other end of the country

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?

Yes, I've been selling stuff on ebay and saving the profits.

jen127 Wed 24-Oct-12 18:21:50

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 start shopping in September with the plan to get finished by the end of November at the latest- spreading the cost over several months. I also buy cards wrapping paer etc in January sales.
Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Always - why would you pay full price for presenst for others which are not sometimes appreciated!
Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not?
No defined budget as such or that DH has to know about

Has this changed since the recession started?
I scour the internat for discount codes and vouchers.
Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
70% online - 100% 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?
buy in the sales , buy toys in September /October as this is when the sales are. I don't make my own gifts - that would be a disaster
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 don't have a defined budget but approx 1200 pounds total between DS/SD/DH and myself.

MaureenMLove England Wed 24-Oct-12 18:36:16

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?* yes, I usually manage to choose gifts that fall into the 3 for 2 bargins or bogof*
Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started? My budget is my desposible income. When it's gone, it's gone, but I spend £20 per parent and £15-£20 per child. DH and I don't buy for each other and DD gets whatever we can afford
Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?*I can usually buy a fair amount online and helps me to budget better.*
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 make jam and chutney through the year for gifts and make shortbread and sweets at the last minute.*
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?*Less than in past years, but only because I have less to buy for.*

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.

BigBugs Wed 24-Oct-12 21:31:40

I tend not to budget, however I try to spend the same amount of money on everyone's gifts (apart from the DC) which is usually around £20/30 max. DH and I don't normally buy each other anything before Xmas but wait until the sales and go shopping together for clothes, gadgets etc this is something we have done for a good few years now. I don't even start Xmas shopping until early december as that is when stores start early sales and so feel like I'm able to get more for my money.

lorisparkle Wed 24-Oct-12 21:31:52

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 always have a plan to save for Christmas but then 'life happens' and the savings go on important things like food! We then use credit cards to pay for Christmas and pay them back over the following year. Nightmare!

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

Try and buy some bargains - e.g. the Boots '3 for 2' deals. But usually the gifts people really want are not in the discounts and sales are too distant from Christmas to help

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 budget per person and then try not to spend too much on the food and drink.

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

Depends what it is. This year I have bought all the boys main presents already online. Nice and early so I know we have got what they want and can sort out any problems.

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?

Not really money saving but I start buying a few treats for Christmas (chocolate, biscuits, dates, etc) as early as I can so that we don't have a big Christmas 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?

Have no idea (must start budgeting!!!)

Any other thoughts on the cost of Christmas all welcome.

This year Christmas is going to be even more difficult than usual with less income and more expenditure on a general basis.

Roseformeplease England Wed 24-Oct-12 21:40:18

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 spend as little as possible on "duty" presents, leaving plenty of money for the children and my husband. I am afraid I "regift" when I can.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? Yes, I start planning and buying early so that sales are still on and there are plenty of offers.

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 a budget, but just try to get away with as little as possible. I save up vouchers for Amazon (I get them with credit card spending). Food, we just buy one main meal and don't bother with all the expensive extras that just make me fat.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? I do both as we live a long way from shops. However, stocking fillers or little bits are best in person so I usually do those in real shops, usually going to a big city and blitzing over a day. I feel very safe shopping online but postage costs really piss me off.

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?
Some gifts can be very cheap and will do for a number of people. I sometimes buy things I know will do for someone and keep them in a drawer. I don't make anything, although the children have always made something for their Dad.

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? About £500 including a big party we hold every year. Unfortunately, it is followed by two big birthdays and there are two lesser ones just before. An expensive time but I come from a big family, so it does cost.

Cies Wed 24-Oct-12 21:44:50

I often buy Dh's very boring and predicatble gifts in the summer sales. And for ds I will look out for offers, but am more likely to splurge on him.
We don't set budgets, but equally don't have a minimum spend per person. I'm not a budgeting kind of person I suppose.
I shop online for books and technology but prefer real shops for clothes. I usually only buy from Amazon,a nd feel safe shopping there. I'd be a bit more cautious about smaller sites.
Charity shops for children's stocking fillers are great. I've also made up a list of what ds would like and will pass this on to relatives if they ask for ideas so that we avoid too much crap.
This year we are definitely buying fewer gifts - only for the children, especially because we have to travel a long way to spend Christmas with family, which eats up money.

WhyMeWhyNot Wed 24-Oct-12 22:02:19

We decided a few years ago that present buying between the adults in our family was getting to be difficult. We now do a secret santa and have a family get together in november and each pull a name out a hat. Each person buys one present for the person they pick to value of £25.
Any children get 1 pressie from each of us. Each child has a gift list so there are no unwanted presents.
Food wise we all pay a set amount to the family hosting that covers all food, table decorations, nibbles etc.
The food shopping is done online and only to the value we all chipped in.
On the day we all take drinks that we want plus a little extra for unexpected visitors etc.
This works perfectly for us. And with only one adult present to buy we can concentrate on that person and get something they'll really appreciate rather than anything grabbed off the shelves in a moment of panic and wrapped the night before.
Stockings are done by parents but only small things 'like the good old days'
We love it this way...

Hopezibah Wed 24-Oct-12 22:20:03

We manage christmas budgeting fairly well. Buying a few gifts here and there throughout the year and then trying not to splash out too much.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Yes - i look out for special offers and discounts and free P&P etc and keep my eye on offers for something i need to buy.

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

limit spending on gifts for kids otherwise it is tempting to go over. Less so for food. we just need to meal plan enough to not over-buy food.
THis hasn't really changed since recession started as i've nver wanted to spoil the kids at christmas.

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

Online shopping for lots of things now. I have shopped online a lot and if secure website i feel its ok.

What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts?
own gift ideas - flower arrangements can be handmade, kids can do crafts as gifts.

Do you buy fewer gifts? tend to buy for kids not adults.

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year?

not sure exactly how much - probably £150 or so for food shopping over the christmas period, perhaps a meal or two out, not sure on gifts yet as might get one family gift for the kids rather than lots of little things.

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?

have bought a few little bits. but saving for main presents.

Any other thoughts on the cost of Christmas all welcome.
Definitely too much expectation from others to spend spend spend. I would rather hide away and avoid it all. Not enough treasuring the specialness of christmas and valuing the importance of time with family and friends.

smokinaces Wed 24-Oct-12 22:21:42

I am on a very tight budget, being a single part time working parent.

My kids come first. Then other people.

They have stockings - all items from the poundshops or reduced racks. Already done this year (thank you discount shop for zhu zhu pets and accessories for a quid each!) I start in September or October, a few quid here and there.

Main present is twenty to thirty. Big things mainly second hand. Last year was second hand ds consoles. This year second hand bike for six year old, four year old haven't decided.

Family and friends are children only. Then max of £5 each. Again, I frequent poundshops as much as possible - you can get labelled stuff so cheap. It takes weekly visits for stock rotation but is worth it.

Only adults are my parents and sister without kids. They again have a £5 limit, but I have been known to get items reduced from four times that amount.

Hunt. Bargain hunt again. And if in doubt, hunt again.

Thankfully I don't have kids much bothered by labels thus far....

Food wise, I use various shops. Nectar and clubcard points through the year which add up. Morrisons for November to get the thirty pounds vouchers in December. Drink, keep an eye on 50% reductions. Spread the cost of non perishables as early as possible, buying and storing a little extra each week.

missymayhemsmum Wed 24-Oct-12 22:23:15

I used to really mess up my finances at Christmas but now use my Credit Union Christmas account. It has really changed how I feel as I can actually enjoy buying presents knowing I can afford them. This year I'll be putting my Christmas savings on a prepaid debit card to keep them separate from my other money. Will be spending less than before this year though.

WhatWouldWitchesDo Wed 24-Oct-12 22:41:01

We are generally frugal throughout the year - I've always been a save for a rainy day type, so we don't budget exactly, but I do like nice things, and I love Christmas.

We don't do presents for other adults, pretty much feel how Martin Lewis describes here: blog.moneysavingexpert.com/2009/11/10/is-it-time-to-ban-christmas-presents/.

We only have a young DS at the moment, we stick to the four-gift rule for gifts from Santa (Something he wants, something he needs, something to wear, something to read) so things he'd be getting anyway! smile And a couple of gifts from us. We don't set a budget. I do shop around a lot though, to find the best prices. I mostly shop online.

For each other, DH and I decide together on an item or two that we need or could really do with, so nothing wasteful or a gift just for the sake of it.
I buy wrapping paper in the January sales.

Food and drink, no budget. We are vegan, so things are inexpensive.

Money-saving tips: go vegan. Do as Martin Lewis says! smile

No idea how much we will spend on Christmas, but we aren't wasteful.

Merry Christmas! smile

SirBoobAlot Thu 25-Oct-12 02:12:26

I shop through the year for christmas presents so that things aren't so tight over the weeks building up, especially considering this is when gas / electric bills are at their highest too.

I do some shopping online, looking for specific items. I also buy arts stuff for DS to make gifts for people; this year all the playschool teachers and neighbours are getting mugs he's decorated himself. The mugs cost me £1 each, and the ceramic pens were on offer at £5 and will last for years. Bargain-tastic.

Also making scarfs for DS's friends (all of whom are 3) to save money.

Got cards in the sale last year, and paper.

I don't have a budget, exactly, but I know how much I am willing to spend up to for certain items, if that makes sense. Being prepared helps with this, because you are much more likely to go, "Oh screw it" and spend too much money if you're working close to your deadline.

I tend not to buy too many food and drinks things - because you normally end up with at least one bottle of wine and one box of chocolates among the presents blush grin

I don't know how much exactly I will have spent on Christmas, but I do know that spreading it throughout the year will have saved me both money and stress.

Can't wait to start wrapping presents!!

Wolfcub Thu 25-Oct-12 07:07:17

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 never used to do this but things have been tight for the last three to four years. We save our Nectar points throughout the year to pay for the christmas food shop which we would not be able to afford otherwise.

We buy birthday and christmas presents for our son throughout the year - sales, ebay etc and stash these.

We set budgets for everyone's presents and have significantly reduced the number of people who get presents.

For the last two years we have bought giftwrap and cards in the january sales and we have had to move to a fake tree because over the three years we've had it it has saved about 70 versus real trees.

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

Yes, we buy in the sales throughout the year for our son and I've used the MN christmas bargain threads to help source good cheap presents for my staff, granny and my niece.

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

Yes because there just isn't the money not to do so. As above we use our nectar points to pay for the food and drink and other vouchers like morrisons miles if we have them for wine. We also look for offers on alcohol and shop in advance of December for this if necessary.

My husband and I set a budget for each other's presents each year. this year it's £50 but we have had very good christmases on £30 budget each. It really makes you think about what you are buying and squeezing every last ounce of buying power from every penny. I think it makes the shopping more fun.

We set a budget for my parent's presents (he doesn't buy for his step parents) and my grandmother. Usually £20 to £25 per person. this year there will be some home made items in this selection, a blanket made for DM (over budget on wool but spread the cost over the summer months) and some Jams etc.

Has this changed since the recession started?

Yes, no pay rises for the last 3-4 years and the increased cost of fuel (vehicle and domestic) and food have had a real impact and there just isn't the money to fritter away, to be fair there never was and I wish we'd adopted these principles earlier and before we were forced to by circumstance.

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

I do both. I shop from stores I know and trust or whose service is rated by others.

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?

Homemade gifts are great but be careful that they don't cost you more - homemade chocolates for example can be really expensive.

Contact friends and say (in a nice way) that you want to stop sending presents to each other. They will probably be grateful!

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

SOn £100 but value of the gifts for that money is probably double
husband £50
Parents - Mum homemadew blanket £40 for wool. Dad don't know but budget is 25
Grandad - homemade Jam and £10 on a morse book set
Friends none
Food = £100 in nectar vouchers not cash

Add message | Report | Message poster

I always plan to buy throughout the year but what dd wants in May is never the same at Christmas so I start buying in October.

I only buy for dd and my parents and we eat and my parents so not a huge spend

I don't get into debt for Christmas.

gazzalw Thu 25-Oct-12 07:44:26

DW always used to buy quite a bit through the year when she was shopping but she was only remarking the other day that she didn't seem to have the spare cash for doing this this year.

I always bury my head in the sand about Christmas pressie shopping but then I don't have to do much of it.

DW is getting a bit panicky as it's only two salaries until Christmas and she's done precious little. We don't have that many pressies to buy compared with a lot of families but it's a bit worrying nevertheless. Can see we will be living off baked beans on toast for the next few months grin.

I actually find all the discount codes quite mesmerising but sometimes counter-productive. There's always that sense that if you hang on you might get a higher % discount code or discount and free P&P. DW seems to spend a lot of time surfing various websites then deciding she might do better if she waits - not the way to spread out the cost of Christmas though???

Also sometimes she's seduced by a 'bargain' buys it and then can't decide who it's appropriate for so it ends up at the School Fair....

It certainly seems like there's not that much money left for buying the 'goodies' to eat etc.... Our guilty secret is Lidl for Christmas things really. DW normally puts aside about £50 and we go and buy nice Christmassy goodies there - lots of European deli type stuff at a fraction of the cost they'd be in Waitrose, Sainos etc...

We always used to order Christmas meat from M&S but seem to have stopped doing that over the past couple of years....

It is easier to buy presents on line (saves the carrying for one thing) but it's not the same and you don't find the same cute little extras browsing - or that's what DW thinks anyway. I do think she has a point. The whole online shopping experience is time-saving in the extreme but it loses a lot in transmission. It's pretty hard to get into the Christmas mood sitting at a computer, unless you are drinking mulled wine, eating mince pies and listening to Christmas music...

Christmas tips - not sure I have any although most grandparents neither want or expect large, expensive pressies and are much happier with a token that's been chosen with thought and love.

No we haven't been saving although I can see DW planning a raid on the savings account. She will try not to but what's the option? She refuses to have a credit card (and so do I). I think she might try downscaling on cost of pressies too.

Any other thoughts on the cost of Christmas all welcome.

Postpone it by 24-72 hours and you could save yourself a helluva lot of money getting it all in the Sales!

Also, the children get so much from relatives that I think it is totally justifiable to just do them a good stocking full of pressies (particularly when they are under fives).

One of the DCs aunties tends to buy them tickets to a panto as their main pressies. It has become a bit of a tradition and stores up lovely memories for them as they grow up. The always really look forward to the treat and think they appreciate it much more than just more random pressies that are soon forgotten in teh maelstrom of pressie opening!

We definitely do have less disposable income for pressies this year. We lost our FTC in June 2011 when the Govt decided to lower the threshold by about £15,000 virtually overnight (and they generously gave us a whole month to pay back they £84 they'd overpaid us through their tardiness to stop payments when they'd changed their policy). That £40 a month did make a difference and it's sorely missed. Frittering seems to have gone out of the window in this household but we are still finding things very tight at the end of the month.

Bah humbug wink! I feel quite depressed now.....

Imflabulous Thu 25-Oct-12 07:45:48

try to avoid thinking about or leave 'til the new year to sort? I always start saving for christmas just after the summer holidays

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? I pick up bargains through out the year in sales, sometimes starting in January sales.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? I dont have a budget for food, we just buy what we fancy, but i do start adding non perishables to the weekly shop from about now, so it takes the pressure off and i also collect my shopping recipts from Morrisons in the weeks running up as they usually do an offer to get money off your xmas shop.

Has this changed since the recession started? I have always been more carefull with money since the recession espcially now as money does not seen to go as far.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? I do a mix of online and in store shopping, depends on who has the best bargain! I do feel safe shopping online as i always use a reputable website with secure check out.

*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?*
M tips would be, only buy for those you need too. Buy in the year in sales if you can and make a list of who you have bought for so you dont forget and buy more. Also after christmas you can get cheap cards, wrapping paper etc from most shops, i always stock pile for the next year so that saves a small fortune. Also as above, add a non perishable to the weekly shop in the run up to xmas.

I have no idea what the final total will be this year but it may be around £600 including all presents.

zinaida Thu 25-Oct-12 07:49:35

I plan Christmas all year, save up money and Nectar points etc. We aren't doing presents this year because we're hard up - we will get our 7 month old a book as a token gift, but that's it. We're hosting and everyone is chipping in so that we can afford the food.

When we did do presents I mostly shopped online and always budgeted and saved in advance. I feel safe shopping obline. As our son gets older I will buy presents in sales throughout the year.

Biggest tip: don't do presents for adults!

Sargesaweyes Thu 25-Oct-12 08:35:14

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? After years of last minute scrambling I have decided that I must be more organised. Half way through my shopping now (I always sort children's presents before anything else)

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? Yes, but struggle to be one of those 'buy throughout the year' people. I would end up with a load of tat nobody would want if I did that.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not this changed since the recession started? not really. The cost of this is split between family so never that much of a big deal.

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?
Mumsnet Christmas Thread has saved me a fortune so far. I am refusing to pay full price for anything this year.

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year? Have been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year? It will be between £300-500. I have been buying from September on to avoid last minute. I have quite a lot of people to buy for-however I won't be spending much on each person.

DinosaurSchool Thu 25-Oct-12 09:05:32

I think Christmas is a major source of a lot of stress and spending to lots of people including me. I've learnt that I have to control my spending carefully or it spirals very easily.
What has worked for me is;
- my family only buys for dc's and no adults except my parents.
- DH and I buy a small gift only but go out for dinner/away for a night in Jan sometime.
- use a Christmas present app. I've entered everyone I need to buy for and a budget for each. I enter presents as soon as I've bought them. This has been a revelation for me as in the past I've bought in a scattergun fashion and found myself on Dec 23rd having spent £50 on one nephew and £10 on another.
- yes I do try to shop where there are offers but I also know that if I wait for offers that don't appear then I'm more likely to panic buy which is always a disaster.
- I also make myself stop as soon as the budget is reached. I then don't even look at gift things anymore.
- wrap presents up as soon as the gift is complete.
- shop for food fairly normally. If you have people visiting shop like you would if they visited in February. You MUST however buy a box of celebrations regardless grin

I think it's easy to forget just how much 'stuff' comes into your house at Christmas especially if you have dc's. I often review what I've bought my own dc's and keep things back for their birthdays.

This year I'll probably spend around £400 all in.

Tobermory Thu 25-Oct-12 09:15:39

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?
I'm used sales and discounts much more this year. Mr Sainsburys set the ball rolling yesterday with his toy sale! It's certainly helps to be able to spend less and get more for your money.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Yes to gifts, food and drink less so. The budgets for gifts, for friends and family as reduced.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
My shopping is a combination of online and in the shops. I do enjoy Christmas shopping and find it a good to be able to browse but enjoy the hastle-free that is buying things online. I will always shop around and like to find a bargain 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?
DH and I are only buying each other a little gift this year. Normally we spend quite a lot on each ther but this year we've decided to cut back. I'd much rather spend the money on our DC or save for our holidays so this seems like a sensible sacrifice. This year we have agreed with IL not to buy gifts for adults, well all still buy for children just save a bit by not getting for each other.

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 theory we were saving, we decided to do that earlier in the year but it's not panned out like that. Various things have happened which meant we've had to dip into the pot which is now much less full than it should be shock. Think we need a more foolproof plan for next year!

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 not to think about itblush

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? Yes I try to. TKMaxx is my friend too!

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started? No I don't set a budget but I tend to be quite frugal anyway. We share out food costs round the family so that helps.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? I do both, I do feel safe if I've looked for the secure shopping mark.

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?
Don't get carried away! Don't try to give what you will receive - give what you can afford. Don't overbuy food, the shops are only closed for a day...

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? No idea tbh, haven't bought anything yet. AAAAAGH!

pushitreallgood Thu 25-Oct-12 09:45:13

I start to shop around august. so that by November I dont have to think about presents or inflated prices. i also have a littlewood catalogue that gets a bit abused around Christmas and I pay off over the year.
I dont set a budget but each child gets the same amount spent on them depending on what we can afford. I did pretty much 90% of my shopping on ebay last year.
I happily buy second hand products for the kids and others if they are in good condition.
I will spend a lot less on christmas this year as they are going to their dads for the first time so we will have a scaled back version of christmas the weekend before.

mynameis Thu 25-Oct-12 09:47:32

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 wouldn't say I really get my finances in order, I just start very very early on the shopping and try to buy a few gifts every month of the year.

Do you wait for sales and discounts?

Yes I try not to buy anything full price if I can help it!

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

Yes for gifts, have a set amount per person. Food wise we don't buy a lot of extras at Christmas as visiting family all contribute to food and drink.

Has this changed since the recession started?

I have always budgeted and bought my gifts in the same way

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

I do the majority of my shopping online and will look for reviews of a website before purchasing if I am unfamiliar with them.
I will only venture out to Christmas shop if I am using Tesco voucher exchange or to the Boots points event.

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! It's time consuming but saves a fortune.
Mumsnet has brilliant Christmas online bargains thread that I check before buying anything.
Save nectar points, club card points or advantage points and look out for in store events

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?

Will be probably around £1000 but have spread that cost over the whole year.

sweetclarity Thu 25-Oct-12 10:07:10

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? We manage ok because we plan well in advance.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Yes, I buy stuff mainly in the sales and second hand, wherever I see a good quality bargain. Im not proud because we are a one income family, having recently made the decision for me to be a SAHM

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

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?
We only buy one gift for each other, and several small gifts for the children. Wider family we only buy small gifts for the children and nothing for the adults. Would rather spend the money getting together for family time than more unwanted 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? Aiming for £150 including gifts, have started buying early october and will stock up for the festive period as it gets nearer the time.

supergreenuk Thu 25-Oct-12 10:21:00

For our extended family we only buy for one person as a secret Santa with a budget of £30. My DH and I also only buy on a budget of £30 for each other. For the kids as there birthdays are Oct and Nov we start buying really early to spread the cost but we also put money into a Christmas saving account each month to help. I try to buy supermarket saver stamps too so the food bill isn't a struggle either.

leander Thu 25-Oct-12 10:34:32

This Year is the first year i have saved up money for christmas.Usually i panic and put a lot of it on a credit card. I have saved £50 a month with a friend in work and after the 1st couple of months i havent really missed it, my dh unbeknown to me has also been saving £30 a month, i have also been saving with tesco stamps for my grocery shopping although ive not done so well with this, i had been putting the old couple of pounds on here and there.
I do budget gifts for family and friends, I no longer buy for siblings just for nieces and nephews and that is a maximum of £20 per child, i buy for parents but not really a budget, they are really good to us so i generally buy something that they like without considering the cost.I dont buy for my friends anymore but a small token for their children.
This year i had a special discount weekend at work and got the childrens main present then.
We are having christmas dinner at my parents this year so not got to spend much on food.
I think all in all with new outfits for children aswell, i will be spending around £ 500(i hope).

GoinCourtin Thu 25-Oct-12 11:08:16

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 plan ahead. I spread the cost of Christmas - buying presents in August, September and October and food/ drink in November & December.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Almost always buy gifts in the sales, unless its a specific request. I tend to start buying at the end of the summer sales and then keep an eye out for things I need in all sales up until November.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Yes, I have a budget in my head for gifts. Food and drink less so but take advantage of offers when see them.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
Most gift shopping done on line as can browse at home and easier to take advantage of offers. Then will often get delivered to store to save on postage.

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?
Use internet to keep an eye of sales. I bookmark pages and once a week or so go and check for offers.
I save up supermarket points (eg nector, tesco) and use it for the Christmas food and drink.
Post presents/ cards early then can use second class.

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 £400 in total.

WowOoo Colombia Thu 25-Oct-12 11:13:18

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

If there are ever any special offers I will use these to buy gifts for the children. Also will use Tesco double points for buying wine and gifts if they are included in the offer.

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

Budget has been getting smaller over the last four or five years. We have to stick to it. I also stock up on alcohol early on and buy things on offer.
I've also found a few things from charity shops - books and games in very good condition. Luckily my children are too young to notice.

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

I buy online if it's a better deal than going in person. it sometimes is. I feel quite safe doing this.

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?

Just buy fewer gifts and stick to it. I used to buy early, but then I'd keep on buying stuff if i saw it. Not anymore! This year I am sticking to my budget and have already told family I am spending £ on their child and so not to spend too much on our children.
Keeping an eye for bargains in charity shops and ebay is a good tip.
Moneysaving expert is a good website that often has discounts and special offers. I look at this from time to time. But I think sometimes it makes you think you need to buy something when normally you wouldn't. I like his mantra:
Do I need it? Can I afford it? Have I looked to see if it is cheaper elsewhere?

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 have been trying to save since the end of summer holidays for Christmas. But , I've had to dip into the money for car repairs etc. Children will get around £50 spent on them and Dh will get £30 ish.

TheTempest Thu 25-Oct-12 12:17:16

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 just normally try to buy things all year so it's not such a big hit. I do normally end up in a small amount of debt though.

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

I buy things if they are what I'm after during sales. It does help as it means I can get nicer presents for the budget I have set.

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

Yes, I have to as I'm an impulse buyer and would otherwise bankrupt us! The recession has meant we have to tighten our belts so the budget has reduced.

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

I do a mixture. I feel safe buying online as my bank is shit hot on fraud and bans my card left right and centre when it's me buying things!

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 wish I had some!

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 be spending approx 8-- including all food and drink for 8 people and 4 seperate days, and presents. We have buying all year though so not too bad.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 25-Oct-12 12:40:33

We save £100 each month into a separate account that then gets drawn out mid-November to use for Christmas spending.
That covers presents, tree (real so need one each year), a couple of Christmas days out like a visit to Thomas the Tank Engine or something similar, a couple of meals out. Also generous gifts to family who are hosting.

We don't always spend all of it, and strictly speaking we don't need to do it any longer, but I got into the habit when we were on a tight budget and finding £4-500 over a couple of months would have been really hard. Seems sensible to stick to it.

I never buy any gifts full price, and I do buy a lot online.

I don't do the thing of buying a few bits as I go along all year. I did this once, and started buying Christmas food bits in October and small gifts.
I ended up spending LOADS when I totted it up, far more than I do by saving through the year and spending over a short period of time.

We don't buy things for the sake of it. This year DH and I really don't need anything, so we will just spend about £50-60 on each other to make a nice stocking, and then we are buying something expensive for the house. It is something we need, but we can buy the version we really want this way without feeling overindulgent.

whatkungfuthat Thu 25-Oct-12 12:41:43

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 set a rough budget per person and shop all year round when I see something I think they will like, or if something is reduced.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? Yes, I buy gifts of toiletries in the January sales and I use sites like moneysavingexpert to find the best deals and to get sales alerts. I get all my wrapping, cards and crackers in January too if I can.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started? I always have set a budget for the 'duty' presents I have to buy and I have a rough figure that I won't go over for DC's, DP and DM. I have stopped doing a food order and make much more myself from scratch. I buy the half price meat offers that major supermarkets usually have in the run up to xmas - last year I got a large piece of beef for xmas day for £10 instead of the £50 I would have spent buying from a 'posher' xmas food ordering service. I have cut down a lot on food items and buy far fewer sweets now as the DC's get them given anyway. I always look in the reduced section in supermarkets for little things that are ideal for stockings, for instance I got some Bakugan reduced from £16.99 to under £2 recently.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? Both but I use the internet to make sure I know exactly where the cheapest deal is. I only use sites I have used before and trust.

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 we have made up some of those photo calendars of the DC's as gifts for family and used codes found online. This meant that I got 3 A4 calendars for £10 plus P&P. I always wait for half price toy sales and if I buy 3 for 2 I make sure that the 3rd item isn't an extra that I wouldn't normally have bought. I buy lots of things in the January sales too and keep them in an 'xmas' cupboard.

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 don't have a total amount but I do try and buy as cheaply as possible throughout the year for gifts, and look out for deals for food. I aim to have most of my gifts bought and wrapped by 1st Nov.

ShouldIWorryAbout Thu 25-Oct-12 12:47:25

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 plan Christmas spen very carefully, we have a strict budget which we stick to, we used to go mad, but we've now only got a single income and an additional family member to include
Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
We tend to purchase bits through te year to spread the cost, we also purchase all our Christmas cards, wrapping etc in the January sales
Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not?
We set a budget because everyone earns different amounts, and it makes gift giving fairer, we also deliberately set lower limits to make you work harder on finding a good gift.
Has this changed since the recession started?
Yes, we used to just put everything on the credit cards and pay it off in the new yer
Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I do shop online, but do not feel safe doing so, this is because I work in retail online security and know how bad it really can be. I use a specific card with a low limit to protect myself on line.
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 make a lot of our decoration an DD loves seeing her handiwork decorating the house, we also purchase a lot of generic Christmas stuff in January and keep it
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 will be very cheap, as we're only doing gifts for DD, and none of the adults

ZombieB64 Thu 25-Oct-12 12:56:33

I have to budget quite carefully, as my DC have their birthday in December so I have to plan for all that is involved there as well as the Christmas expense.

DH and I have set ourselve a budget of a maximum of £500 for the whole of this years Birthday/Cristmas expenditure, and we have both done overtime and/or AdHoc work this year to pay for this, as our normal household bills take up most of our basic earinings. We DON'T use any credit cards/loans. We used to, and this caused all sorts of problems in the past. If we hadn't already earned the extra, our budget would have been cut down.

I tend to do a lot Online-These last few years the DC have been wanting more expensive gadgets/gifts than before, and I tend to set a budget and stick with it. This has meant shopping for pre-owned stuff on Ebay and simular sites, as well as planning quite a bit ahead in order to be able to search, bid and win said items before they are needed. I started this process in September this year, and, as of this week, their birthdays are sorted, and also some Christmas stuff.

Food shopping - the past few years I have been given a Christmas bonus in the shape of a supermarket gift card, and so has my DH, and we tend to use these for fancy bits and pieces for christmas,we hope this will happen again this year, but I have a contingency budget set aside just in case.
We dont buy a lot of extras and we dont have a huge shop just before christmas either, especially as the shops are open most of the holidays. Our meat is ordered as part of a locally set up co-op with about 10 neighbours, (this was started 4 yrs agao by a neighbour and is brillient!) we buy in bulk and get better prices!

As for other family gifts, we only buy for our parents and neices and nephews and God-Children up to the age of 20yrs in our family, with a budget we as a whole extended family, set for each child.

I do tend to go for the shops where you buy 2 gifts/get 3rd free, to get small gifts and this year I have been getting a Post Office High Street gift card every couple of weeks to combine with that gift so the teens (and all DN's are now teens or above, mine are the youngest) can club these together with any money they get to buy more expensive items.

This is looking super organised, I know, but having been caught out with overspending in the past, to the cost of really struggling with finances and having to cancel a family holiday that year, I learned my lesson!

MyLifeIsStillChaotic Thu 25-Oct-12 13:13:54

I regularly go to TK Maxx and buy gifts at cheaper than their rrp in the few months before Christmas. It is a pain because you need to make many trips to find the odd 'gem' but it's worth it for the saving and I walk there on my lunchbreak so I don't incurr fuel costs to go regularly. Otherwise yes, I try to only buy in sales.

I don't set a budget for food and drink, I just try to keep it as low as I can. I do for gifts though. No more than £15 for friends' children (but preferably more like £10) And for the first time this year my husband and I have set a budget for each other's gifts. Our children are the only ones I'm more flexible about, I'm not sure why confused

I feel safe shopping online in big stores such as Amazon/toys r us etc, but not websites I've come across say through google. I am always worried about buying stuff and it never appearing.

I don't really have any money saving tips as such, but I do try to look out for food bargains in the run up to Christmas and put aside, as well as start buying presents in September to spread the cost.

I will probably spend in the region of £350 - £400

tugamommy Portugal Thu 25-Oct-12 13:15:06

hey'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 don't spend much as there's just the 4 of us and no family around. We only send presents to very close relatives and have a budget of ~£30 for that. We'll probably spend an extra £300 in December, all included and that comes out of the December budget. No surprises for the new year.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? Yes! Always looking out for sales. The 24th is a very good day for shopping for that reason!

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 do so we don't overspend. Since the recession budgets are lower.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? Shop mostly online as get much better deals. And yes, 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? Definitely fewer gifts. Try not to buy when in doubt as that will potentially embarass someone and start a precedent. Most presents are rubbish anyway. I hardly ever get anything I really like and I would say most people feel the same.

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. I've been buying a few bits but it will mostly come out of December's budget.

HannahLI Thu 25-Oct-12 13:29:45

I don't think my spending has changed because of the recession but I am very aware that if you leave it to the last minute Christmas can cost you a lot. So I have been thinking about Christmas for most of the year. In the January sales I brought Christmas cards and wrapping paper ready as it is such a good price. Then throughout the year I have been buying presents as I see them and also when they are a good price too, that way the cost of presents is spread more equally across the year. I am always careful to not spend to much and we have a tradesmen agreement for different family members to how much we would normally spend, and for example my sister has already asked if she can just have the money so I have planned that in.
I don't think we spend much more on food and because we eat with then bigger family we all bring something so the cost is spread. As such I haven't put a physical amount in the budget on Christmas but I feel I do have a handle on it if that makes sense.
I love shopping online and find it so convenient there are some presents that I look at in a shop then order online hopefully at a better price. Kids toys are the easiest to do online for me, as clothes are a bit trickier and sometimes need to be seen! I tend to use well known and reliable online brands. On saying that last Christmas I ordered my sister some perfume from a site that looked legit but I was cautious and so used my credit card to give myself some extra protection in case it wasn't, PayPal is also good for this. I never use my debit card for these transactions.
As for tips I have been trying to keep spending on the kids at bay, and for friends kids. Our tendency is to spoil them a bit but actually I know my two love the box as much as the present!

Gethsemane Thu 25-Oct-12 13:30:41

I don't usually set a budget. I just have in mind roughly how much I intend on spending on each individual (which I then tend to go over). This year will be different. I need to stick to a strict budget - including food / drink etc, as we are feeling the pinch of the recession. I will probably start buying presents soon to even out the financial burden over the forthcoming couple of months. I haven't been saving specifically for Christmas - I just try to squirrel away what I can each month ( not much at the moment - there is not much surplus from my pay cheque after paying for child care).
I don't have any special discount tricks, I tend to just decide what I want to buy in store then look online for the cheapest trustworthy retailer (usually amazon).

Bogeyface Netherlands Thu 25-Oct-12 13:35:16

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? All bills are budgeted for, including Xmas for which I put away a set amount per month

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
I do keep my eye out for sales and discounts, I think it would be silly not to, it does make my budget go further (3 for 2 for instance) but I dont rely on them.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not?
I do have a rough budget per person for gifts, and a rough budget for food and drink. I dont tend to spend all of my budget though, I prefer to overestimate and have money left over than struggle, although our budget is small I think compared to most.

Has this changed since the recession started?
No, I have always been budget conscious and in fact, since I started saving in advance for Xmas I would say that actually I spend more than I did 3 years ago as I am not trying to find it all in one go.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
It depends. If I know the exact item that I want to buy then I am happy to shop online if it means I can get a good deal. If I am not sure then I will shop on the high street. I feel safe shopping online as I only use well known and reputable retailers such as Boots, Amazon etc

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 did a home-made Xmas a few years ago and actually found that it cost me more! The gifts were much more appreciated by the recipients, but the cost of materials etc meant that it would have been much cheaper to buy stuff ready made. In the couple of months before Xmas I start to stockpile food. I always host on Xmas day and although our guests do bring things, I would still struggle to pay for everything in one go. I check use by dates or if things can be frozen, and buy a bit at a time in the 10/12 weeks running up to Xmas. We dont have turkey as no one likes it so I buy 3 chickens which works out much cheaper as I buy them on offer. I dont send Xmas cards anymore, apart from a couple of special ones to older members of the family. That saves me a small fortune. I dont use Xmas wrapping paper either, I use plain shiny paper that I buy throughout the year as it usually works out cheaper and better quality. I make everything food wise from scratch, convenience foods are madly expensive and dont taste as nice. I over cook potatoes, stuffing and veg on Xmas day and we have leftovers for the next two days, saving cooking costs and minimising food costs.

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 have been saving all year, and will have £500 for gifts for my 6 children, my parents, sister and brother in law.

Bogeyface Netherlands Thu 25-Oct-12 13:38:26

Btw, when I say "over cook" I mean I make far more than we need, not that I overcook them til they are mush!

prettybird Thu 25-Oct-12 13:38:26

What plans do 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?
Finances are in order as had/have good savings - but need to work on getting more income into the house.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Always check for deals and try to buy "general" gifts when there is a 2 for 1 or 3 for 2 offer on.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Have an approximate budget (using Flylady's "Getting Ahead for Christmas" plan). Never borrow to get gifts though. Also try to start buying small things during weekly shops in the months before hand to spread the bill.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
Mixture of the two. If I have something specific in mind, that I know I can get on-line, I will look there to see if I can get a better deal. If I'm not sure what to get, I will go into town to have a wonder and hope to be struck with inspiration. Sometimes I will then go home and search again on-line, rather than automatically buying in the shop.

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?
Have started making hampers for friends and family, with homemade jam, biscuits, spicy almonds, tablet, spiced salt and so on, all wrapped up nicely. Have also knitted things. Effort is often even more appreciated than the monetary cost of a gift. smile

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?
On gifts, probably about £500. Food, may £200 more. Have started putting "extras" into my weekly shop. The jam was made earlier this summer with fruit from the garden! 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?

I don't save throughout the year for Christmas, but what I do is to make sure that all the major bills have been paid and also paid in advance so that my salary the month before Christmas is all available for Christmas shopping. So, although I dont save a bit as I go along each month, I save it another way by paying extra for bills in the 11 months previous so I have spare money.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
If I see a major bargain from say September onwards then I will buy it, if not then I tend to just buy everything in November/December.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Yes I do set budgets for gifts for each person and also try and budget for food/drink. It has changed since recession - prior to recession I didnt worry too much if I went over budget because I could recoup it, however now it is much harder to do that so have to budget.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I do shop online where possible to avoid the crowded shops at this time of year. I do feel safe shopping online, however, I only use sites that I trust.

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 always agree a budget with family/friends so we stick to it, this helps. Also, I collect supermarket points throughout the year and use this for food shopping - they really add up and make a huge difference to me. We also agree that we only buy for children and do a secret santa for all the adults.

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year?
This year we will probably spend about £1500 on Christmas.

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?
I have only bought 2 gifts so far this year, however I will have the money saved by the time I do my Christmas shopping.

kitchendancer Thu 25-Oct-12 14:21:46

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?

Normally I decide on the amount I would spend on people and work it out from there - or if there is something specific that I know someone wants or needs then I price it up and work out the budget from there. But his year is the worst year we've ever had with DH redundant , a move north of the border for family illness reasons and my freelance work suffering as a result and TBH I have no idea how we will even sort out the kids at the moment. just praying that one of us gets a job or significant contract fast. Additionally, my eldest daughter has her birthday in December and my mother in law on Christmas day so it feels like a double whammy!

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

Yes absolutely. I have seen several groupon offers for example that I would love to go for but I can't afford to do that right now. I'm hoping something comes up work-wise fast and there will still be some good offers around. Also looking ion gumtree and ebay for kids stuff as earlier in the year we promised DD that we would get her a new bike for Christmas or birthday ( also December) because hers is too small!

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

I have always set a budget but then, when earning well, usually ending up adding in a few extras at the last moment and breaking the budget - it will be very different this year!

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

online usually easier for most things. although about 2 years ago was disastrous as the weather was so bad half the stuff didn't arrive till after Christmas and some of it didn't arrive at all. Once, I ordered a load of different things through Amazon and must have pressed the order button twice or something as I got two of everything! went massively overdrawn and had to bear the cost of sending everything back - horrendous! I have learned from my mistakes...! I do like to go to a shop and touch, smell etc but sometimes it is so much quicker to do the online thing and you can search for bargains easier that way. I have only had one bad experience on the security side of shopping and learned from that too - always check there is a contact address/phone etc on any website - if there isn't then it is immediately dodgy ( and illegal!).

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?

Once I know what the children really want I do a list and ask relatives who would buy them things anyway to choose one item off the list. That helps get them get what they need/really want (rather than just a load of stuff they didn't want but will happily squirrel away in a corner of their room anyway!) but means we don't feel that we have to buy everything. Kids today seem to have too much overall and it's hard to teach them to lower their expectations when it seems the norm with other kids at school etc. It's also got just too commercial now. should be about so much more than presents. In my view, parents shouldn't be teaching their kids to write a list for Santa - they should be allowed to only ask for one or two presents and that is the end of it.

Another thing I love to do is when I know that say, youngest daughter wants a particular dolly, and oldest wants a science set, I go to somewhere like toys R Us (worst service in the world in my experience), scan the barcodes into a RedLaser app or something and then see where I can get that toy cheaper. i also do this when I see things that I think others might like - it acts as a list of possible things as well as giving me the info to get a bargain. I've already started doing this now. These apps are also really helpful for those supermarket bargains that look irresistible - I have used it several times on this and discovered a better deal for the same product elsewhere and it has stopped me buying it at the supermarket or sometimes meant I haven;t bought it at all ( which just goes to show how easy it is to be drawn in).

Groupons are good too and Social Shopper - start looking out for things now. and of course e-bay and gumtree if you don't mind something that is slightly second hand. most things are in good condition and if you only buy local then you can see before you make your final decision.

I also save up my nectar points and tesco points and then use them either on the Christmas grocery shop or for wine etc - either as presents or for the gluttonous part of the festival! I do this with boots points too but I have a rule that they are mine only - for buying perfume or nice foundation etc! ( i used to use them to buy nappies and then thought what am I doing?!)

My husband came home with a kids telescope the other day for £3 from a charity shop and eldest daughter is science/space mad so we have put it away for either birthday or Christmas. You can still find good stuff that way.

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?

Nothing to save this year! But I have started buying really small things (like boxes of biscuits/chocs) that I know I like to have as gifts for nursery, school etc. I've learned that if you don't pick up the bargains form about now they are usually not on any longer in the week or two before Christmas.

I think it's also really important that we try to teach children that Christmas should be about giving rather than just receiving. Of course, I'm not completely Victorian , of course they should have a few pressies! But I do think that our culture has gone a bit mad with that one and we need to reverse the trend.

lottytheladybird Thu 25-Oct-12 14:31:38

I start thinking about the next Christmas on Boxing Day of the Christmas just gone! That's when you can grab some bargains in the sales. As people have got married and had children, I've found that we're having to buy for ever more people.

I try and buy all our presents online if I can, as going Christmas shopping with two little ones is not much fun! I feel totally safe with online shopping and is definitely my preferred method of shopping.

I try and buy presents throughout the year so that I have less to buy near Christmas time. Otherwise, I find present buying not very enjoyable, if I have to buy lots all at once. It also helps with the finances, if the purchases are spread out.

I used to make some of my own gifts before I had children. Now, I have a 2 year old and a 6 month old, I just don't have the time.

We will probably spend £250 on Christmas this year.

shewhomustbeEbayed Thu 25-Oct-12 14:32:04

I pick up presents ( including clothes ) during the year from charity shops / jumble sales / boot sales and also re-gift ( take something like toiletries out of it's packaging and repackage, putting in a nice mug in cellophane looks good ) I also make up hampers and ask a local florist to put cellophane and a bow on which usually costs about £3.
I read all the supermarket grocery booklets coming up to Christmas and shop around.
My partner wants an exercise bike which I'll probably get off ebay.
My daughter of 9 loves books ( probably because she didn't grow up with electronic games ? ) and I get her box sets from Book People ( I save points during the year )
I save points from The Mail during the year to use on gift vouchers for Christmas.
I do a lot of competitions and put the prizes aside.
I did a cardmaking evening course so will be making the cards.
I have to do this even though myself and my partner work full time because everything is Sooo expensive.

kellestar Thu 25-Oct-12 15:13:17

In previous year's I've been ultra-organised and had presents bought by Mid October. With a strict budget I bought all presents as DH used to panic and buy rubbish and spend a fortune. We never got into debt over christmas, both of us were earning well and could afford the budget reasonably. I would prefer to shop online, but also found

DD will be two this year, the week before christmas. Last year I left my job after a period of maternity leave.

Last Christmas I decided to speak to my relatives [there are lots of them] and see if we could come to some arrangement. Distant relatives are happy with a nice card, a note and some pictures of our family [they will do the same from now on].

Closer relatives were more awkward, as they felt that gift giving is an essential part of Christmas and were upset by my suggestions. They only buy us beer, I don't drink, so it only ends up being passed on [usually back to them]. Or a box of roses, which to be honest I could do without. The gifts really are not personal so thought they wouldn't be that bothered.

Last year I decided to suck it up and make some hampers of home made goodies. Jam, Chutney, Marmalade, Biscuits and Sweets. It wasn't expensive and was quite rewarding to make. They were very well received [surprisingly]. I will be doing them again, DD loves making things, so can't wait to get her in the kitchen with me.

I refuse to get into debt over Christmas, with DD's birthday so close it can be quite tight, but we put money aside throughout the year to use for this season. If we can't afford it we won't get it. But we still make sure we have fun.

DD is so young and gets lots of gifts from our relatives that to be honest we hardly have to buy her anything. She gets a gift from us and some odds and ends in her stocking. It's the same at her birthday, we tend to buy her a gift that she may enjoy later in the spring.

Me and DH have reduced the budget we spend on each other. I like to get him a book, CD/DVD and a little luxury. He does spend a little more on me.

I did buy things in the sales last year, bits to make christmas cards and decorate the hampers, cookie cutters and other odds and ends for DD's presents. I will again this year.

As to food over christmas, as I now have the time, I buy from local producers at farmers markets, or local shops. It does reduce the budget, as long as I don't mind the footwork. We are lucky that our families live close by and we all host different meals over the period. We also get a fair share of the leftovers.

I think homemade doesn't necessarily mean naff, it can be really personal. Our families love food and the hamper really did mean they all enjoyed it. I also knit gifts for people who will appreciate it.

I take advantage of the free local events. A voucher in the paper last year for a free glass of non-alcoholic mulled wine at the Bath Christmas Markets. We all had a lovely [but cold] wander around looking at all the pretty things [while I made a note of the pretty things to make for next year]. Turning on the lights in Bath, we loved the wander about afterwards checking out all the sparklies. Even going for an evening drive around the houses checking out the christmas lights. Christingle Service at your local church [it's very child friendly and it's quite festive feeling].

burleyburley Thu 25-Oct-12 15:28:24

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 start buying bits from about sept but bigger things nearer the event.

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

- if it's something specific I'll try and find the cheapest online.

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 budget per family member. It'll prob be less this year.

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

Often buy online but we will have a trip to York in dec to buy a few of the more personal gifts.

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 expecting a baby a Christmas so that might be a good way out of gift buying, but maybe a bit extreme. Our family have started to really just buy for the children.

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'll spend about 250-300. We've already bought a few bits.

Indith Thu 25-Oct-12 16:16:48

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 manage it pretty well I think, therecertainly isn't anything to "sort" in Jan.

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

sales are useful so if there is something specific and i know there is a sale i might wait but in general i prefer to get what i want when i want rather than endure the hell that is a major toy sale.

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

it has not changed. i don't really budget as such but i never spend more than i can afford and try to but sensible choices.

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

mixture. if i know what i want i go online but i prefer to browse in store. if buying from a website i don't know or have not used before i tend to use my credit not debit card to add an extra layer of 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?

Just be sensible. christmas is about spending time together so don't spen what you can't afford, make memories not debt.^

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'll spend arount £10-£15 per child all in. family presents tend to be homemade so minimal costs. dinner this year is at my mum's so we are spared that expense but if we host we get nice things yes but it is just a fancy roast so no need to go mad. I've bought most presents already but i don't specifically save i just keep within my budget for housekeeping etc all year so i know the money for school shoes, clothes and special occasions is always there.

Tweet2tweet Thu 25-Oct-12 16:24:46

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 put £10 aside every month so that I have £110 come December.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
I buy a lot of Christmas presents in the January sales. I also buy my Christmas cards and wrap at that time too. I buy non-perishable items and am able to buy people much better presents for less cash.

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 as we don't have loads of spare cash. I also find that friends want to agree a maximum budget for present spend which means that no one feels they have underspent. For friends with kids we often buy gifts for the kids and just a bottle of wine/nice chocs for parents. We are all skint smile

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
Both. I tend to buy online from larger retailers and often get delivered to store so that I can get a refund right away if I'm not happy.

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?
Agree budgets with close friends and family. Don't buy 'all the trimmings' buy what you need and will use. So much goes into the bin around the 30th Dec! Often smaller more thoughtful gifts can have a bigger impact than a routine item. Don't feel bad about buying things in the sale if it is what the person would want. Put decorations away carefully and store, can be resused for many years if you take a bit of time.

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 save and spread the cost. In total about £200 on presents and then around £100 on food and drink. Another £100 on social activities

Silverlace Thu 25-Oct-12 16:39:23

I don't have a set budget but have an idea of how much I will spend on each person.

I try to buy things as I go along in the months running up to Christmas, especially stocking fillers etc so that it doesn't all come at once. I bought Christmas cards last year in the sale fro this year. I save money on postage by sending local one with the Scout Post.

When it comes to presents for the children I will look in shops then look on line to find the best deal. I often shop on line but usually only use reputable companies that I know well.

I will only spend what I can afford and will not get into debt. I don't spend a great deal on presents for anyone.

I usually spend a bit more one food, buying some sepcial things but I also make quite a lot.

Doobydoo Thu 25-Oct-12 18:12:13

Why do they want to know/
We live hand to mouth.I work in London in week and home weekends I earn 29500 before tax...London Weighting is taxed I pay for 2 places.We have very little indeed.
Hand to mouth and wing and a prayer!

poppy1973 Thu 25-Oct-12 18:40:07

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?

Well, we definitely don't have the money this year for Christmas, as we have been trying to get money together to purchase the odd kitchen cupboard every month. So money is tight. We will probably purchase the last 2 presents for the children the week before christmas and put it on the credit card so that we can pay off the following month.

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

I do keep a eye on the sales, have been looking for a cheap leappad etc and if it was on sale and I had enough money in vouchers then I would probably purchase.

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

As money is so tight this year, my parents in law have mentioned that they have a voucher for us for food from Tesco - so I have asked for it not to be spent on choccies, biscuits for the children and have asked if I can forward a shopping list for essentials for christmas i.e. stuffing, gravy, custard etc. as we have a few items in the cupboard from last year that we didn't use. Drinks we might buy a nice bottle of cava or wine for christmas day, but that will be it.

Has this changed since the recession started?
Yes - we have always been careful, but now worry about how we will pay off if we buy presents.

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

Yes I do buy online - but have saved up Amazon vouchers online and tend to purchase presents if any online - so it doesn't actually cost any money.

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?

Make your own gifts I made nice small scented cushions last year filled with lavendar for presents. I tend to recycle presents that I receive - especially for the children - if they dont use them or need them then I put them in the cupboard and wrap up to give to their cousins for next year.
Last year I save money and didn't post any cards but sent email cards. Might do this again next year to save money.

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 think in total we will spend £300 in total for presents and about £20 on the food.

poopoopoo Thu 25-Oct-12 19:14:31

I shop online, but mostly on Ebay; I think often you can find great second hand toys that will last. My children are still young and I only work part time but I will also buy a couple of new toys (the ones they see on the adverts and want!). I love car boot sales and often find new toys earlier in the year, so will put them aside for christmas. I do the food shopping online when the kids are asleep, so I can see all the offers easily and make the best choices without any distractions. I am careful to not spend too much more than normal on food- I just buy christmas type food instead of regular food- Turkey instead of Chicken....I also try to buy things they really need, but get extra special ones (such as: pants, socks, clothes). I feel fairly safe shopping online and use a credit card that is covered for fraudulent use. I don't really buy for adults, (with the exception of small gifts for work colleagues) but I do make hand cream for myself-so give a small pot to close family wrapped in tissue paper with a nice ribbon. I must admit I have never added up what I spend.

Erinlyn Thu 25-Oct-12 19:26:31

My husband and I decided two years ago to set up a separate account of Christmas spending. We put 50 pounds a month starting in January into this pot and so have close to 600 by the time Christmas arrives. It does mean that we tend to do all our shopping in December and miss some sales and promotions but it feels right to know we have saved all year so we can splurge a little bit. All our tesco and sainsburys points are saved through the year and are spent only on treats and extra gifts, chocolate, etc. This is what works for us and we are keen to begin our christmas preparedness! Only 2 months to go!

nextphase Thu 25-Oct-12 20:13:53

Firstly, can I say its ages til we can start on Christmas - got my fathers and husbands birthdays to come first (and Mum's just after).
Tho I think my oldest will start getting excited soon - last year he got excited, but didn't know what was really happening.

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?

Were lucky. It will all go on the credit card, and get paid off in full when when bill arrives (from savings)

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

we'll take advantage of offers if something really good is on, but generally wait til mid december, and see what's around.

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

Food - no budget, but we don't go overboard.
Presents - for friends and friends kids, we'd got for about £10.
Family, depends. If they don't really want anything, they will get a token, personally relevant present. If there is something they want (or need), will happily spend more.

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

Used to meet up with Mum half way between our homes, and get most of it done in a big shopping centre.

With the arrival of the kids, most gets done on line, tho it means lots of trips to the sorting office (which is nowhere near where we ever go, so miles out of the way) to pick stuff up.

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?

Don't go overboard. A carefully chose present, however cheep, means more to most people than the actual value.

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 really don't want to add it up.
I guess an extra £20 on a turkey rather than a normal roast.
£30 on booze (were all lightweights)
£20 on extras for christmas cake, mincepies etc
£10 on snacking crisps and nuts for DH

4 stockings at say, £40 each
Presents.... eck £600 maybe?
Tree £50
Advent calendars £10 (the non chocolate versions are really expensive compared to chocolate ones)

Plus some bits I'll have forgotten to ad. Probably about £1,000.
We need to cut back. Its too much!

BetsyBlingtastic Thu 25-Oct-12 20:51:56

I start buying for Christmas in the January sales and stock up on paper, cards and crackers, and keep an eye out all year for bargains that I think people will like - easier than trailing round the shops failing to be inspired by anything in December. At the moment I'm keeping an eye out for half price wine when I do my weekly online supermarket shop to build up a case of wine for a relative.

I'll probably spend all my Nectar points on presents and use Tesco vouchers for Days Out and experiences like car days/airplane rides etc for people, things I wouldn't dream of spending that amount of cash on. Also they do good value magazine subscriptions.

I bought my Aldi four bird roast for our Christmas dinner this week to put in the freezer, as they'd run out last year when I tried to get it just before the 25th. It is sooo tastyand a real bargain.

TKMaxx is good for nice toiletries and I'm clubbing together with siblings to buy an expensive present for DF.

Our tree is artificial which saves us money not buying a real one each year. Buy new decorations for it in the days after Christmas when they're heavily discounted.

Online shopping is my preference - easier to find the lowest price and use Quidco and vouchers for discounts - but it's nice to go round the festive shop displays and buy things that you hadn't thought about, especially little stocking fillers. It does annoy me though when they package things up at a premium price just for a cardboard carton and a ribbon, when they are much cheaper individually year round.

I like making food hampers tailoring contents to what people like - that always seems popular.

honoraglossop Thu 25-Oct-12 20:55:28

Its rare i pay full rrp for childrens presents.... Some second hand in good condition(wrapped in stocking from FC they dont notice lack of packaging) or in sales/on offer. I dont buy many grown up presents but do go infor a good hamper. Dvd plus sweets and popcorn is a "night in" hamper. Cinema ticket voucher and a baby sitting iou voucher for night out. Bookpeople box set chocs and bubble bath is what my sister normally gets!
Obviously dh and i dont give pressies to each other.
Ive always been stingy with money and this hasnt changed with the recession.

PepeLePew Thu 25-Oct-12 21:01:15

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 have a savings account that I transfer £50 a month into through the year, then use that to buy presents and things like the Christmas tree. Food and wine I buy from the normal household budget.

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

I do tend to keep an eye open through the year for things that are discounted, and buy them if they are fairly small items - the "bigger" presents for the dcs I tend to leave until later as I want to be sure it is what they want.

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

For gifts for the dcs, yes. For everything else, not really.

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

I feel totally safe shopping online. I don't think I bought anything in a shop last year.

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?

My brothers and I don't buy each other gifts now we all have children. We realised it was ridiculous when we all bought each other John Lewis vouchers two years ago. I do make gifts - I sew, so last year I made quilts for my parents and my grandmother which were enormous hits. However, fabric isn't cheap so I am not sure it was the money saving brainwave I thought it would be.

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 got some bits and pieces already - I've probably spent about £40 on each of the children, and will spend around another £100 on each of them. I have some things for nieces and nephews, and for my mother, but still have a few more items. I will probably spend most of the £600 budget I have set aside.

mumah Thu 25-Oct-12 21:32:46

I start keeping an eye out in the sales probably from September onwards. Especially with toys and books for DS and for friends/family children.

I also start putting money aside around the same time for purchasing my DH present.

I don't really set a budget for DS, we just buy him a main present, probably 10 or so smaller things to open and then his stocking. We do set a budget with family and friends presents and we set a limited for what my partner and I will spend on each other.

GetKnitted Thu 25-Oct-12 21:52:13

I suspect my tips are completely unuseful to anyone, but here goes:

only buy pressies that you know are needed
eat a normal-size dinner on christmas day
don't increase chocolate consumption

voila, cheap crimbo

When my dd1 was born she was due in nov and so i made sure that xmas was sorted by sept that year. It made for such a heavenly christmas that i make sure i do it all early and it def helps with the budget.

Use a clubcard or equivelent all year. I also use a tesco credit card as a fuel card to maximise my points. I then save the vouchers and buy toys and games during a double exchange event.

Shop all year, set a budget per person and keep scouring the net and get something when you see it. Argos clearance and amazon discount finder are excellent for cheap toys, fashion items and amazon particularly for jewellery.

Make food in advance and freeze it. Ham terrine, mince pies, stuffing ive made it all in advance to spread the cost before.

Making things is fine if you can do a decent job, food items are always the best but package them really nicely.

Wrapping can be costly but last year i used brown paper and baking twine with a candy cane tied on. It was cheap but looked fab.

I never put christmas on tic, i allocate an amount per person and set an amount for food. But spreading it over the year helps. If you save the money up instead to splurge in dec you'll miss the deals. I found a suzy smith bag reduced from 70 quid to 7 on amazon in july.

ettiketti Thu 25-Oct-12 22:27:44

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?
ive saved £50/mth all year, not a huge amount but enough to buy gifts for our 3 children without worrying. It's the first time I've ever done it, and I'm so glad I have as I'd be worrying now

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
i always search out a discount or bargain but if I really want to buy something and there isn't one, it doesn't stop me, within reason

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 because I normally host for my parents so they buy the food and I cook it. This year it's just us, but to be honest it's a glorified Sunday roast with a few treats alongside. No big deal

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
a mixture. Some great bargains to be had online, I can't resist. I do enjoy shopping in person, if I know what I'm looking for and am likely to get it. The Internet has made me very lazy in this respect, everything at my fingertips

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?
definitely buy fewer gifts, or token gifts to show you are but without the big price tag

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 saved £500, I'm hoping another £100 tops will cover everything. I can afford more, but choose not to.

is1 Thu 25-Oct-12 22:36:34

I tend to buy stocking fillers throughout the year, I add them to my amazon basket then look at that every few days - sometimes the price of amazon items drops for a day or two then goes back up again, so I try to catch it at a low point. I don't budget as such but I know approximately how much I want to spend on each person and tend to stick to that. Almost all my shopping is online. Also, try to do almost all food shopping at least a week before Christmas as have noticed that all the offers have usually finished by then plus I'm less likely to forget something important.

stephgr Fri 26-Oct-12 00:14:42

I buy things throughout the year in order to spread the cost and take advantage of special offers and discounts. For everything else, I tend to wait for special offers and use online voucher codes. I've never really set a strict limit but I definitely use more discounts and vouchers now. In fact it's almost got to the point where I don't want to buy unless I have a voucher or discount code!

nickschick Fri 26-Oct-12 07:35:49

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 manage it very well by budgeting throughout the year ...this year things have changed financally things are very much tighter...I cant do much throughout the year as theres always something else needing the spare (haha) cash.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
I try and check out sales and promotions and this has helped a lot in the past.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
The children all have similar amounts and i budget that to what I can afford at that point .....the shopping I spend the same as my weekly shop plus about £100 but that includes goodies and drinks etc although the meat I buy bit by bit either having my friend collect me a turkey crown from aldi <delish> or bu buying a few stamps each week at the supermarket in the weeks before christmas

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I dont really enjoy shopping online as i like the atmosphere in the shops and since HMV had my card stopped when i did order online as they take a stupid amount first to check its a live account....santander became suspicious when a 2p transaction was debited and held my card in case it was fraudulent angry just what you need 2 weeks before christmas.

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?
Its christmas its not make every wish come true its not just about the day its the time leading upto it too

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year?
It depends what we can afford what I can sell on ebay etc etc

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?
about now I start buying and seriously planning for christmas.

kat200 Fri 26-Oct-12 08:07:30

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 start looking for partential presents everytime there is a sale on even if it is january!! the presents can also sometimes be used as birthday presents as weel but its a good start.
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 try and get bottles of wine on sale through out the year especially if hardy wine is on offer as it always goes down well.
Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
yes i go on amazon alot for dvd and cd instead of trailing around the shops
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?
yes i always make a christmans cake and decorate my self with sugar icing and wrap up, it shows that alot of thought and effort has gone into the present making it unique for each person.
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?
normally after gathering things throughout the year spreading the cost we only spend an extra 50-100 depending what we managed to get throughout the year..

glitch Fri 26-Oct-12 08:20:35

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 just spend what I have spare in Oct / Nov / Dec. As things are so much tighter now I think I will start saving earlier next year. I like the idea of putting £50 aside each month. I won't be getting in to debt to cover the costs though.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? I usually look around for cheaper prices. The internet has been great for that. I don't really wait for sales as such, just shop around.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Yes, everyone has an amount I spend, and a set amount for food and drink (although it isn't set in stone). I have to otherwise I would be in debt by January. My budget is certainly smaller since the recession.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
Most of my shopping is done online. I get better prices and more choice.

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 online for better deals. Don't assume that because something says it is in the sale you can't get it cheaper somewhere else.

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 will probably spend about £500 in total including all food and presents for the 2 weeks. I haven't bought anything yet!!

KidderminsterKate Fri 26-Oct-12 09:07:38

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 have lots of saving accounts for things like car maintenance and holidays etc - one of these is for Xmas. i have a standing order set up each month to put a bit aside so Christmas isn't a shock.

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

No, i don't really start buying until the end of November otherwise I find I spend more by buying bits all the time. I am very careful though and shop around for the best prices.

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

Sort of. I have a budget for Xmas gifts but food is included in the weekly shop. We eat at my parents on xmas day and MILs on boxing day so getting extra treats in balances that out.

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

Both. happy to 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?

Don't panic buy or get things for the sake of it. I do bake stuff. Do gingerbread men for the kids stockings and have made mulled wine for people in the past.

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'll spend:
£20 on parents, in laws, sister and bil
£50-75 per child (and this will include some bits they need such as socks and vests)
perhaps an extra £30 above what I'd normally spend on food for treats
£5 on the dog
£20 going out for meal at Xmas with work
£60 on going to the panto

I've saved for this throughout the year.

Snog Fri 26-Oct-12 09:09:56

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 have recently increased my working hours so we will be able to afford christmas this year.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? I only really look for bargains on the ingredients for homemade sweets/chocs/biscuit gifts. I don't have much time or opportunity to shop any more.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started? I know how much I plan to spend per person and track this on a spreadsheet each year. Our budget has increased as I am working more hours since the recession.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? Both. 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?
I like the idea of doing a kind of secret santa for gifts so that each person only buys and receives one gift but it is a decent one. Haven't done this in our family though as its like herding cats. I do make some gifts but like other posters I don't find this any cheaper.

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? About £1,000 I expect, spent over Nov & Dec.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Fri 26-Oct-12 09:25:33

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 start shopping for christmas as early in the year as I can, usually starting in the January sales for smaller things like stocking gifts wrapping paper and cards. I never buy anything that i cant pay for then and there and on the few occasions i have had to order something from catalogs if thats the only place i can get an item then i pay for it as soon as the bill comes in, I never take any debt from christmas into the new year.

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

I dont necessarily wait for sales but I do take advantage of sales throughout the year to buy gifts.

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

I dont tend to set budgets for gifts, i dont agree with spending the same on each child, they get what they want/need/like. Budgeting for food and drink doesnt really happen either, I buy a few christmassy treats with each shop during the months leading up to christmas (starting september) and save my tesco clubcard vouchers throughtout the year to pay for the turkey, other than that we dont go mad with food shopping.

* Has this changed since the recession started?*

I probably spend less on gifts than i used to but ive never been someone who spends a fortune on christmas so the recession hasnt really changed my christmas shopping habits.

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

I shop online and in person, i reasearch gifts online to find the cheapest place to buy it and if it can be brought in store i will go and buy it in person rather than order 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?

Dont get yourself into debt, its just a day and it really is the thought that counts, you dont have to spent £1000`s of pounds. elderly relatives of mne really loved the homemade cookies i made last year as gifts and a batch of cookies also meant i had something to offer guests on boxing day.

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year?

About £300 including gifts, food and drink

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?

I have nearly finished christmas shopping, i brought all cards and wrapping paper in January, stocking gifts throughout the year and bigger gifts from september

internationalvulva Fri 26-Oct-12 11:30:17

I set our rolling budget for the next year on a monthly basis, so inJan we already know how much we have for Xmas that Dec. This means that I can pick things up as and when I see them. I record everything i have bought on a separate Xmas spreadsheet so I know I'm sticking to my budget!

In addition to that budget i often pick up bits and pieces as part of the weekly food budget throughout the year, so if i see a dvd the kids would like i sneak it in the trolley and pay for it out of that weeks food money. This way I manage to get my stocking fillers, and Xmas eve elf basket sorted by about this time every year.

I also save all my nectar points all year, which pays for the extra food shop for the 3 days of Xmas.

We pay for everything we can throughout the year on my credit card, pay the balance off monthly, and collect the points on that too. This year that's earned me about £150 in amazon vouchers, which takes care of Santa this year!

looking back on that o suppose it looks quite anal, but it does mean we can afford to have a nice Christmas every year. If I didn't budget like this it would be very different!

I have a rough budget for Christmas generally start shopping in October. This is the first year I have Ds to buy for but as he's only 7mo it won't make much difference (I don't see the point in spending a fortune on a baby). In my family we only buy for children and partners but I will normally send home made fudge or shortbread to the adults.

I mostly shop in stores but do a lot of research online in advance to make sure I get the best deals. The exception to this is the inevitable Amazon shop.

From October we set aside a certain amount of our monthly budget for Christmas gifts. After that is spent that's it. We never pay for Christmas on credit. Wherever possible I'll buy in sales and take advantage of 3 for 2 offers. I don't spend more than £20 per child and £50 on my partner.

I haven't Bernard saving money for Christmas as we bit gifts out of our disposable income in October, November and December. I do save Nectar points throughout the year though. As well as Sainsburys shopping I have my Amazon account linked to Nectar and will only buy fuel where I get points. At the moment I have around £140 of points which will pay for Turkey, Wine and anything else for Christmas dinner.

Any other food is bought gradually throughout the year. If I go into poundland or home bargains I'll pick up nuts or chocolates or if I see a good offer in a supermarket I'll pick it up.

Other than Christmas day our food spend doesn't change as we both work over Christmas.

Declutterbug Fri 26-Oct-12 12:36:39

We budget annually andset aside a bit each month to cover the cost of Christmas (and birthdaysm and all sorts of other things!)

I do try to plan early and buy ahead in sales, but that more often works for birthdays than Christmas. I try to make sure I have time to shop around online for the best deals on presents we want to give too.

Online shopping is far preferable and cheaper. sometimes I get things delivered to the store to avoid postage charges.

This year I'm not going to send paper Christmas cards to anyone except elderley relatives. The postage costs are now too high.

telsa Fri 26-Oct-12 13:00:00

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

I don't wait for sales, but if I notice items on sale, I will go to those first. Also go to the reduced racks in places like Paperchase, or go for 3 for 2 offers etc. I also check online prices and secondhand to see if specific things can be got cheaper.

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

I do not set budgets. I am far to chaotic a person who wants to spend time on other things. If I had less money, I would have to, I guess.

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

I feel safe-ish shopping online. I worry about items missing in the post and I hate the difficulty of returns by post (and the extra cost). I prefer buying in person, but sometimes the cost savings are too good to resist. Hope to buy some gifts on a business trip to US next month - that way I can get cheap things that are not found here (t-shirts, kitchen stuff etc).

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?

Avoid rubbishy plastic tat that children play with and then break. But good quality gifts, but far far fewer. Make what you can - communal gifts - games, food stuffs are the best in many ways. These bring people together.

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?

No idea. Food will cost a lot - £300 or so over the festive days. We don't spend a fortune on presents - maybe £200 between the 4 of us, plus presents for other relatives.

Greenantobe Fri 26-Oct-12 13:14:27

I budget for Christmas very carefully as I am the main wage earner and my dh is the homemaker - we have secret santa in his family, so we can budget £30, and I wait until November to buy this, as his family like to tell you what they want!!!

With my side of the family, we spend a maximum of £5 on everyone, which helps to keep costs down - it is also fun seeing how inventive you can be! I start in the new year sales and carry on through the year - I often pick up really nice second hand things cheaply at yard sales, and no one minds this, so they get a nice present at a fraction of the cost. A lot of the rest of my family are very talented and make presents from their garden produce or give something that they have sewn / knitted! There are loads of great idea on moneysavingexpert.com on christmas presents for under £5.

For our children, they always write themselve's a list of things that they want, but they also know that they won't get everything, as Father Christmas's sleigh will only fit so many presents on it, and it has to be shared around all the children in the world! We will probably spend a maximum of £50 each on them, including the stocking bits and pieces.

Now the children are at school, we will not need to buy decorations for a long time - they are always making things towards the end of term, which gives a lovely feel to the decorations.

For food, wherever we eat, we tend to all pitch in, so it is never too much pressure on just one family to provide food for everybody! This year we are at my parents, and my brother, sister and I will divide up a course each and the wine, and my parents will do condiments / extras / tea time.

I have to be really careful in December as I also get paid on 20th instead of 25th, and this means trying really hard not to lose my head and buy lots of last minute items (it's very tempting), as I have to last until 25 January!

JackThePumpkinKing Fri 26-Oct-12 13:20:46

I do try and buy early as well, as and when I see things online (I never buy anything in shops, I always buy online).

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 and save £50 a month throughout the year to pay for Christmas and most Birthdays. Seems to work well.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
No, not really sales. I do use Quidco for cashback, and ebay for some gifts though, or vouchers if I can find any.

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 loose budget on how much we spend per person, yes. This hasn't changed since the recession - but it hasn't gone up either!

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I never really buy anything in the shops, bar the odd thing that I see in the supermarket. I find it much more cost-effective to buy online and use any free delivery vouchers, cashback or offers that I can.

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 keep a Christmas spreadsheet (yes yes, I know). So I don't lose track of what I've bought and it makes sure I don't spend too much.
I also buy early. I've been caught out too often by items being out of stock or going up in price.

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 try and keep it under £200 which I normally manage to stick to, but then spend another £50 ish on drinks, stocking fillers, decorations or

FreckledLeopard Fri 26-Oct-12 13:36:09

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 my finances, make use of online banking, mobile banking apps, Experian etc - unfortunately said management does not translate to having a healthy bank balance or getting rid of debt sad.

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

I try to get things on sale, or take advantage of 3 for 2 offers etc, or ebay/Amazon. In terms of things like decorations, Christmas cards, I try to buy these in the January sales for the following year.

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

I don't have an exact budget as such, but try not to spend unnecessarily.

Has this changed since the recession started? No

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

Online as much as possible, to avoid having to traipse around stores with crowds of people.

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?

Home-made Christmas puddings are good gifts, (if you plan in advance and make them ahead of time). Similarly, decorating tree with iced biscuits hanging on pretty ribbons is fun. I try to avoid buying generic crap stuff that won't get used, and instead try to think of useful or thoughtful 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 not hosting Christmas this year (thankfully), so shouldn't have to spend too much. Am hoping less than £300 (including tree, gifts, decorations, food).

Trills Fri 26-Oct-12 14:10:36

DP and I agree on an amount to spend on each other.

Spending on our respective families and friends comes out of our own personal budgets.

I haven't bought anything yet.

We're not hosting anyone so we'll spend a bit more on food than usual but not loads and loads.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 26-Oct-12 16:38:25

I have an Xmas budget, all set out on an XL spreadhsheet - budget for each child, for DH, for relatives, for food. As I spend I log it in the relevant category! The budgets have being cut by a third this year due to the recession.

We pay ourselves quarterly and I put away a quarter of the Xmas budget at each payday. I also have an M&S credit card which I use all year to pay for everything (and pay off in full each month) and amass around £250 loyalty points, plus around £50 in boots. They really help!

Arcticwaffle Fri 26-Oct-12 16:55:20

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 always sort finances before I spend, I'm really wary of using credit or taking loans.

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

Yes, I buy in the sales when I see things.

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, and no change since recession started. But I'm naturally frugal/skinflint so I tend towardds careful budgeting anyway.

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

I like shopping online, I don't much like real life shops, online is fast and easy. Yes it feels safe enough.

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 also mostly buy gifts for children, I tell people not to bother for me, and that limits the shopping and the excess stuff we don't need (which worries me, all that waste, I prefer getting less).
What I try and do is buy things we'd buy anyway and wrap them up as presents, so the dc get quite a bit but it's not a massive extra expenditure.

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 buy things over the year but don't particularly need to, we maybe don't spend as much on Christmas as some families. we buy lots secondhand, we all like making things, and our families don't expect huge presents. Maybe we spend about £100 per child, plus extra food and drink, plus parties and work drinks and work and social meals out which do add up if you're counting those.

B3nnyB0y Fri 26-Oct-12 16:57:09

We’ve changed our habits a lot over the last 3 or 4 years. We now only buy gifts for the kids as there are now so many and we do 80% of the shopping online, never had a problem doing this and with the extra protection of a credit card hope never to have one.

Things like nectar points and Tesco card points are saved all year for Christmas and although there is no set budget for gifts we never really go too crazy. Most of the kids love the boxes anyway.

DorsetKnob Fri 26-Oct-12 19:38:09

I joined my work thrift in January which pays out next month, I left half way through so not sure how much is in there but I am guessing about £400. I managed to secure work and went straight from one job to the next and as I was on casual hours and paid in arrears by a couple of weeks I had an overlap of being paid for two jobs, so DC's main presents were brought then.

I have always planned early in the year what to get people so most are bought or in the process of being made. Book people for cheap stocking presents/unexpected presents are excellent.

We don't buy presents for each other or only a token gift and this year will put a voucher in an enveloped to take my parents out for a smart dinner somwehere, they like eating out and are the typical have everything people and are really difficult to buy for.

sleepyhead Fri 26-Oct-12 19:48:28

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
I try to get what I want on sale and shop around, but I'd rather get something smaller that I knew the person would like rather than something that seemed a great bargain just because it was on sale.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Yes, I've got a general idea in my head about the max I'd spend on each person, but I'd go over that if I saw something they'd really love and save money elsewhere. I don't think I'm spending less than in the past - the budget's probably been the same for a good few years, going up a little as there are more children to buy for.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I probably do most of my shopping online now. I use "click and collect" type things for shops like John Lewis, Boots or Tesco quite a bit to save on postage and queues.

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 Tesco vouchers. They had a voucher swap for gifts and toys last year that paid for a lot of things. I also managed to get some things from Boots using Advantage points which helps.

The main thing that helps is that we don't have a tradition in either of our families of buying gifts beyond the immediate family which cuts down massively on the number of presents we have to buy. As soon as children come along the parents stop getting presents from aunts and uncles/siblings, so we don't expect to receive, or have to give, presents to cousins, aunts/uncles, brothers, sisters. This will seem really mean to some, but it works for our family and we seem to enjoy a great Christmas without piles of gifts for the adults to unwrap. My friends and I don't buy gifts but we'll have a night out at some point.

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 save for Christmas, but as said above, have a limited number of gifts to buy. I'll probably spend about £60 on my parents, £20 on my grandmother, £50 on dh, £50-£80 on ds, and around £60 total on my 3 nephews and niece. We'll be at my parents for Christmas so don't have to buy Christmas dinner but will spend about £50 on cheese and wine to take with us. So around £300 in total.

prettybusymummy Fri 26-Oct-12 20:45:38

I start my shopping in the summer sales, everything is bought in sales, or on a 3 for 2 or using loyalty points. I buy most thing so online although my card was cloned last year I am still doing it. I never use credit cards for Christmas and I do not like going into debt, although if you use sites like Next or Very there is not any option.

What plans you have to get finances in order?
This year, the credit crunch finally caught up with us, and so we have had to cut our cloth to fit since last Christmas.

In the past we have been bitten by debt, and it took so long to pay it off, and was such a struggle I learned it isn't worth overspending to be in that situation again.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Yes, we have to. Although a lot of the current sales prices seem to be the normal full price, and the full prices seem astronomical! I'll wait for prices to come down, and if they don't then I won't buy very much, and presents will be a pretty poor show this year.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Yes, again, we have to. Having said that we are having to cut out most Christmas foods and the alcohol will be cut down to a couple of bottles of wine and beer between now and the new year.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I feel safe shopping online, but it can take more time and the postage costs eat into the budget. Having said that, driving and parking also eats into the budget, so I start looking around for gifts from around the end of September (to save up for, then go back to and buy from the end of November).

What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts?
I've started to make some small gifts a few weeks ago. I've also decided that some of the bigger things I've made this year to put aside to try to sell, or was planning to keep for myself will become good presents for close friends and family who will appreciate them more than a bought gift.
We don't post Christmas cards every year, we try to keep in touch by facebook more.
Like others, I buy things like special lights and decorations after Christmas for the following year, and let myself add one thing each year. As such, I have some good basics to decorate the house with and make it pretty and welcoming, and so I won't need to buy anything new. Our artificial tree was on it's last legs last Christmas and we won't be able to afford a real tree, so I'm thinking of collecting some sturdy branches, and contorted hazel and using them to hang baubles from instead.

Do you buy fewer gifts?
Yes, we have cut down a lot on who we buy gifts for. Some gifts are simply a gesture - something to unwrap on the day, or just to give a small practical gift instead of a card, or some years we just give a card, even to family.

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year?

We need to try to keep it down to about £100 - £200 all-in this year, including any extra on food, travel, presents, decorating, any nights out, clothes, postage, and all those hidden extras like batteries and DVDs or games. In past years we've spent up to about £500.

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?
I've gone back to what I used to do in the nineties and I started saving in September.
I'm also keeping in mind all the other things we have to save up for, to keep the Christmas spend in perspective. There's the cost of house and 2 cars, food prices going up, being burgled earlier in the year, and missing out on a family holiday.

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

It's Christmas, not a wedding! grin It comes around every year, so it isn't worth overspending on. Nobody who deserves a gift from you would want you to get into debt (or be prevented from paying off debts) to get it! Being good company is the best present we can give each other, and that's free.

cluttered Sat 27-Oct-12 00:18:49

I used to be really organised and buy things months in advance whenever there were offers when the DC were smaller but now they are older they are very specific about what they want. For example, DS1 wants a new camera this year but he wants to compare all the specifications of different models himself so I can't actually buy their main presents until they have told me exactly what they want!

In the past we haven't really set a budget, this year things are tighter and I could really do with having a cheaper Christmas but the DC are just at the age when they don't want the handmade or cheaper options. However several family members will be abroad this year so we will only exchange token gifts with them. Also DP and I won't bother buying much for each other as there really isn't anything we massively want that we don't already have, we will just get some chocolates and maybe a couple of books for each other.

I definitely prefer to shop online, I hate crowded shops in the run-up to Christmas, luckily our neighbours are usually home in the day and don't mind receiving deliveries.

rodgette Sat 27-Oct-12 07:45:54

I always budget, the kids get an amount of £100 each, we have three, my husband gets £50 and I spend £200 on family members. I budget £100 for food from Christmas Eve to the new year, We always celebrate the week by having themed meals for that week, cheap, homemade and lots of fun(Italian night, Indian night, Chinese night etc). I save stamps at the supermarket £2.00 a week and then use these to buy the meat for Christmas and New year alcohol and treats alongside the Christmas shopping. I start saving from September because all my kids have birthdays the same week in August, so we start straight away after. I make sure all the bills are up to date and pay the water over 10 months so that we have a bit extra to put in the Christmas fund. I always have mt gift off Ebay, I but as much as I can for the house from Ebay too, I always have a ten pound real tree and re-use last years trimmings.
We enjoy a simple but warm, family friendly Christmas, it's not flash but we pay cash for what we do have and we NEVER use credit or get into debt for what we have. I have learnt this after 20 years of trying to get the balance right, I think Christmas is enjoyable but a highly pressured event.

MumOfAPickle Sat 27-Oct-12 08:52:43

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?

Pretty haphazard really. I should plan better but it all seems to work out ok!

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

Yes. If I know a certain store does a sale at any point on the 3 or 4 months before Christmas then i'll wait for this.

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

No, not officially but I have an idea of what I want to spend on things. Definitely have limits for presents for people - different for each person. No change for the recession except me, my mum & my sister have set a limit of £10 to spend on each other (invariably Ho over though!)

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

Do most (90%) of gift shopping online and yes, feel safe doing so.

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?

Buy stuff when you see it if its a good price but don't lose track of what you've bought already!

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year?

No idea.

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?

I started to buy bits around the start of October.

Hope this helps.

RollingThunder Sat 27-Oct-12 10:37:52

hey'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?

Each year I try and plan for it further in advance as money gets tighter

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Especially this year I am looking out for deals, buying early if I have a bit of spare money that month
Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
We are just much more concious of what we spend and on who - this year I think we will limit the children's gifts more and buy very little for each other

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? - I 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?
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 have no idea exactly how much - but less than last year - I am sure

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 put a little aside each month, but it doesn't always work that way.

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

Yes, I buy all my DD2's birthday presents in January sales and DD1's in summer sales. If i see anything suitable for Christmas i try to get that as well if on offer

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 also don't buy for extended family as this was a large expenditure as there were so many of them. We also mede a deal with closer members to only buy for each others children. The recession has had a massive impact.

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

I shop online and in store. I don't have a preference really, although if i do shop online i try to make sure I can get free delivery by looking for voucher codes or minimum spends etc. I do feel safe shopping online, although I have noticed that there seem to be more stories about people being scammed, so this would maybe put me off in future.

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?

The kids make the Christmas cards (glitter!!!) and we bake cookies. We tend to give school pictures as a little extra as well. For chocs get soon at Thorntons, BOGOF or 4 boxes for £20 are excellent deals.

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 £400 all in, as we don't need to buy food this year. Have been buying bits and pieces all year

HappySunflower Sat 27-Oct-12 12:03:36

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 have to plan in advance or else I feel very panicked and worried!

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
I buy things when I see them at a good price. Hence I started buying Christmas gifts in February.

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 have a set budget, no. But I try to find things at the best possible prices that I can. I have shopped around a lot more since money has been tighter.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
A bit of both, really, and yes I feel safe to shop online but make sure I use reputable sites.

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. Chocolate truffles, caramelised onions, jams, cakes, 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?
I've been saving up tesco clubcard, boots advantage card and nectar points
I'm expecting to spend about £300 in total. Including food, travel to visit family, and gifts.

Any other thoughts on the cost of Christmas all welcome.
For me, Christmas is about spending happy times with people you love, not about how much you spend!

It's great to be able to read everyone else's tips.
I don't tend to make a budget, I just try to spend as little as possible.
I buy everything I can when it's discounted and I price compare constantly to try to get the best deals. For presents and long-life food and drink that's fairly easy.
When it comes to family gifts we set up a secret Santa for DH's family as there are so many of them and although we could say no gifts for adults it just doesn't seem like Christmas with nothing to open at all. There's usually a price limit of eg £15-20 per couple and you only buy for one couple.
Food and drink I expect we'll spend about an extra £100 over Christmas & New Year compared to our normal shopping.
Presents - I'll probably spend £200 if I have it by then, but I don't have a credit card or overdraft, so if I don't have it, I can't spend it. I've been ebaying stuff to try to get £200 by Christmas.

I keep a spreadsheet each yea of recipient; gift; cost; wrapping/cards, which I then review and delete/ add people to. So, then I have a rough idea of what we will spend, based on last year, plus additions/deletions.

I buy prefilled stockings for around £30 each. I then add about £10-20 worth of things from lists. This means that I also get surprised by what Santa has brought.

There is a limit of around 100 per child. (4 children) We buy something that they want, and do not even up with tat/anything to make up £25.67 as this is less cost effective than buying a decent, durable, wanted present.

From September, I buy presents from the list. Average spend 10-20 per person, parents slightly more. I do a whole family (eg my two neices) at a time, wrap it and put it away. This means that i don't spend more on top up presents.

I also buy cheap/ on offer extras like crackers and calendars and sweets when I see them, and stock pile. This avoids a really expensive food shop as the actual meal is just a glorified roast.

Jcee Sat 27-Oct-12 18:50:52

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 plan and usually start thinking about Christmas planning in September to spread the cost.

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

Sometimes. It depends on who I'm buying for and, if there is a specific gift, I'll look out for when its on a special offer or if I'm seeking inspiration for a gift for someone, look at what's on offer for bargain ideas. I try to find bargains so I can make our Christmas budget stretch further and I use my loyalty points I've saved up during year for some presents eg my boots card usually covers a gift or 2

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

I've always done this as we work to a monthly budget anyway so we can't go mad and it's so easy to get carried away at Christmas.

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

I shop online and in store, but it depends what I'm buying, eg clothes i prefer to see them before purchasing. sometimes it seems that there are better deals available online, especially if using promo or delivery codes. I feel safe but I only use reputable sites eg ones I've heard of and always check the payment method (is it secure or one ive heard of like PayPal, world pay etc) and remember if a bargain looks too good to be true, it probably is.

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?

Plan it all otherwise you'll end up spending too much in last minute panics. We agree a budget and stick to it - we have a present budget and a food/drink and entertainment budget. This year as everyone is struggling a bit, We've agreed with friends to only buy presents for kids and rather than going out we are having a few house get togethers over Xmas period where everyone will pitch in with drinks/food. Food wise we make what we can rather than buy ready made stuff and shop from list so as not to get carried away with offers, deals and overbuy on stuff like chocs and biscuits 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?

Will be spending about £300 - we've been putting some money away each month from Sept to spread cost and so far I've bought a few food bits which will keep and a couple of things for pressies which were on special offer.

JollyJackOLantern Sat 27-Oct-12 19:16:24

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?
Usually I have a savings account that I add to whenever I have spare cash that gets used for Christmas, holidays, birthdays, car repairs, big purchases etc.
This year I am earning less personally buy DH has had a pay rise so is earning more. Christmas presents are therefore mostly coming from the joint funds this year, or Dh is paying for them from his wages.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts -does this help you?
I've bought most of Ds's gifts second hand. He's getting a big new present ut he's getting lots of second hand stuff too.

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started?
Again, we used to set budgets for gifts, but not so much any more. Unlike most people we are now on a more stable financial footing. We've never set food or drink budgets for Christmas though.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I'm quite comfortable shopping online.

What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts?
Buy second hand from facebook classified groups. So many bargains.

Do you buy fewer gifts?
See above

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year?
In total, probably around £800 on presents and £200 that we wouldn't normally spend on food.

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year?
Ds's presents have all been bought. Not because of wanting to spread the cost, buy because of seeing things cheap.

stickylittlefingers Sat 27-Oct-12 19:27:32

we've never spent loads and loads on Christmas, try to keep it more as nice little surprises and concentrate more on the being together, enjoying the time off and seeing friends etc. Sitting round with a nice drink and a mince pie and having a chat or watching a film is special. Going for a walk and having a hot chocolate afterwards makes great memories for the children - round up the neighbours and make it a party!

Budgeting wise: I collect together all the vouchers we've amassed in the year, and use them to buy presents and the nice extras. I do save a bit extra each month from the summer to buy the presents, but we don't go mad anyway.

I do make homemade food and things, for us and and to give as presents. I think homemade decorations look much nicer. We have loads of holly and ivy in the garden, so pruning that does a lot of decorating!

alibeenherealongtime Sat 27-Oct-12 20:14:39

I don't budget for Chrstmas as we always go away, to get away from all things Chrstmas. So whilst we may spend a lot on going away, we waste less by not buying stuff we don't really need, like crackers, puds and chocolates or a tree!

I stopped adults buying presents for each other when we all had children and we just exchange a paperback book each. We give children the equivalent of what we would have spent in a cheque.
Dh and I spoil each other for birthdays, so no presents, just nice cards to each other.

I collect bargain toys throughout the year from tkaxx for all my minded children, max £10 each, lots of Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles this year costing originally over £20

this year i've been more sensible in buying things in advance. for example i found a ebayer in china who sells lovely silk nightdresses and pashminas - i was buying for me anyway so for the same postage added a few extra bits for female relatives. i've also done things like trawl through the play.com clearance sale for family films for ds at a few pounds each that bulk out his presents. i have a drawer with some stuff in and a few bits on top of the wardrobe for ds already.

i mostly do internet shopping as i find it is far cheaper if you are savvy and you're less likely to waste money on random crap out of desperation to be out of town.

i can't imagine going into debt for christmas - i would not spend more than i had and always have 'enough' despite being on a very low income in recent years.

i try to buy presents that are 'right' for people and show i know them/care about their tastes/needs etc rather than being showy. i suppose that's my real tip for money saving - it's not the size/price tag that counts it's the feeling of being known that comes with a well chosen gift.

oh actually top tip for teens gifts is a diving experience - find your local dive centre and ask how much a discover scuba day is - they go, have some training and then get to go in the pool in the gear and do some underwater swimming and skills. it's a real wow present without spending a fortune (was £15 per head for my neice and nephews) and better than buying random stuff they don't want or need and is another thing thrown in the pile of opened and discarded gifts. also allows you to delay the cost as you only pay when they choose dates and you book it.

TrickyWoo Sun 28-Oct-12 13:05:35

Iit something you manage well, try to avoid thinking about or leave 'til the new year to sort? We have a savings account just for Christmas and Save £60 per month.

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? Yes, look out for voucher codes, always shop around, most shopping done online. 

Do you set budgets for gifts, food, drink etc - if so, why? Yes, have a spreadsheet which goes back 5 years, has a forecasted spend, actual spend in and all gifts and food needed.  Food not as much a budget, but don't go mental!

If not, why not? Has this changed since the recession started? 
Always wanted to know how much will cost, always pay credit cards off in full each month inc december's bill.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online? Absolutely safe, do 90% online .

What money saving tips can you pass on to others at this festive time - for example - do you make your own gifts? Yes did sloe gin last year was delicious, no sloes this year! Book man at work throughout the year is great, we are using some hand me down books and games as presents. eBay - got massive brio set on eBay about September 2 years ago, is played with every day and worth the £60. We sell on eBay through the year and try to keep the last few month' profits for Christmas. Also we shop at Tesco and keep all the vouchers for Christmas, and try to do a big shop when double points. We get all cards and wrap in the sales do rarely buy full price.

Do you buy fewer gifts? Yes, have agreed with some people to not buy fir each other just for kids.

How much will you and your family spend on Christmas this year? About £1000 gifts, food, drinks, 

Have you been saving for Christmas or buying things over the last few months or year? Yes savings account and a present box that will sort about 10 presents out. 

VivaLeBeaver Sun 28-Oct-12 13:28:37

I start buying presents in August and budget £75 a month for presents over the next few months which seems to cover most of them.

I save co-op divi points on my card all year, currently have over £70 on my card so that will be used for food. I also shop at morrisons where they do they £30 pff a shop if you've collected 8 tokens, I shop there anyway so the tokens are easy to collect. I get all petrol in morrisons and save the £5 tokens you get after getting enough petrol points. Normally have about £100 worth of tokens.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 28-Oct-12 13:30:30

I don't do a spreadsheet or anything technical. I know that for most family members I budget about £20 a person. Dh a bit more but not always. Try not to go mad with dd.

I don't go into debt over Xmas, never.

SandWitch Sun 28-Oct-12 13:50:19

Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you?
Yes, always - I want to feel like I am getting the most I can for my money. At the same time though, I would not not buy something, if it was really wanted just because it was not discounted. (as long as funds in the bank allowed for it)

I have a present hiding place at home and pick up various things as I go along throughout the year that I think would make nice gifts for various people.

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 a budget as such, but I do save throughout the year for things like birthdays, Christmas, holiday spending money. I have an idea in my head of how much I wish to spend - usually £10 - £20 ish for adults, perhaps a little more for children. Having said that, I have bought a gift for my MIL which was reduced from £60 to £12 - I don't feel the need to top up her gifts so that I have spent £20 grin Similar situations for several other presents this year - I have been on the MN Christmas threads.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
I feel very safe buying on-line and just about all of my presents this year will be bought via the net.
This has increased more and more in the last few years - 5 years ago I doubt very much at all would have been purchased on line. I liked to 'feel' what I was buying. Most sites have improved now, with good descriptions, reviews etc, so I feel that I will have a good idea of quality.
I am a little more wary of sites that I have no experience of, but mainstream on-line shops are fine.

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?
Start early! I have just one more present to buy and I am then done - I don't think I have purchased one item that has been full price. I may not have necessarily spent less in most cases, but I have got more for my money.

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 have been saving since last Christmas (and actually bought a few things in the January Sales).
As for total spend:
Grandparents, Uncle's, Aunts, Cousins, dh, Godchildren, God parents, friends etc, less than £200
2xdc - £85 - £100 each

Not hosting this year, so will not have loads of food to buy grin

jan2013 Sun 28-Oct-12 16:43:20

in the past ive spent without thinking but since being married and now being separated with a child i have to really try to manage christmas somehow.

i usually assign a certain amount to each person but in the past have went above that, so this year what i have been doing is trying to buy a couple of gifts each month since the summer to try to spread things out.

i mostly buy gifts online, a lot from amazon. ive heard a lot of these cashback sites, so i plan to use these and also to sell stuff on ebay, to try to help with the cost.

missorinoco Sun 28-Oct-12 20:42:09

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

I don't wait for sales, probably because I am buying for young children or adults, so they would rather have the gift thansale shop. I start buying early and look out for discounts.

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

My husband and I budget our presents to one another as cash is tight, not much worse since the recession, but the budget's pretty economical. I haven't budgeted for the children, but I'm not extravagant at the moment. Food and drink, not really, but again I shop carefully and startbuying early. I don't scrimp on the turkey. If I am going to cook an Xmas dinner for 8 it might as well taste good.

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

Shop on line. Three small children and a job. Bad combination to Xmas shopping.

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 buy less, and am more careful with money. Although I do miss being able to just look at something and buy it as a gift. I stopped buying XMas presents for friends' children a while ago. There were too many, and my children, although they enjoyed the gifts, didn't need them, so to speak. Mainly it was cos I needed to save money though. It's a good way to cut spending.

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 haven't saved, but I have already bought cards, paper and some gifts. How much will I spend, not sure.

Any other thoughts on the cost of Christmas all welcome.

rufus5 Sun 28-Oct-12 21:17:20

Over recent years I have tried to budget much more tightly for Christmas, but it is hard with children getting older and becoming much more aware about presents! However I do start buying gifts from about September onwards to try and spread the cost. My DH is also given gift vouchers from time to time, so we try to keep these to help with Christmas costs - for example, recently he was given one for Waterstones, so all the nephews and nieces are getting books this year!!

zipzap Sun 28-Oct-12 22:37:38

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?
Always think about it - keeping on top of it helps.
Do you wait for sales or discounts when buying gifts - does this help you? Start buying for Christmas in the January sales - and then throughout the year whenever I see something good. In fact, I have some toy cars for the dc that I happened to spot in Sainsburys Clearance sale over a year ago - with 85% off sets of hotwheel cars, so I bought lots - they got a set each last year and will get another set this year. The sets of 5 cars cost as much as an individual car does normally so easy to know that it was worth picking them up and they would get used eventually.

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 sit down and work out a budget but try to keep it reasonable and within certain limits - for the dc, dh, my sis and her family, my relatives, for dh's family, friends... It has also got to the point where I can buy job lots of presents for certain groups - eg dh has lots of siblings, mostly now with grown up families. So they tend to get a box of nice biscuits or big tin of panettone - which I pick up in Costco as soon as I spot them, £5 instead of £18 in the shops. This year I am getting twitchy as they are already in and dh hasn't even begun to think about how many of his family we are likely to bump into around xmas - last year was a big family celebration so we saw everyone and it was easy to hand stuff over. Obviously I don't want to be buying panettone only to discover we are sending presents.
When in comes to food I do a mixture of cheap and expensive - I order our turkey from waitrose because we have always had really nice ones from there (and some dodgy ones from other supermarkets). But I do go to the market to get my fruit and veg where it is significantly cheaper and the quality is fantastic.
I also bulk shop for stuff where appropriate in costco and look in places like lidl and aldi too.

Do you shop online or do you prefer to buy gifts in person? Do you feel safe shopping online?
Mixture of both - some stuff can be bought easily online, especially from big shops (amazon, john lewis, marks and sparks etc), not least for friends that live up in the Shetlands or from other well known brands abroad for friends in the US and Oz, helps to save on delivery and postage. Must admit I am a stinge and never pay for gift wrapping on presents - always makes me gulp when you see how much they charge (when we got married I worked out that people had probably spent a combined £200 or more on having our gifts giftwrapped when we got to take them out of the boxes they came in anyway, and the wrapping then needed to be disposed of. wish they gave an option to the wedding couple of do you want cash vouchers to the value of your gift wrapping!)
I don't tend to order from sites that I don't know or get good recommendations about. MN and MSE are useful sites to get reliable info on whether or not retailers are good.
I also make use of the click and collect facility offered by lots of sites now - means that you can go to the store, have a mooch around and look to see what else catches your eye but know that you have the main things you are going for sitting there waiting for you to pick up at the end - best of both worlds!

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?
- Start looking early and don't be afraid to buy stuff in the sales
- Keep a notebook or list on your phone or computer with details of what you have bought and where you have hidden it. You don't want to get to a day or two before christmas and discover that you can't find anything, meaning a mad expensive dash to the shops to get something worse than have already bought and lost. or that you have bought 3 presents for auntie mary but nothing for cousin bill.
- Do not call this notebook or list anything that hints that it contains your santa secrets - it needs to have a Clark Kent disguise and look very boring. Mine is called 'Curtain Fabrics' which I know will keep out everybody!
- Keep a budget in mind - and also a relative equivalent budget of what it looks like you are spending. Whilst it is great getting a bargain you don't want to discover that for one nephew you have got a massive Kreo transformer lego type set that cost you £8 instead of £48 (thank you Argos summer clearance!) but that for the other one the £10 only bought a small full price toy that doesn't look like much and even though you spent a bit more it looks like they have got a much lesser present.
- It can be incredibly time consuming to be an uber bargain hunter so make use of tools and tips, the christmas threads on MN have been great already this year, MSE site provides lots of hints and tools. Sign up for the main sites you like for their newsletters and money off vouchers. Sometimes it is better to set a limit - and decide that if you see something for 50% off (or whatever) then you will buy it - even if there is a chance you will see it for less later - because you won't waste lots of time watching the computer waiting for the price to fall further and also risking it being sold out altogether.

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 saving per se - just buying things as and when I have seen them through the year.
I usually set myself a challenge of not buying anything that is full price or not on offer in some way - managed it last year, previous year all ds2 wanted was a mickey mouse cuddly toy that wasn't on offer so did relent and get that but everything else that everybody else got was a bargain. This year dh wants a board game set he has seen in John Lewis that hasn't come down in price in the last 3 years (he's wanted it for 3 years actually...) and so I figure I might have to just splash out on that. I have also seen the Bletchley Park/Alan Turing Monopoly set that I think he would love - they are selling them to raise money for BP though so I don't think they will come down in price and it's for a good cause.

bluebump Sun 28-Oct-12 22:46:11

I generally try to get presents when they are on offer, but this year I have been saving up Tesco clubcard vouchers that I will double up and use.

I don't really set an overall budget but maybe a budget per person/couple. My sister and I still tend to go halves on presents as this means we can get a decent present for them if we combine our money. Half our family is Jewish so Christmas is really not too expensive!

I do a lot of shopping online and feel perfectly safe doing so. I certainly do most of my research for presents online and then shop around to see where I can get whatever I am buying cheapest and if that's online then that's fine!

Every year I think I am going to make some presents for people and every year I bookmark loads of websites and MN threads and still make nothing! This year i'm thinking I will crochet some hot water bottle covers but we'll see... grin

scrappydappydoo Mon 29-Oct-12 10:34:27

We don't set a budget but we try and keep costs low in a variety of ways:

I shop throughout the year picking up bargains when I see them. I usually buy crackers,cards and wrapping paper in the January sales and put them away in the christmas box.

I tend to keep an eye out for sales and use cashback when shopping online. I loathe paying full price for anything. I'm also happily buy good condition secondhand stuff so scour ebay/car boots and nearly new sales.

I also stockpile all my reward points throughout the year - so boots advantage card tend to be used for pressies and then tesco clubcard to pay for days out gift vouchers or trip to panto. Nectar points tend to be used off a sainsburys food shop.

However I will say that we try and keep christmas low key from a pressie point of view. Adults do a £10 secret santa gift exchange so we only have 2 presents to buy (one from me and 1 from dh). GPs tend to get a school photo in a frame as a special extra. For the DC we do 'big' presents at birthdays instead of christmas. So for christmas they will get maybe 1 or 2 gifts each worth about £20 in total (although I never pay that much see above wink) and then some stocking filler bits. So that helps enormously with keeping costs down.

Long life food stuff like sweets, biscuits etc get added a bit at time to the weekly shop from about now (again depending on offers and using reward points). Last few years I've done the weekly shop at morrisons to get the money off voucher.

I also enter lots of competitions and do surveys to win for example £200 vouchers grin

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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).

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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!!

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

Lucky englishgirlapproximately winning two sponsored discussions within a monthenvy!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now