With UK unemployment projected to hit 2.6 million in the middle of 2021 many families in the UK find themselves in tough financial situations this Christmas, making it an unpredictable and worrying time for many.

The coronavirus pandemic has left many people unemployed, unable to work or living off 80% of their wages, so Christmas this year may be different for many, in more ways than one. These circumstances, however, do not mean that Christmas cannot be equally as magical and joyful as it has always been. By following these 5 money saving tips this Christmas you can celebrate at a fraction of the price without having to miss out on any of the fun.

1. Handmake Gifts

Handmade gifts make heartfelt and thoughtful gifts

It may be nice to shower relatives with luxurious gifts aChristmas, but it is often the most thoughtful gifts that come out on top, making them the perfect present for family when funds are low. Handmaking gifts is affordable and can be a great activity to keep children amused. Ideas such as baking a batch of cookies or even a chequebook for a loved one full of favours that don’t cost a penny are heartfelt ideasFill the chequebook with redeemable favours such as doing the washing up or making dinner. These gestures are free but always a win, especially with grandparents. Pinterest is always a great platform for fun and affordable handmade gifts so if you are stuck head over there for some inspiration! 

2. Budget, Budget, Budget!

Set out your budget before you start shopping

Budgeting is an essential skill to make sure you always have your finances under control and is extremely important during the festive season. There is no point in putting yourself in compromising situations at the expense of gifts, so it is essential to map out what you can afford to spend before you start shopping. Work out your incomings and budget what you can realistically afford to spend on each person you need to purchase a gift for. Make sure you are accounting for all your bills and monthly commitments as these take priority. It is key to remain disciplined when budgeting, but when January rolls around and your financial situation is stable you will be thankful that you approached Christmas in such a sensible way. 

3. Choose Preloved

Pre-loved websites are great for finding gifts

With second-hand shopping becoming increasingly popular over the last few years, rising from an average of 121.5 sales per week in October 2017, to an average of 165.6 in February 2020, preloved is the perfect option this Christmas. There are now hundreds of accessible websites and apps to make charity shopping easier than ever before. These include Depop, eBay, and even mainstream fashion brands such as ASOS are branching out with the likes of ASOS Marketplace. As well as cutting down your spending, you will also be helping avoid the damaging effects of fast fashion such as pollution and landfill. Not only buying preloved, but selling preloved items can also help you declutter and grow your pocket in time for Christmas. 

4. Re-Gift

We all get gifts we don’t particularly like during the holidays, so instead of letting it sit around and collect dustwhy not re-gift it and allow someone else to get use out of something that will otherwise be binned. A useful way to think about this is; if you haven’t used the gift since last Christmas, it’s time to let it go. As long as you thoughtfully re-gift and not just for the sake of it, what can go wrong? Always remember not to regift the gifter, it’s never a good look and can make Christmas dinner especially awkward 

5. Agree not to get Christmas gifts

Opt for inexpensive small toys for children and focus on family

It is so important to stay mindful about the true spirit of Christmas and not allow yourself to be bogged down by the pressures of buying everyone extravagant gifts. If you feel comfortable enough then sit down with your family and explain your financial situation. Chances are they will be more than understanding and believe that having you in their life is the greatest gift you can give at Christmas. Mum’s and Dad’s, push away the parent guilt of not giving your children every single thing from Smyths toys and concentrate on the heartfelt moments that don’t cost a penny. When reminiscing about christmas as a child most adults look back nostalgically and remember putting up the tree and watching christmas films, not the new Furby 3000 that’s just hit the shelves. After all it is family that truly makes christmas so magical, so opt for small inexpensive toys and up the ante on the christmas cheer!

Hopefully these tips will help you out this Christmas and allow you to save some money when times are especially tough. Whilst these tips are extremely useful don’t forget to cherish time with your family and not allow the worries of money and presents to dominate the most magical time of the year!