7 brilliantly cheap Christmas gift ideas
As part of Money for Life’s #12SavesofXmas, we caught up with Ruth Bushi from Save the Student to unwrap the cheap Christmas gift ideas that won’t cost a bundle.
If you believe Hollywood, Christmas is all about love, family, and outsmarting dopey burglars with DIY booby traps. Yet avoiding pressie pressure gets harder every year. Luckily, there’s a fix for that!
It pays to start Christmas prep early to make the most of sales, savings and loyalty card points. But the ideas below will see you right either way: they can all be tackled for a tenner or less. Want the full package? Make your own gift bags or gift boxes to trim the cost even more.
1. Load up on freebies
It’s possible to get your Christmas haul for zero cost, but it involves the three Ps: planning, patience, and pick & mix! There’s no shortage of places to track freebies and competitions so stalk a few and play long odds: apply for everything, see what comes in, then divide the spoils. Watch out for hidden costs like postage, paid entry, or free-with-minimum spend – tot it up before splashing out.
Secret stash: YouTube – you can make just about anything for pennies, including fidget spinners, stickers and decorative notebooks.
2. Skint Santa
Secret Santa may have a rep for novelty tat, but it’s perfect for slashing seasonal costs. Coughing up for just one present for your household or group of friends also means less stress, competitiveness and panic buying. The next best thing to tons of cash is ingenuity, so embrace the cheese! Set a budget as low as you dare – free, a fiver or ‘petrol station chic’ – and challenge yourselves to get the best (or funniest) gifts for your buck.
3. Nostalgia on a stick
Making someone feel like a giddy 5-year-old is worth the cash any day of the week – and it doesn’t have to cost the Earth. Find out what book, TV show or toy your mates rated back in the day, then get yourself over to eBay or freecycling sites to grab them secondhand. Obviously you’ll need to be realistic here: anything antique for a fiver is a tough ask, but a couple of Pokémon cards, Crazy Bones kit or even retro sweets get the same effect for less spend. Keep it cheap, but make it special!
4. Home-baked goodies
Home baking is a winner: when you’ve made an effort it doesn’t matter that you’re no Mary Berry. Check Instagram, Pinterest, and BBC goodfood for recipes and give it a bash! At a real pinch you can even buy something in, split into servings and wrap in nice bows. And yes, that counts.
Easy peasy: buy a few bags of nuts and dried fruits, then pour into a glass jar in layers and wrap a few ribbons or bows around the lid. Also works with sauces … and home-made Nutella.
5. Gift cheques
Get a jotter (or cut a few sheets of paper down to size) then pretty it up and write what each cheque can be swapped for. Be as inventive as you like, from “Doing the washing up”, to “Walking the dog so you don’t have to”. Feeling adventurous? Give blank cheques and let your loved ones call the shots! Time-saver: personalise and print a ready-made template.
6. Hand-picked gift bags
Hand curated gift bags are a sweet touch and, with the right picks, can stretch the feel-good vibes over the whole of Christmas week. Get a gift bag then stuff it with treats: chocolates, a magazine, bath salts / bath bomb / body scrub (check YouTube to go home-made), and anything else that takes your fancy and suits your budget.
7. Real-time advent calendar
Outrageously expensive big brand advent calendars may be trending, but you can copy the concept for less money and more brownie points. Yes, 24 individual presents is a sack load, but use the ideas on this page to get you started, then hit pound stores for the rest. Especially keep an eye out for gift or sweet packs to split up and stretch your budget further. Can you do a calendar for a tenner? Yes. Is it easy? Let’s call it ‘challengingly fun’. Wrap your goodies and drop ‘em off in person – one a day until Christmas Eve.
A great gift isn’t about how much you money you can throw at it. Well, sometimes it is – but what most of us remember is how it made us feel. Happy Christmas!
Do you have advice on how to save money at Christmas? Look out for Money for Life’s new competition #12SavesOfXmas. Follow Money for Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information about how you could win £100 vouchers of your choice.
- Go to Money Advice Service for free and impartial money advice.