Christmas is one of the best and happiest events of the year. The best time for catching up with family and friends and enjoying the festive season, however, it can also be a time of year, that can be financially draining on families.

So what can you do to avoid spending too much cash this year on presents?

We put together a list of our top 5 tips on how to save money this festive season without cutting out the luxury.

Buy Early and Buy Online

There are so many bargains to be found online and available to purchase at competitive prices. If you do your research you can pick up some deals and discounts from most online retailers.

Depending on what you are looking for, the January sales just after Christmas usually start December 26th is a great time to get some real savings.

The Smyths Sale is fantastic too for getting a start on Santa’s Toy List.

Vouchers and Coupon Codes

One of the biggest expenditures at Christmas is the big grocery shop from the turkey and ham to the alcohol, the shopping can add up at the till. Before you even set foot in the supermarket have a list done of everything you will need to get and don’t stray. The big supermarkets offer great deals and give out money off vouchers in most of the newspapers.

The ones I found the best for saving money are Dunnes and Lidl because you can stock up on essentials as well as luxury treats and there are some exemptions on what you can use the vouchers on in-store including baby formula which is standard practice in all Irish stores.

Lidl has launched a new loyalty app with discounts and special treat offers for discount app customers.

Kris Kindle or Secret Santa

The most difficult part of shopping at Christmas I find is trying to pick that perfect present for loved ones that has everything. There is only so much designer perfume or aftershave a person can get through in a lifetime.  Kris Kindle or Secret Santa is a fun way to take the hassle out of Christmas shopping and is very popular in places of work.

The idea is if you have a lot of gifts to buy and there is a group of work colleagues or friends and family. Everyone is allocated a name at random and must keep it secret until Christmas. It is a fun way of guessing who got what present and is cost-effective as you only have to buy one gift.

Black Friday/ Cyber Monday

Black Friday is hugely popular in America and usually starts around Thanksgiving. This year Black Friday will fall on Friday, November 24th. Ireland has embraced the tradition in recent years and offers customers heavily discounted deals for one day only. This is the day I like to order those expensive gift sets and find Boots to have some fantastic deals.

Cyber Monday falls on November 27th this year and will have good online discounts for last-minute shoppers.

Cash only transactions

Avoid using debit/credit cards to purchase gifts where possible. It’s so easy to get the plastic out to buy as you don’t feel like you are spending money. It is easier to keep track of spending if you take cash out from your ATM and allocate how much you have to spend on each gift.

Christmas checklist 

  • Buy early and buy online
  • Use vouchers and discount codes
  • Set up a Secret Santa between family and friends
  • Purchase high-end gifts on Black Friday
  • Avoid using credit/debit cards