With the holiday season fast approaching, many families across Ireland are looking for simple ways to cut corners to save their hard-earned cash.
For some, Christmas can be the most stressful time of the year when it comes to household budgets so today we have put together some money-saving tips to help you manage your money better and have the Christmas to remember for all the right reasons.
If you're one of those people, here are some simple tips to keep your finances in check over the next couple of months:
Make a list and check it twice.
The first step to saving money this Christmas is to sit with a pen and paper or a spreadsheet and work out what you and your family can afford. Be realistic with your goals.
Make a festive budget.
Once you know everything you need to buy, it's time to start putting money aside and assign money to each category whether it's gifts, clothes or food.
The 4 gift rule.
No matter how old your kids are, why not consider introducing the four gift rule. Not only is it a great way of teaching children that they can't have everything you want, but it will also really help cut the costs at the most expensive time of the year. To follow the 4 gift rule simply buy your children something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read - it really is that simple.
Do a secret Santa.
Rather than buying multiple gifts for the extended family, consider doing a family secret Santa. Not only are you more likely to get something you want or need, but it will also help everyone save a fortune.
Gifts for children only.
Another great way to save a few quid is to suggest that the adults-only buy for the kids (that's if all your siblings have children). You could put together a kitty and divide the money equally so no one family is spending more than the others. Or maybe opt for an experience or day out during the Christmas period instead.
Have a pre-Christmas clear-out.
Not only will you make room for your tree and decorations, but you might also make a penny or two in the process. Spend a couple of hours over the weekend and gather together things you no longer need and sell them online or at a local car boot sale.
Be a scrooge.
Before you buy anything online, check if the site has a new customer discount and if so, sign up to their newsletter. Check discount code sites online, have a browse through Boards.ie and ask friends and family if they know if there is any percentage off codes going for your favourite shops - chances are you will find one floating about. After all, it's better on your pocket.
Culling the Christmas card list could save you a fortune on cards, let alone stamps. Create a card online using free sites such as Canva and email, Whatsapp or simply message it to your nearest and dearest.
Lighten the load.
If you're hosting dinner over Christmas, consider sharing the catering with your guests. Ask others to bring drinks, desserts or even nibbles.
Get the best deal.
Shop on Black Friday, compare online and use sites like www.pricespy.ie to get the best deal you possibly can. Add items to virtual shopping carts when doing your research, most retailers send reminders to tell you that there are items in your baskets alongside a nifty little discount.
Let the kids use their own money.
When shopping for godparents, teachers and even Nana or Grandad ask the children would they like to raid their piggy banks to gift this Christmas.
Cut the crap.
It is more important than ever to make clever choices when it comes to Christmas. Hundreds of unwanted gifts end up in charity shops come January so think long and hard about what you purchases. This year you could even consider banning wrapping paper, Christmas crackers and useless stocking fillers you know the kids won't play with in a months time.
Track your spending.
It's one to make a list and check it twice but you need to keep on top of your spending, revise your list every week and keep on top of your budget.
So there you have it - 13 simple ways to save money this Christmas. What are your favourite family budgeting tips?