‘Tis the season for pre-loved presents!

There are lots of reasons to have a budget-friendly Christmas, whether you’re trying to manage your household budget better in light of the cost-of-living crisis, or are looking to become more environmentally conscious with your spending.

Below, we’ve outlined some of our top tips to help you have a more economical Christmas.

Making a list (and checking it twice)

A typical household increases their spending by an average of 29% in the run up to Christmas, adding £740 on top of a normal monthly spend, according to the Bank of England. If this sounds like too much to you, then try to plan ahead to avoid over-spending.

A good first step is to make a gift-giving list and stick to it. Choose which friends and family members you really want to buy gifts for and figure out how much to spend on each. If the total for all of those gifts seems too high, then don’t be afraid to go back and think again.
Or have a frank discussion with your loved ones about how much you can afford.

It can seem harsh to restrict yourself like this during the season of giving, but your closest friends and family will understand if you need to cut back. They might even feel relieved, if they are in the same boat.

Know where to go

Buying from charity shops can always be a bit of a gamble – you never know what you’ll find in there! It can help to keep an open mind rather than seeking out specific items. While charity shops are generally good for knitwear, jewellery, books and vinyl, don’t rely on finding those items every time.

When you do find something you like, make sure to thoroughly check each item. Sometimes donated clothing can have small holes, a broken zip or stains on them, so give each item a decent once-over before deciding on it.

If you do have a super-specific present idea in mind, then consider websites like eBay, Gumtree or Vinted. This can be a great way of sticking to your budget: just make sure you only bid as much as you’re happy to spend on that item, including the price of postage that is shown in your total spend. It’s easy to get swept up in the moment, but if you miss out to a higher bid, there’s bound to be several alternative options available from other sellers. Shop around and find the price that works best for you.

Local luxuries

If you’re aiming for a second-hand Christmas for environmental reasons, then shopping at local markets and small independent businesses can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. You can rest easy knowing that your chosen gifts haven’t had to be flown or shipped across great distances, expending huge amounts of excess carbon to get to you. Shopping locally also has the added bonus of supporting your local community, which is an increasingly important issue for many of us right now.

Whether you’re looking to buy luxury cosmetics, candles, clothing or produce as a gift, your nearest Christmas market will provide you with tonnes of options. It also makes for a great day out to get you in the festive spirit!

Jolly jars

What’s the one item you’re always guaranteed to find at charity shops and car-boot sales? Jars! Jars are great for homemade gifts. Not least because you avoid spending out on wrapping paper, which can be both expensive and wasteful. We’ve outlined some of the best homemade jar gifts below; make sure to sterilise the jars with boiling water before you use them.

You can fill your second-hand jars with:

  • Homemade jams or chutneys
  • Hot chocolate mix and mini-marshmallows
  • A selection of flavoured teas or coffee pods
  • A pre-made Christmas cookie mix for your loved ones to bake at home
  • Scented tea lights and matches
  • Spice mixes for curries
  • Infused oils for cooking
  • A s’mores kit with chocolate biscuits, skewers and marshmallows
  • Walking socks and a map of local hikes
  • Glowsticks, mittens and sparklers for celebrating New Year’s Eve

If you’re feeling creative you can decorate the jars with ribbons, bows and even use glass pens to personalise the jar with names or drawings.

Opting for a second-hand Christmas can be a fantastic way to save money over the festive period and can have the added bonus of being better for the environment too!

Make sure to keep your budget in mind and remember it’s always the thought behind the gift that matters the most.

Head to our Solved Articles for more tips to save this festive season, and beyond.