WITH Christmas just 37 days away, most of us are starting to think about stocking up on presents, decorations, and our festive favourites.
But thanks to a cost of living crisis and rising energy bills, quite a few of us are starting to worry about how we’ll afford the festivities this year.
Thankfully one pro-bargain hunter has shared her top six tips for prepping for Christmas on a budget – especially if you have kids.
Beth Turbutt-Rogers, 27, started her money-saving blog back in August 2022, following concerns about rising energy bills.
Now the savvy mum-of-two, known online as @budgetingmum, has more than 46,000 followers on TikTok.
Here she regularly offers money-saving tips, which have gained more than 374,000 likes.
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Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, the savvy mum from the Midlands has revealed how she cuts costs, while still keeping the magic of Christmas alive.
“I think as a new mum, I was very much sucked into the pressures of needing to get a big stack of presents and doing loads of different things with the children around Christmas, but it ended up stacking up to a lot of money.
“My son is only three, but this year, in particular, me and my husband both realised that actually, we don’t need to spend all of that money to give them magic.”
Here Beth reveals her six top tips for cutting costs ahead of the festive season…
DON’T START EARLY
Unlike many other money-saving experts, Beth doesn’t believe in buying your presents throughout the year.
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“We’ve all fallen victim to buying early because companies start advertising – you can walk into a card shop and see [Christmas] cards from August and feel pressured to get started then.
“But I haven’t bought the children anything yet for Christmas.
“In the past, I’ve done it differently. So last year, I started buying in September.
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"I was picking up things as we went along, thinking I’m getting a good deal and I’m doing my future self a favour.
“Then it got to November, and they’re starting to talk about different toys that they want instead of the ones you’ve already bought. My son, in particular, changes what he likes day to day.
“So then you’re thinking, ‘oh I need to buy them those as well.’
“And then I remember sitting down in December and thinking I’ve got way too much stuff because I started early.”
Beth has put the money aside, so she’s ready to start buying, but won’t until her three-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter confirm what they really want in a letter to Santa.
They'll sit down as a family to write these in the first few days of December.
A BUDGET ISN’T ALWAYS HELPFUL
While most money-saving experts would suggest setting a budget is key, Beth thinks setting yourself a limit can actually encourage you to spend more than you need.
“I think sometimes if you’re putting a price on it, you can encourage yourself to overspend. So I would just keep an eye on what I can get.
“If you see the same toy in a charity shop and you’re going to save yourself a tenner, that’s not £10 you need to go on to spend again.”
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SET BOUNDARIES
Like most of us, Beth doesn’t always find talking about money with her friends and family easy.
But the thrifty mum is encourage people to break the taboo, and have an honest conversation about their budget with their loved ones.
“I can’t think of anything worse than one of my relatives turning to a credit card to buy me a present.
“I think it’s just really important to have those open conversations with relatives – ‘that we’re going to spend X amount.’
“It is taboo to talk about money, but it shouldn’t be.
“We’re all in the same boat. Interest rates are going up, the bills are going up, food is going up, and we’re all feeling the pinch of money, so now more than ever, it’s a great time talk to about it.
“I’m sure that will be met with people being honest with you as well, and ‘oh thank goodness you said that we were thinking the same.”
SAY YES TO SECRET SANTA
A good way to bring up that conversation is to encourage your friends and family to give gifts in the form of secret Santa.
That way, everyone only has to buy one present, and the rule about a budget helps to stop people from overspending.
“You get something you really want, [and] you’re reducing the wastage – like a gift set that you’ll end up regifting anyway.”
SANTA VISITS ONCE A YEAR – SO YOU SHOULD TOO
“I think people [try] to do a lot more activities – going to see Santa on a steam train and going to see Santa at a soft play, and then going to see Santa at a farm.
"There are so many different options now, and as a mum, there’s a lot of pressure to go and do them all.
“I’ve booked one experience to go to a role-play village, Santa’s going to be there and that’s just the one thing that we’re doing.
“Whereas in years past, we have done more than that.
"But actually, we end up just over-stretching out time and the magic is ruined because we’re rushing from one place to another.”
CHECK-IN WITH THE PARENTS
While we all enjoy the look of surprise on our loved ones' faces as they rip open their gift, Beth does encourage checking in with parents before purchasing for kids.
“I think I read a stat that at Christmas, the amount of waste equates to about £250 per child in gifts that they don’t want or need.
“There is nothing worse as a parent getting either a duplicate toy, or I’ve had some people buy huge, big, great, massive toys that you just don’t have the room for, or you know your child’s not into.”
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To make things easier, the money-saving pro suggested taking a picture of your child with the desired gift in the store.
Not only does this stop a meltdown when you refuse to take it home, but it also shows your loved one exactly where to buy it, and what it looks like on the shelf.
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