Pinching Pennies on Presents: How I spend less money on Christmas shopping!

While my love language may be “Words of Affirmation”, I just love showering my friends and family in little gifts and cards. It’s a way of being thoughtful which really resonates with me, and so coming up to Christmas, I tend to go a bit mad. My friends and I will set budgets for each other, which I will ‘accidentally’ surpass, and then I check my bank balance after Christmas and think ‘Flip, I hope people give me money on my birthday this year!’

It’s a trait I’ve picked up from my mammy; we’d go shopping when I was little and she’d be like “Awk, I’ll spend a wee bit more on X because your daddy will love it more” and so on.

But guys, I’m 22. I don’t get student loans any more, and I can’t live this spendy lifestyle every November/December, only to live like a penniless slug for the six months following Christmas (not that I’m saying slugs are poor- perhaps they are an affluent species?)

Anyway, as I’ve been working a lot recently, and know that my hours are probably going to decrease as we head out of the tourism season, I’ve started my Christmas shopping super early this year. I don’t know what’s around the corner, and last year, I left it a little bit too late! So I wanted to be more prepared and get a good head start on the old shopping front. I thought I’d share with you 5 ways that I’m going to cut corners so that I don’t end up impoverished come January!

DISCLAIMER: if you get one of the presents mentioned below from me, do not judge me for where I got them etc. Or else next year, you’re getting coal. Actually no, coal is quite dear- you’re just getting dust, in an old sock. Understood?)

  1. TK Maxx


Bargains are bae, and so a walk around TK Maxx, taking in all of its discounted glory, well, that is my happiness right there. I’ve already bought a TONNE of stuff from there for this Christmas, because a lot of it is up to 60% off- bargain-a-licious, right?!!


I feel like everyone gets candles at Christmas, and I love giving/receiving them too. So when parousing the candle section, I noticed that they had amazingly priced, reasonably-sized candles. Forget the aisles in Boots where all of the candles are in the £15 or more price bracket, you can save a LOT of money by buying your bougies at TK Maxx!

I love the little clearance sections at the end of the aisles; oftentimes, the stock is maybe just out of season, or the product is the last one of it’s kind, so they lump it all together and reduce the prices. It is truly fantastic, and a great place to get stocking fillers.

A really big part of my shopping at TK Maxx is looking through the beauty section- I always overlook it, or have a quick glance, see the cheap-ish, kiddy make up, and think nahhh, not for me love. HOWEVER, when you take the time to go digging through the little bottles and boxes, you can find some seriously good bargains. For example, I’d been wanting to try Nip and Fab skincare for ages, as it is cruelty free, but in Boots and Superdrug, everything was so so dear! When I looked through the shelves at TK Maxx however, I found a product which was about 60-70% less expensive, meaning I didn’t even have to break a fiver to get something I’d literally almost payed three times the price for in Boots.

I really love getting my friends little skincare bits to try out, or new make up, and I really think that TK Maxx is the place to go for that.

DON’T forget the items by the tills, by the way- I found some other fabulous little stocking fillers there, too!


2. ASOS Outlet

Christmas is a great time for the buying of snuggly socks and pyjamas, right? I also like to buy my friends a new gym top or some workout leggings, if I know that they are particularly interested in the whole ‘New Year New Me’ bandwagon which we all jump upon post Noel. It is a well known fact, however, that people buy their friends items such as these, and so the shops can put up their prices in order to make an extra pound or two.

Instead, I like to browse through the ASOS Outlet for my inspiration. Yes, maybe the pyjamas are last-season’s, and maybe those Nike leggings aren’t the coolest, newest pair. But when I can get good quality jammies for £10, or fitness clothing from £9+, why spend more? It looks just as impressive as opening a brand new, ten trillion pound pair of socks.

Also- check their gift section for cute little knick knacks!

Below in the picture are the pj’s I got myself a while ago in the Outlet- see? Nothing to be scared of, plus they are so cute!


3. Student Discount

Obviously, this one only applies to some of you out there- sorry!

When I know I’m going to do some Christmas shopping online, I head onto UniDays to see which brands are doing promotions; for example, at the time of writing, Jack Wills has 25% off everything. I’ll make a mental note of the stores which have extra discount (instead of the usual 10%, I’m looking more for something in the region of 20-25% off!) and then I’ll consult my list of people to buy for. Let’s say I really wanted to buy Chris a nice new jumper (you’re not getting a jumper from me mate, just FYI!); I’ll go through the sites with the extra discount, bookmark things I think he’d love, look at how much money I’ll be saving (ask myself is it really a good saving!?) and then once I find something I really like, I’ll go with it.

It means that you’re buying something which is possibly normally quite pricey, and instead you’ve made a saving, whilst looking like an absolute megababe for spending ‘loads’ *wink wink nudge nudge say no more*.


4. Multipacks

You just can’t go wrong with a good ol’ multipack!

One thing I love giving people is a notebook; personally, I’m a total notebook nerd, and I have really weird specifications and criteria that must be met when I get a new one. If you receive a notebook from me, dear reader, please know that it has been carefully vetted!! But notebooks can be dear, so instead of buying multiple, expensive books, I’ll look for say, a pack of three, and that way, I can save a little by sorting out three gifts at the same time!

You could really do this with any kind of multipack- socks? Mugs? Beauty products?

It’s foolproof!


And finally,


You just cannot go wrong with buying people snacks at Christmas.

Think of all of those Christmas mornings where you’ve woken up, opened your presents, and all order flies out the window. Suddenly, as a 21 year old girl, you find yourself chucking the porridge to the back of the cupboard, and instead, you’re eating chocolate for breakfast. Naughty, but nice. And no, I’m not one bit sorry for that Christmas-themed banter.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m never content with my gifts- I’ll look at the little pile I’ve assembled for each person, and think ‘Hmmmm, is it enough? Is there something missing?!’ And that is where the beauty of snacks comes into play. It’s almost like the final touch on a Christmas present for me.

Again, you could go down the multipack route, or you could have a look in the food section in TK Maxx, where everything is fancy but discounted. But ultimately, a chocolate bar is not that dear, but can be the embellishment on a gift, to give it that little bit more… something!

Really, Amber? Another package?

And that is all I really have! I’m not a creative person, and so crafting is out the window for me! But I hope this post will help some of you who, like me, have a habit of spending a little too much around Christmas. It’s all about putting in the same effort, but saving yourself the pain of being poor in January.

So to all of my friends who can never come out for my January birthday- here ya go! Use these money saving tips and I’ll see you for dinner on the 12th 😉

I love you all lots- please let me know of any more de-spendage tips you might have!

A bientot,


Amber xx


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