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Christmas is the most expensive time of the year for most families, with Christmas gifts accounting for a large percentage of the Christmas budget. With the cost of living continuing to rise, many families are looking for ways to reduce the financial pressures of the festive season. Fortunately, there are several simple ways to cut costs this Christmas. Here are 8 ways to cut the cost of Christmas gifts.

1 Homemade Gifts

Homemade chocolates, preserves, wine, crafts and other items make excellent gifts for family and friends. In addition to being inexpensive and unique gifts, homemade items can be customised to add personal messages for loved ones. The Internet contains a wealth of free information, instructions and recipes for making handmade gifts.

2 Local Courses

Many colleges, community centres and adult education venues run craft courses in the run up to Christmas. These short courses teach adults the skills needed to make their own crafts, with pottery, basket weaving and card making being popular courses around the Christmas period. Courses are usually inexpensive, with most materials included in the cost of tuition.

3 Charity Shops and Thrift Shops

Charity shops and thrift shops are packed with bargains and cut-price items. Many people donate unwanted gifts and unused products to charity shops, while thrift shops often contain antiques and collectable items at reasonable prices. Charity shops are also ideal for finding stocking fillers, such as books, games and novelty items.

4 Freecycling

Freecycling websites allow users to get rid of their unwanted items by connecting buyers and sellers. Freecycling websites offer a wide range of unwanted goods, from stuffed toys to large kitchen appliances. All items are offered free of charge, provided that the buyer collects directly from the seller. The best bargains are usually snapped up quickly, so it’s important to check regularly for new items.

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5 Gift Swaps

Gift swapping has increased in popularity over the last few years, with several websites facilitating gift swaps between people all over the world. Gift swapping websites allow users to advertise their unwanted gifts, which can then be exchanged with other users. Gift swapping can be particularly lucrative if swapping rare or antique items, as other users are likely to offer high-priced gifts in exchange.

6 Online Auctions

Online auction websites are filled with bargains and discounted items. Large auction websites, such as eBay, are popular with both professional and amateur sellers, which means that there is a wide range of products for sale and auction. However, the best bargains can often be found at smaller auction sites, as there is less competition from other users. Police auctions and lost property auctions are also great places for finding a bargain.

7 Discounts

Discount and voucher websites contain a vast array of discounts on gift items, such as clothing, footwear, soft furnishings, kitchen appliances, cosmetics and adventure days. Voucher websites offer exclusive discount codes that can be used in specific stores, both online and on the High Street. Many of these discounts and vouchers are time-limited, so it is important to check regularly for new deals. Signing up to the newsletters offered by the top voucher websites ensures the best deals.

8 Pool Resources

Wholesale sellers offer significant discounts for customers who buy in bulk. Pooling resources with family, friends and colleagues to buy wholesale products is a simple way to obtain huge discounts on Christmas gifts. Some websites even allow users to pool resources with a group of strangers to buy wholesale items online. On a smaller scale, BOGOF (buy one get one free) deals are ideal for splitting the cost with a family member or friend.

Christmas gifts can be expensive, especially when buying branded products, but there are usually ways to reduce the cost. In addition to using the tips above, it’s often possible to achieve significant discounts by negotiating with sellers. Market traders and independent sellers are often prepared to negotiate on price, especially during the Christmas period.