Monday, 1 December 2014

Want a unique gift this Christmas...?

If you're tired of looking in the shops at the same old stuff and want an affordable, personalised gift then look no further. I have had so many custom orders lately in my Etsy shop and I know some have been for Christmas gifts.

Perfect for where you live, honeymoon destinations, wedding locations, engagement spots or a mixture of all of the above!

My map cards are easily framed or I am happy to create something in a different size up to A4. I can also offer white or brown card and as many or as few hearts as you like.  I have a range on UK, European and World Maps so please get in touch on here or via Facebook, e-mail or my Etsy shop to discuss what I can make for you. Take a look at just a few of the custom orders I have already done for people in the pictures below.

Last Christmas Shipping Dates:

UK - Friday 19th December
Europe - Monday 8th December
Everywhere Else - Wednesday 3rd December.

How to Save Money on your Christmas presents!

That time of year is upon us once again. The lights are twinkling on the tree, the wine is mulling and there's a chill in the air. But lets face it, it can be an expensive time of year too. I don't see the point of spending hundreds of pounds on presents and getting myself into debt for one day, so over the years I have managed to buy everyone presents on abudget. I'm going to share my top tips for a perfect (not pricey!) Christmas.

1. Plan ahead

This is the first thing that you must do. I start thinking about presents about October time and usually have a list written down of people that I need to buy for. As I think of things or buy things for each person I can jot them down so I don't forget. It also helps to keep track of what you have already bought so you don't keep on buying. It doesn't matter when you make your plan but I would recommend the beginning on December at the latest. 

2. Shop around

I very rarely buy something the first time I see it (unless it's a shop that doesn't stock the same thing regularly) I will remember the price, have a look on a few websites and then decide where is cheapest. I have saved myself a lot of money in the past just by getting it from a different place.

3. Save on your gift wrapping

This is a personal choice but there are lots of creative ways to wrap presents that don't cost a lot. Don't get me wrong, I love the Marks & Spencers paper as much as anyone else but I can't justify £3.50 on one roll of paper which might only wrap a few presents. There are lots of places that offer wrapping paper for £1 and they are just as good quality as some of your expensive brands. The same goes for bows and ribbons....they are exactly the same in Poundland as they are in John Lewis! 

4. Be strict with who you buy for

Everyone has different opinions on where to draw the line so you have to find what works for you and your friends and family. Over the years my friends and I have agreed on just cards or set a limit. Some years we have decided to put the money we would spend on presents on a meal instead as we don't see each other often. I also have agreed with family members who have children that the adults will no longer buy presents for each other and we will focus on the kids. All of this cuts out a lot of those generic presents that are nice but really people don't need and will usually add more calories! 

6. Take advantage of deals

In the run up to Christmas there are lots of deals and offers on which are designed to make us spend more. However, if you think about what you actually need, save your coupons (Or double them up on Tesco's case!) and keep an eye on the end dates of these offers, you can actually save yourself a lot of money. I have saved money on chocolates which I know I would need, I have saved myself 10s of pounds just by ordering things into store to collect rather than home delivery and have even got things for free through clever couponing. Beat the shops at their own game!

5. Get creative

I don't know anyone who doesn't like a thoughtful, handmade gift. This year many of ours have a personal touch which we have put a lot of thought into and we know everyone will love them. If you are crafty check out Pinterest or search my blog for the hashtag 12daysofcraftsmas, which is a series of posts I did last year on simple Christmas crafts. If you are not very arty check out personalised gifts such as photobooks, mugs, calenders or even personalised story books. All of these are far nicer than something bought off the shelf. 

It is possible to do everything on a budget and no-one needs to miss out because of it. You just need to plan, work out what you can afford and stick to it. Then you will enjoy Christmas and won't be starting the new year worrying about paying it back or the credit card bills!

Happy Shopping!