There’s less than one month until Christmas, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by all the christmas decorations and mince pies in the shops. For some people, it’s far too early to be thinking about Christmas, some are full of holiday spirit all year round, and others may celebrate Chanukah, Eid or owt.
No matter what you are celebrating, the festive season can be the most expensive time of the year. Big retail days like Black Friday in November has also encouraged higher spending in the run up to christmas. In fact, a typical UK household spends about £3,300 in the month of December to cover the cost of Christmas. According to the Bank of England, that’s about £800 more than an average month!
This means that saving money for christmas has become an even more important part of managing your finances. Going into your overdraft to afford the christmas spending can be even more expensive than borrowing money, even online payday loans. To help ensure you don’t get into the situation of having no money for christmas, read through out list of the top tips to save money.
How To Save Money At Christmas
Plan for the Festive Period
Lists are not just for Santa. Make sure you keep track of the people you need to buy presents for, the food you must have, and any decorations that are essential. Then work out your budget and see what is actually doable. Thinking about Christmas this early can help, as you’ve got time to start saving!
Do Secret Santa
Talk to your friends and family members about doing a Secret Santa this year, instead of buying everyone a gift. That way you only need to buy one present instead of loads for each of your friends. This is a great thing to do at work too.
Switch Your Bank Account
A lot of people don’t like to switch bank accounts, as they think it will be a lot of hassle. The biggest issue tends to be your current bank trying to tempt you to stay though. If you swap banks, a lot of them offer an incentive of up to £200! Some may call it bribery, we call it free money.
While this is not a sure fire way to get extra presents (for yourself or others), entering into loads of free competitions could be a good way to source smaller gifts. Even if you don’t win the main prize, you could win something, so why not give it a go?
Shop in Discount Supermarkets
While it’s common to have some treats aside from christmas dinner, it’s true that most of us buy a bit too much food at Christmas. But it doesn’t have to be from the most expensive supermarkets. Discount shops like Lidl and Aldi have much cheaper options, and often stock German festive food like stollen and gingerbread.
Check For Amazon Discounts
Items on Amazon are for the most part reasonably priced anyway, but there could be ways to save even more. The Money Saving Expert site has a great page where you can search for Christmas gifts and get up to 75% off.
Sell Old Gifts
If you’ve still got a gift from your last Christmas haul lying around, why keep it? Whoever gave it to you has probably forgotten by now, so don’t expect to see its pride of place in your living room… Selling old unused presents could raise enough money to buy half of the gifts for this year!
Order Gifts Early
Buying gifts in November means that you don’t need to pay for priority delivery – you’ve got loads of time. So you can always choose the cheapest delivery option.
Although shopping on the high street can be fun, if you can stand the crowds, it can be a lot cheaper and do your Christmas shopping online. There are loads of online outlet stores if you don’t live near any outlet villages. You can even do online shopping for more expensive brands like Superdry— they have an online outlet store on eBay.
Second-Hand Doesn’t Mean Second Rate
There is nothing wrong with buying second-hand gifts if you know someone will love it regardless. Charity shops often sell things that are in fantastic condition or even new. Sites like eBay can also have great deals that will cost less. If you’ve got transport, you can even pick up things locally via Gumtree.
Buy From Abroad
Companies like Wish and AliExpress can offer you things from clothing to cameras for a fraction of the price. The only catch is that some things will take up to 6 weeks to arrive – better start looking soon if you want to get presents in time for Christmas!
Cashback Credit Cards
If you have a cashback credit card, you’ll get money every time you spend. As long as you pay back in full each month, it’s interest-free. Some credit cards pay 5% for the first three months, so you could get a lot back if you use the card for larger expenses. This may not be an option if you have bad credit.
Get Items on Sale
Almost all shops have a sale on towards the end of a season. As we enter into winter, you can probably bag a few bargains you can give as Christmas presents.
Quite a few people are thinking about Christmas in January – if you shop in the January sales this year, you can get wrapping, cards and decorations for next year! As long as you have a place to store them, and don’t forget they’re there, this is a great way to save money.
Book Tickets in Advance
People travel all over the country (and abroad) to get home for Christmas. Train tickets can be expensive if you buy them last minute, so make sure you check the prices as soon as possible. If you’re eligible for a railcard, this can pay for itself on your first trip if you’ve got a long way to go.
Look For Cheap Deals
It’s always a good idea to shop around. If you find something you like on one website, but it’s too expensive, you may be able to find it cheaper elsewhere. Google Shopping can often show you the cheapest deal.
Make Homemade Presents
Even if you’re not that creative, you can still make your own gift vouchers – perhaps promise a meal eating out, or a weekend away. You’ll have time to save a little more money if it’s a trip you need to pay for.
For those of a more artistic temperament, there are loads of great ideas to amaze and inspire on sites like Pinterest.
Stamps can be expensive. This is a universal truth. So if you’re sending tons of Christmas cards each year, it’s probably costing far too much. Perhaps try sending e-cards this year instead.
Cheap Show Tickets
If you subscribe to a newsletter or mailing list, you may be able to find theatre or show tickets for discounted prices. You can also look on sites like TheatreMonkey to get the best deals.
Chicken or Turkey?
It might sound a little radical, but do you need to buy a huge turkey for Christmas? They’re often marked up due to the season, and a lot of people prefer chicken anyway. You could also go veggie this year and have a nut roast!
Use Your Loyalty Cards (Sometimes)
Many shops have loyalty cards, but we tend to forget to spend the points we save over the year. Now is the best time to cash in the points you’ve earned! You can sometimes also convert points into vouchers that you can give as gifts instead. But be cautious, read about how using loyalty cards and being too loyal to retailers can be more expensive!