Think you’ll be celebrating Christmas in thrifty spirits this year? Households spend over £700 more in December according to the Bank of England (on all those lovely presents and foods), but there are lots of ways to cut the costs if you plan and budget properly. We’ve put together eight top Christmas money-saving tips, so you can treat the family without entering 2022 in the red – read on to find out more.
1. Make a list, set a budget
Impulsive shopping is expensive (and retailers encourage it), so making a list and sticking to a budget is the easiest way to save money. Write down what presents you need to buy, and set how much you can afford to spend after paying bills and essentials. To avoid overspending, keep track of what you’ve purchased on a notepad, phone, or laptop – and if you can, opt into bank alerts, in case your account goes below a certain amount.
2. Don’t buy unnecessary gifts
Of course, we all buy gifts for our nearest and dearest – but what about colleagues, acquaintances, and extended family? The concept of ‘obliged giving’ only creates unnecessary stress, so think carefully about who to buy for. However, if it’s a tradition you don’t think you can break, perhaps agree to a family Secret Santa, or a spend cap on gifts. Buying group presents (rather than for every individual), like biscuits tins or board games, can keep expenses down too.
3. Give presents that don’t cost
Giving doesn’t have to be pricey. Have a think about some things you could do for/with people, rather than what you can buy, with a free gift note (that you could decorate and personalise too). This could be anything from cleaning their car and making them breakfast in bed, to going on a winter stroll followed by a picnic. You could also have a go at homemade versions of fancy shop gifts, like chocolate slabs, scented candles, and unique jewellery – for a fraction of the cost.
4. Shop on the web
It’s nearly always cheaper, and easier, to shop on the web than in-store. You’ll also find comparison sites to help you find the best prices for perfumes, books, gadgets, and more from a wide range of big-chain and independent retailers. Also, how about earning money as you shop? Sign up to one of the top cashback sites for free, and you could get anything between 1% and 12% cashback when you buy something from the convenience of your sofa. Win-win!
5. Look out for discounts and sales
Outlet stores used to be miles away, but you’ll now find a multitude online. Get end-of-line items at reduced prices, from clothes and trainers to Christmas cards and decorations. If you sign up to retailer newsletters too, you’ll be the first to hear about discounts. Still, a bargain’s only a bargain if you planned to buy it, so don’t get caught out with impulse purchases. Another tip: if you load up your basket but wait a little before you check out, you might get a money-off code via email, persuading you to finish your order.
6. Get crafty with the kids
Money-saving doesn’t mean fun-saving – sought-after toys come with a high price tag, but there’s loads of fun you can have with the little ones on a budget. Why not get crafty, and make wrap or cards by jazzing up simple brown paper with handprints, glitter, and potato stamps? Or, let them release their wild side with easy-make sock monkeys. You could even give them homemade snowman soup (hot chocolate, marshmallows, and choc chips, for those that didn’t know!) Better still, make their Christmas morning magical by planting a fallen bell from “Santa’s sleigh.”
7. Plan every festive meal
The festive season is all about treating yourself, but don’t over-indulge in more than you need. Supermarket offers are everywhere this time of year, like 3 for 2 and BOGOF, but don’t buy these items if you won’t eat them. Make a meal plan for the key events, like Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year, but otherwise, there’s no reason not to eat semi-normally for the in-between days. Try swapping branded products for own brand too – the price differences soon add up when you’re feeding mouths a-plenty.
8. Or…go cold turkey
Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, not spending money, so if you’re really struggling, take Christmas off this year. Remember, it’s only one day, and it’s far more important to enter the New Year happy and free from financial stress. Be honest about it with family and friends, and there’s no reason why you can’t postpone the celebrations to next year, for when you’ve saved a little more.
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