With Christmas just around the corner, you may be worrying about one of the most expensive times of the year. In fact, according to the Money Advice Service the average UK family was planning to spend over £800 on Christmas last year!
But never fear, we’ve put together our top tips to save you money this festive season…
A bit of organisation can go a long way! The Christmas Money Planner from Money Advice Service lets you estimate how much you really need and how much you should be saving now, keeping you in control.
Send an e-card
Christmas cards aren’t cheap and a first class stamp will set you back 65p (second class isn’t much cheaper at 56p). It all adds up very quickly so why not opt for an e-card instead? You can personalise them and even make them sing and dance, all while saving money (and the environment!).
You won’t be the only one feeling the pinch so why not suggest setting up Secret Santa with your family and friends? This means you only need to buy one present for the whole group, saving you money and hassle. It’s really simple to set up thanks to websites like Elfster and adds a bit of fun!
Grab yourself a bargain
There are plenty of festive sales and discounts to enjoy but don’t get carried away! Start with a list of what you need and stick to it. After all, you’ll undo any savings if you buy too much! Black Friday is 24th November this year and you can sign up to retailer newsletters to find out when their sales start too. You could also consider ‘pre-loved’ and ‘nearly new’ gifts that with some savvy shopping you can find in mint condition but costing less than brand new.
The homemade touch
Loved ones may appreciate the effort of a homemade gift while you save on expensive retail mark-ups. Sites like Pinterest can provide the inspiration you need. It’s a great activity to get the kids involved in too and keep them busy over the holiday season. Presentation is key so brush up on those wrapping skills and your giftee might not even realise you made it yourself!
The big food shop
Are your eyes bigger than your stomach? It’s easy to over buy food at Christmas; after all, it’s one of the highlights of the season! But throwing away leftovers is throwing away money. Be realistic about how much you really need. How hungry will your family be after raiding all the chocolate boxes? And be wary of overpriced packaged food. It may look pretty in its seasonal box but you could make it yourself for a fraction of the price.
Trains & planes
When using public transport, don’t forget to book in advance to get the best prices. It pays to be flexible as well, so be open to travelling on different days or times to find the cheapest deal. If you’re flying, remember to check out alternative airports too as they could be cheaper.
Driving home for Christmas
Get your Chris Rea CD at the ready! If you’re driving home to see the family, a few simple tips can save you money. Before you set off, get your car serviced to make sure it’s running efficiently and remove any bike racks or unnecessary items to cut back on drag and weight. If you can, fill up before you get on the motorway to get the best priced fuel, and don’t rush! According to the AA, dropping from 80mph to 70mph could save up to 25% in fuel which can really add up on a long journey. Plus, nobody wants a speeding ticket for Christmas!
We hope you find these tips helpful, and remember it’s never too early to start saving for next year! Set aside a little each month and take the strain off next year's wallet. Your future self will thank you.