Christmas can be expensive
But it doesn’t need to send you into short term financial emergency! There are loads of way to keep Christmas spending under control. Read on for our top 10 Christmas money saving tips.
1. Plan according to your budget
As we’ve written countless times, starting with a budget is the best way forward. When you make a budget, it forces you to work out what money you have left after bills. Starting with that amount, you know you can’t overspend over the festive period. You’ll enjoy it a lot more as a result as you won’t reach January needing an emergency loan. If you’ve followed our tips in the past, all the presents will be bought or paid for already. Your budget should now only need to cover food and drink and maybe a few treats.
2. Need fast cash? Sell something
You’d be surprised how much the toys your kids have forgotten might be worth to someone else. Those clothes that you wore once, didn’t like but didn’t take back to the shop? Get on an auction site and sell them! It used to only be eBay but now there are loads and many won’t take part of your money to use. Some even have their own app letting you just take a picture and sell! Don’t be stubborn about the price, if someone wants a jacket for £5 when you paid £50 then sell it. The money is better in your account.
3. Buy second hand
Following the last tip, you’d be surprised what you can buy second hand at brilliant quality. Whether it’s a Christmas outfit or decorations. Even Christmas trees and tinsel can be bought for a fraction of the price, we don’t recommend second hand live trees though! The main web sites are usually best when buying, eBay does a lot to protect you from being scammed and they handle any refund claims if what you buy is not quite as described.
4. Buy in bulk
When it comes to Christmas, especially if you have a large family, always buy in bulk. When you go round the supermarket, check those multi buy deals and try to think how much you’ll need for the whole Christmas period. Don’t always just buy the biggest though, most supermarkets have an extra line on their shelf labels which tells you the cost per 100g for example. That’s the price you need to get as low as possible, without buying so much you waste it of course.
5. Supermarket saving schemes
We’ll write more about these in future but there might still be time this year. Most of the big supermarkets want you to save for your christmas shop with them. To reward you, they’ll often give you an extra 5% back. Although the schemes are designed to run all year, some of them are paying the 5% bonus in the next week or two so visit your local supermarket and see if you can dump all your spends on the scheme and get free cash! Just be warned though, these schemes don’t have the protection of a bank account, if the company goes bust, you lose you money. Stick to the big named supermarkets and you should be fine.
6. Buy the next brand down
It’s nicknamed downshifting, it’s where you buy the next brand down (cheaper) than your usual one. You don’t have to go straight to the cheapest unless you really are suffering short term income reduction. Try supermarket own brands for everything you’d normally buy branded.
7. Don’t buy too much
Balance carefully with tip 4 and make sure you don’t buy too much. Especially when it comes to food, unless you’ve made a recipe plan that means eating turkey for 5 days! Buy the right size turkey and go for a cheaper brand. Don’t necessarily get a whole one, consider a joint from your supermarket or butcher. Buy just enough so everyone is full but leave space for chocolate!
8. Shop online
It’s not just during Black Friday and Cyber Monday that the best deals are found online. The great thing about shopping online is you don’t have to walk past all the other things you want but don’t need. The online retailers might try and get you to buy more but if you’re careful you can just checkout what you wanted. Try to find a shop that has free delivery, Amazon are really good for this as long as you have a few days.
9. Buy booze in bulk
Obviously we want you to drink responsibly but it wouldn’t be Christmas without a glass or two of beer or wine. Check the supermarket deals again and watch for the 25% off 6 bottles of wine offers. When you combine that with other discounts that might be on, you can pick up a bargain that will last you through to New Year.
10. Forget the worries
Christmas is a time for getting together with family and having a day without worries. Use our top 10 Christmas money saving tips to help you through. If you are having debt worries, there’s loads of free advice at the Money Advice Service.