Christmas – Money Saving Tips – Part 1

Posted on December 11, 2013 by Karin Riisman | one comment

With Christmas creeping near with every passing day, the thought of digging deeper into your wallet may send you into a cold sweat, especially if you’re still recovering from a financial hangover from the summer holidays.  The good news is that there is still time to get your finances in order and create a fabulous Christmas without breaking the bank. We’ve put together the first 23 tips that can help you through the festive season without going into the red:

Christmas Saving Tips

  1. Set a Budget and Stick to It: Christmas can cost a fortune when you don’t keep track of your spending. So this year, work out a budget for food, drinks, decorations and presents for each person. Write it down, take it shopping with you and stick to it. 
  2. Boost your Christmas fund: If you are concerned that you won’t have enough money to cover the cost of Christmas, look for ways to make savings in the run up. This could include cancelling a magazine subscription, avoid spending on takeaway meals or cutting back on alcohol consumption while out at the pub with friends. 
  3. Time your spending: You may not be planning to buy Christmas presents until the last minute, perhaps taking advantage of any last-minute special offers. But this is a risky strategy, and can prove expensive if the main gift for a loved one has been sold out or cannot be delivered to them on time. Start researching now on what different retailers are charging for specific items and consider getting some purchases out of the way soon– it’ll help with your budgeting too. 
  4. Set time aside to surf: By surfing we’re not talking about getting on a board and hitting the waves, but rather getting on the Internet and searching online stores for specials. This will not only save you money on petrol, but on that precious commodity of time. Freeing up time from trawling around stores gives you time to plan, create menus and cook. Buying online also helps limit impulse buying.
  5. Get a good deal on your credit card: It’s best to avoid borrowing money for Christmas, but if you’ve got no way around it, then choose a credit card that gives you a good deal. Credit cards can be used to cover short term costs if you’re able to pay back the money after Christmas. Think about taking out a new card that offers 0% interest on purchases for the first three or six months, and repay before the end of the interest-free period.
  6. Use eBay: You can earn a bit of cash by selling things you have lying around the house, and find some great bargains on eBay. It is definitely worth a look.
  7. Plan your food shopping in advance: Look for where you can get the cheapest ingredients and groceries, and plan your shopping list in advance. If you want to order your groceries online, hurry because delivery slots in the week running up to Christmas are disappearing fast.
  8. Do your food shopping online: It’ll save you the hassle of going to the supermarket in the stressful last few days before Christmas, but shopping online will also save you money too, because you won’t be taken in by the Christmas music and twinkly lights or be tempted by any offers you don’t need. Just make your list and stick to it.
  9. Share the cost of your shopping delivery: If you’re going to do your shopping online, join up with a neighbor to share the cost on the delivery.
  10. Leave the kids at home: If there’s any way you can leave the kids at home when you go to the supermarket, do. They’ll be easily distracted by all the bright lights, toys and treats on display and their pester power might wear you down into buying something you don’t need. 
  11. Buy an artificial Christmas tree: An artificial Christmas tree can be used year after year, so they’re a great investment. Plus, they’re often cheaper than real ones, and you won’t have to spend any time hovering up pine needles.
  12. Don’t buy things that don’t get eaten: Things like Christmas cake and Christmas pudding might be traditional, but they’re not everyone’s favorite. If they’re not going to get eaten in your house, don’t waste your money on them. However, if they are family favorites, make your own to save some cash.
  13. Go to the market: Supermarkets have to pay for electricity, gas and lots of staff. Markets don’t. So consider a visit to your local market to pick up great deals on fruit and vegetables, or wait a day or two before Christmas, that so the food you buy doesn’t go bad.
  14. Downgrade a brand: If you always go for branded products like Heinz beans or McVities biscuits, give the supermarket’s own brands a try and see if you notice the difference. Using a supermarket own brand or even basics/value range in the run-up to Christmas can save you a small fortune.  
  15. Buy loose veggies: Don’t automatically go for the packaged fruits and vegetables when you’re in the supermarket. The loose ones are often cheaper and by only buying as much as you need, you’ll be saving money and reducing waste too.
  16. Compare prices: You’ll never know if you’re getting the best deal unless you look around. It’s easy on the internet – go to Google, select ‘shopping’ from the more menu and type in what you’re looking for. Then on the right-hand click the ‘sort by’ menu, and select ‘price: low to high.’ Bingo! You’ll have the cheapest options right there. It’s a bit harder to compare if you’re walking around the shops, but it’s worth the effort and if you can find a good deal in the shops you’ll save on postage. Plus, think of all those calories you’ll burn walking up and down the high street.
  17. Sales, sales, sales: Even before Christmas has arrived some retailers will be offloading goods that they don’t think will sell out in time. Likewise, the post-Christmas period offers some great opportunities to stock up on presents for forthcoming birthdays and other special occasions. Don’t forget to stock up on cut-price wrapping paper, cards and decorations rather than buying them when they are at a premium this time next year.
  18. Remember your loyalty points: Make a point of using your Boots advantage card or other loyalty cards in the run up to Christmas for weekly household necessities such as toothpaste, etc., and bump up your points so you can use them to buy presents. Look out for special ‘double points’ promotions too – many stores have frequent incentives in the run-up to Christmas so take advantage of earning even more points. (If you’ve been saving up loyalty points on your Nectar Card, Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage Card  and any other loyalty cards you have, now’s a great time to use them to buy food, drinks and presents).
  19. Cook it: It is nearly always cheaper and more fun to cook a dish for Christmas, than to dip into the chilled counter at the supermarket or deli.
  20. Stock up on snacks in advance: If you know you’ll eat loads of biscuits, crisps and other treats through the Christmas holidays, start stocking up now. Take advantage of any offers and put everything you buy away in a high cupboard (or in the attic!) so you’re not tempted to eat them before the holidays.
  21. Don’t buy a bigger turkey than you need: If you are going to do turkey on Christmas, don’t spend on more than you need to, unless you really want to make the most of the leftovers. A 2 kg bird will feed four to five people, 2.5kg will feed five to six people and 3kg will feed six to seven people.
  22. Choose alternative meat: Turkey is traditional, but if it’s not your favorite and it’s going to cost you a lot more, then consider cooking another meat for your Christmas dinner. 
  23. Don’t be shy: Instead of one person preparing the entire menu, ask friends or family to bring a contribution to the table. This also balances out the work load, making preparations easier for the one hosting the meal.

 

About 

Karin is passionate about finance, marketing, social media and writing. Her main interest lies in the current UK financial market . In her spare time she likes to read and do sports.

ONE COMMENT

John Parker

Thanks for these great tips Peachy!

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