3 December 2019
The ultimate guide to saving money around Christmas
It may have felt like Christmas has been just around the corner for a while now. With boxes of chocolates landing in supermarkets as early as September and adverts hitting our TV screens during November, it doesn’t exactly creep up on us. However, when it comes to spending money at Christmas, you may feel like you should have started saving a lot earlier for the many festive events and gifts for loved ones.
We’ve created a guide to help you save money around the festive season.
First and foremost, it’s so important to set a budget for Christmas. Before the festive season starts, it's a good idea to take some time to plan how much you can realistically afford to spend. Take into consideration how much money will be coming in compared to any additional Christmas outgoings, so you’re not left with unmanageable bills to pay.
The average Christmas spend per household in the UK is £500 which includes food, presents, travel and decorations.1 In order to make sure you have a realistic budget rather than spending money on unnecessary credit card bills, it’s a good idea to work out how much you could comfortably save each month so you’re confident that you will have money to spend when the festive season arrives.
Tips like setting up a dedicated savings account with regular payments throughout the year or collecting spare change in a jar can all add up and help relieve some of the financial pressures.
People tackle their Christmas shopping in different ways. Some love walking around a busy shopping centre and some much prefer to order everything online with one click from the comfort of their own home. The shops at this time of year can be overwhelming, with so much choice and competition between retailers, but shopping online allows you to search for particular products and get them all delivered to your door — avoiding such temptations in the shops! If you do prefer to shop in the ‘real world,' be careful to avoid temptation and thus veering away from your budget.
Creating a plan or list before you begin your Christmas shopping can be useful. Take note of anything that your loved ones mention in the months running up to the big day, so when it comes, you know exactly what to get them. As well as saving you time at the shops, it also gives you the chance to search for the best price or deal.
There are so many deals available at this time of year, and although they may look attractive, it pays to be wary because often you don’t actually save as much money as you thought. 3 for 2 deals are a perfect example. You may only love one of the products but because you believe you’re getting a deal you could come away and realise that you don’t actually have anyone who would want the other two gifts you picked up!
Homemade gifts are something you do as a child at school but why not do it now? They are creative and thoughtful and a lot of the time, your loved ones will appreciate gifts like these because a lot of thought and creativity goes into them. A few ideas for homemade gifts are:
- Scented candles
- Snow globes
- Bath bombs
You may have leftover gift cards or vouchers from earlier in the year, so make use of these at Christmas so your bank account can take a break. You could also decide with your family not to buy lots of gifts for each other, set an upper budget, or organise a Secret Santa so you only have to purchase one gift — an especially good tip if you’re part of a big family!
Start shopping early. Some people even do their Christmas shopping for the following year on Boxing Day! If you’re really ahead of the game, you might look out for deals throughout the year and make the most of them, if you accumulate gifts throughout the year, you’ll save money in the long run and spread the cost evenly.
Supermarkets are packed with tempting food around this time of year. It’s so easy to fill your trolley with extra treats but food shopping is one of the biggest areas you can be clever and save some money.
It’s easy to overspend because you may be feeding more mouths than usual with family visiting, but how many times are you left with food going to waste? Cut down on costs and waste by being mindful when you’re shopping. Instead of buying a whole Turkey, you could buy a crown or breasts if it works out cheaper. Save money on vegetables by looking out for seasonal deals, buying value ranges or frozen ingredients instead of fresh. Make your own Yorkshire puddings instead of buying them chilled, this way you can make as many as you like AND save a little bit of money!
Check more of these great money-saving tips here.
Christmas is the time for celebrations, with parties happening most nights of December. It’s easy to be tempted to go online and order a brand new outfit, but why not take a look in your wardrobe and see if there is an outfit you can wear again. You could save £30-£50 just by wearing something that’s been sat in your wardrobe! And once the celebrations are in full swing, it will be the company that matters and not what you are wearing. Save the money on a new outfit and that could buy you some tasty food and a mulled wine at a German market — or even better, save for the new year.
Christmas can be an extremely stressful time of year for a lot of people. There is a lot of pressure to see a lot of friends and family in a short space of time, and you may even be at work until Christmas Eve. However, money is seen as the biggest cause of stress when it comes to the festive season. When you look at how much you need to spend on parties, gifts and food it can be overwhelming, but as long as you save, budget correctly and avoid unnecessary temptations, you can enjoy the things that matter most.