12 ways to save money this Christmas
Christmas might be a while away yet but the earlier you plan the more money you will save.
Planning what you need to buy and setting a budget will allow you to shop around and get the best deals, rather than panic buying on Christmas Eve.
The first step should be to ask yourself: “What can I afford to spend on Christmas?” Christmas is one day so don’t spend so much you’re paying for it long into 2016.
Follow our money savings tips this Christmas and you’ll be in profit come New Year’s Day.
1. Start saving early to spread the cost
A typical family spends more than £820 on Christmas, according to YouGov. Yet many struggle to cover that cost with December’s pay-packet alone and end up borrowing.
If you haven’t started saving, there’s still time. Now is the time to have a clear out and sell any unwanted goods and make some extra money before Christmas.
2. Make a list and stick to it
Panic buying and last minute shopping leads to unnecessary expense. Retailers spend a fortune on targeting your spending impulses – a list helps you fight them.
3. Set up a Christmas cupboard
Once you have a shopping list and know who you need to buy you can keep an eye on bargains and grab items at low prices. Wrap them up and store them away in a cupboard – the earlier the better.
4. Don’t exchange Christmas cards
The time, cost and effort of sending cards can really add up. Sending out a message of goodwill and joy to long distance friends and family is something worth doing as the sentiment means more. However, for local friends and family who you see regularly, is the tradition of giving cards an antiquated act?
The custom of exchanging Christmas themed emails is growing and using the money saved on not buying cards to donate money to charity seems like a much better use of resources.
5. Reuse unwanted gifts
We have all received a gift we didn’t want or a duplicate of something we already own. Why not make use of these unwanted gifts and pass them on to someone who will really appreciate the gift? Store these presents away and reuse them – but don’t forget who gave them to you originally. You wouldn’t want to give your mother-in-law a gift she originally gave to you.
6. Grab cashback on presents
With cashback sites, you sign up for free, then click through them to buy something. The site gets paid for sending traffic and passes some of this to you. However, don’t let the cashback site dictate where you spend. Focus on the cheapest deal and then see if cashback is available.
7. Reduce the number of gifts you have to purchase
Have you ever considered not doing presents? We’re not talking about gifts from parents or to grandchildren, but the ever-widening glut of friends, extended family and colleagues.
Have an open discussion now with friends and propose the possibility of not exchanging gifts. A welcome alternative might be to create a new Christmas tradition which celebrates your friendship over a meal, pantomime or carol concert.
For some, the gift of “not obliging you to buy for me” is actually better.
8. Secret Santa can keep costs down
Why not follow the old tradition of Secret Santa? This is where a group of work colleagues, friends, or even a school class, set a small budget and secretly draw names for who needs to buy for whom. This way you need only buy one present for the group and save money by sticking to a budget.
9. Find eBay bargains locally
eBay sellers may specify ‘collection only’ for larger items due to the cost of delivery. Because of this lack of accessibility, ‘collection only’ items attract fewer bids and are often cheaper. Look locally for products of this variety and you could end up picking up a bargain.
10. Start an IOU gift tradition
Why not wait until the January sales to give a loved one the perfect gift for half the price? It might not appear to be in the spirit of Christmas and won’t work for everyone, but it might just allow you to buy a bigger, better gift and really make someone’s dreams come true.
You could also buy a small extra gift from potential savings to show the benefit of waiting.
11. Pick up bargains in the sales
The January sales start earlier and earlier each year, and it’s a great time to pick up a bargain for next Christmas. It’s often hard to predict what gifts to buy, but you might be able to pick up generic items, like Christmas cards, wrapping paper and decorations.
You could designate a drawer or a box in a cupboard to collect presents, wrapping or cards throughout the year and make sure you keep track of what you’ve bought to avoid over spending.
12. Be wary when buying gift cards
If you’re considering giving gift cards or vouchers there are three key things you should be aware of:
- Sometimes retailers go bust. A host of big-name retailers have gone into administration in recent years. When this happens, they usually stop accepting cards altogether.
- Gift cards have expiry dates. Most gift cards must be redeemed within a certain period of time, so the recipient needs to spend them before time runs out.
- They could forget or lose them. Often people forget to use them, lose them or accidentally run them through the wash.
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