The Christmas holidays can be tough financially for most people, so do not feel alone. Spending gets out of hand, presents become more expensive and it’s all in a bid to throw the best Christmas day for your family. But with the rising cost of living, it may feel like the pressure can be a little too much.
To try and take some of the financial stress of Christmas away, we wanted to share our top tips and advice on how to save money for Christmas. This blog includes everything from budgeting for the big day to how to save money on gifts and when to book any travel arrangements in advance.
Work out what you can afford
We all want to plan the perfect Christmas for our families and friends, and one of the best ways to save money for Christmas is to create a budget and stick to it. Determine how much money you can realistically spend on gifts, food, and other holiday expenses. Once you have a number in mind, stick to it. There are several ways to keep track of your spending, such as using a budgeting app or creating a spreadsheet. Whatever method you choose, check in with your budget often to ensure that you are on track.
A variety of budget planners available online can help you understand your budget. We’ve included some of our favourites below:
Start saving early
One of the best ways to save money is to set aside funds well before you need them. If you know that you want to spend £500 on Christmas gifts this year, start putting away what you can afford as early as possible. This will help you avoid going into debt or scrounge up last-minute funds come December. You may want to consider opening a dedicated saving account specifically for holiday spending; this way, you can earn interest on your balance and have the funds readily available come Christmas.
Many high street voucher companies enable you to spread the cost of Christmas on a payment plan that starts early in the year. You pay a small monthly fee by direct debit and receive your vouchers in the post near Christmas.
Don’t be excessive with your gifting
Believe it or not, Christmas isn’t about presents… even if the retail industry tries to convince us that it is. Buying gifts for your friends or family may make you feel good ‘The gift of giving!’, but it may be worth considering limiting the number of gifts you purchase this year.
Remember, purchasing gifts for family or friends creates an obligation on recipients to give back, whether they can afford it or not. For some, the gift of “not obliging you to buy for me” is preferable.
Why not try out a secret Santa gifting approach? Each member of your family or friendship group has a limit to spend on one person – everyone gets a gift, but no one has to spend a fortune.
Keep your eyes on discounts and vouchers
Start by making a list of who you need to buy for and maybe save it on your mobile phone; that way, when you see a specific item at a reasonable price, you can snap them up!
Money Saving Expert has a weekly newsletter showcasing the best vouchers and discounts available; you can check it out here.
There are also some fantastic cashback sites and discount options available online that will help you save money or receive cashback upon making a purchase. Our personal favourite is TopCashBack – check it out here.
When it comes time to start buying gifts, remember there is no shame in comparison shopping; it can help you save a lot of money in the long run. These days, there are myriad ways to compare prices on just about anything; use sites like Amazon or eBay to find the best deals on gifts or check websites like Groupon and Wowcher for discounts on local experiences (like restaurant gift certificates or tickets to a show). As mentioned above, you should also take advantage of any coupons or discount codes available; search online before making any purchases to see if current offers could help reduce the overall cost of your holiday shopping.
If you’re crafty, why not try DIY gifting? There are plenty of options for homemade gifts, from candles and wax melts to bath bombs and home-brewed gin! These items make fantastic Christmas gifts, and you’ll also have fun creating them.
Homemade gifts are always incredibly well received, as they signify that you’ve put time, effort and careful consideration into making them.
Amazon has a range of kits available with simple instructions on creating gifts like candles or bath bombs. So, options are available for everyone, whether you’re an experienced creator or a newbie.
Take advantage of sales
Whenever possible, try to take advantage of sales and promotions—especially regarding big-ticket items like electronics or travel. For example, many stores offer great deals on laptops and tablets right around Black Friday; if someone on your list wants a new computer, consider shopping then and taking advantage of the steep discounts.
Switch your turkey
Turkeys are expensive, especially if you are feeding a large family. So why not try something different? A range of cheaper options are available, including roast chicken and pork, or you could even try a vegetarian nut roast.
Do you have Christmas presents you received last year that are just sat in a cupboard? Why not re-gift them? Not only is this a fantastic way to save money, but it’s also great for the environment as less waste will be sent to landfill.
Remember – do not re-gift presents to the person who bought them for you originally!
Borrowing for Christmas
Ideally, you’ll be able to fund Christmas with your pre-planned budget, but we understand this isn’t always the case. If you must take out credit to help pay for the festivities, ensure you’re getting a good deal! Plenty of 0% interest rate credit cards are available on the market. As long as you pay the entire balance within the specified period, it could help you spread the cost without costing you a fortune.
Book travel tickets in advance
Many of you will travel to family and friends over Christmas. Whether looking at rail fairs or flights, you must book these in advance.
Rail operators generally launch tickets twelve weeks before the date of travel, and the cheapest tickets are always the first to go.
Did you know that you can sign up for a free alert that notifies you when tickets go on sale? Click here to sign up.
We hope that these tips have given you a few ideas of how you can save money this Christmas! It is important to remember that it is only one day and try not to put too much pressure on yourself financially. After all, the festive season is meant to be enjoyed with loved ones!