It’s not surprising that lots of us get a little worried about covering the cost of Christmas. In fact, according to the Bank of England, a typical UK household will spend an extra £500 in December. And with presents, Christmas dinner and decorations all to pay for, the outgoings quickly add up.
But you know what? Christmas doesn’t have to be quite so pricey. There are actually loads of savvy ways you can keep costs down and avoid that post-Christmas panic. To get you inspired, here are a few money saving ideas to help you through the festive season.
1. Set a budget before you shop
It’s pretty easy to get carried away with your Christmas shopping (trust us, we know). But setting a budget and working out how much you’ve got to spend on each person is the best way to keep a lid on your costs. Once you’ve got your individual budgets, you should find taking on the task of Christmas shopping a whole lot easier.
2. Take advantage of the sales
With Black Friday falling on the last Friday in November, many brands will be releasing discounts in the run up to Christmas. Get your present list finished before December hits, and you might be able to snap up a few savvy savings.
Top tip: As well as the usual sales, you may also be able to take advantage of voucher codes and influencer discounts. Keep an eye out on social media and always check if there’s a live discount code available before you pay.
3. Check if you can get cashback
Did you know that many debit and credit cards have cashback offers? You usually need to activate them before you spend, so double check using your online banking apps if you’re entitled to any savings.
There are also websites like Top Cashback and Quidco that give you money back for doing your shopping online. Before you hit pay, check if you can find the item on a cashback website first and cut your costs.
4. Hunt down those discounts
Discount codes are another great way to knock down the price of your Christmas gifts. They’ll usually take a percentage off the cost of your order which can lead to big savings around Christmas. Check out websites like Voucher Codes for discounts on a wide range of brands.
December is also a great time to cash in the points you’ve built up on store loyalty cards. Take a look if you can make any savings by paying with points instead of pounds.
5. Dodge the delivery costs
Doing your Christmas shopping online? You can avoid any fast or special delivery costs by giving yourself plenty of time for your gifts to arrive. Also as Christmas gets closer, delivery times are also likely to be slower than usual, so make sure you don’t fork out extra in that last-minute rush.
6. Get crafty
Wrapping paper, Christmas cards, decorations… these little costs all add up. That’s why making your own can be a great money saver. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube to help you with everything from creating decorations to making your own wrapping paper. And, if you’ve got kids, it can be a great afternoon activity too.
And – if you’ve got a pile of spare Christmas cards from previous years or leftover wrapping paper, you might find you can save on those unexpected Christmas costs by using up last year’s leftovers.
7. Be supermarket savvy
Christmas is the time of year when you need to be supermarket savvy. First, see if you can pick up most of your items at a cheaper supermarket. This can bring the cost of your Christmas dinner down significantly. There are also usually good offers on festive treats throughout December, so do your research and shop around for the best buys.
You can also be smart with your meal planning over the festive period. For example, will you have enough leftovers from Christmas Day to cover Boxing Day? Are there any low cost family favourite meals you can make that week to absorb some of the cost? These small savings could help you stay within budget right through to New Year.
8. Set up a secret Santa
If you’ve got multiple siblings you need to buy for, or a friendship group that always exchanges presents, why don’t you suggest setting up a secret Santa? This can be a fun way to save yourself from buying endless gifts, without feeling like you have to miss out.
9. Spread the cost
If you’re worried about paying for Christmas out of one pay cheque, try to get your shopping ticked off early by buying some of your presents in the months before.
You may also be able to spread the cost even further by making purchases on a credit card with a 0% on purchases introductory offer. For instance, if your credit card has an offer where it won’t charge you interest on your balance for the first few months, you can spread the cost of Christmas by paying off your spending monthly before the promotion ends. Just remember that once the 0% period ends, the card’s usual APR will apply.