Our 10 top tips on how to make your money go further this Christmas.
With Christmas just around the corner, most of us are getting into the festive spirit, but secretly, we’re asking ourselves “how much is it going to cost me this year?”
Don’t panic, we’ve put together our top tips for keeping you on the straight and narrow this year without compromising on the festive fun.
1. Set a realistic budget and stick to it
Before you hit the shops, sit down and work out how much you can afford to spend on Christmas as a whole. This is necessary for preventing over-spending, so don’t skip this step.
If you need some help along the way, there are lots of great budgeting apps available. We have reviewed some of them here if you want to get the low down.
Some commonly forgotten but necessary costs include:
Postage - If you’re sending season’s greetings to family and friends far and wide, don’t forget to budget for the postage costs for getting them there in time.
Pet care - If you’re going away for the festive season, don’t forget about your furry friends who may need some temporary accommodation.
Emergency decorations - You may think you have everything, but you’ll undoubtedly realise on unpacking that some of the light bulbs have gone, or you’ll remember the breaking sound you heard (and ignored) as you put everything back in the loft last year. Whatever it is, try to put aside some ‘emergency’ funds so you don’t get caught out.
Fuel - Christmas is all about spending time with loved one, but that can get expensive if you have several people to visit and you’re the designated driver. Make sure you plan for that ahead of time so nothing kills your Christmas Day buzz.
2. Always get a gift receipt
No matter how much you think you know someone, sometimes you just don’t buy them the right gift. Rather than wasting your money on something they won’t use, ask for a gift receipt so that the recipient can exchange it for something they love without the hassle.
3. Take advantage of cash back deals
Cashback is a great way of getting more bang for your buck when you’re shopping. Websites such as TopCashback and Quidco allow you collect bonuses when you shop through them rather than directly through the retailer, so sign up before you start the mad dash.
4. Branch out on your loyalty points
If you’ve been saving your supermarket loyalty points all year with the intention to use them on your big Christmas food shop, then stop right there. Tescos and Nectar will offer you more bang for your buck with ‘partner offers’ such as days out, dining experience and gifts. The loyalty points built up from doing this can be used to ease the pain of your food shop, so it’s win-win.
5. DIY gifts
Handmade gifts are the perfect way of letting those closest to you know how much you love them even if you’re on a budget. From photo albums jammed packed with precious memories, to a cosy knitted scarf, get your creative on and make someone’s Christmas unforgettable.
6. Search for hidden gems online
You’ll be surprised with what you can find on eBay, Depop and Facebook marketplace these days. A lot of items are either brand new, discontinued stock or just hardly used which can amount to huge savings.
7. Don’t be a snob
When it comes to choosing gifts for your loved ones, don’t just look for named brands and don’t feel obliged to max out your budget. If you see something you think they’ll love, the chances are they will, regardless of the price. The whole point of a gift is to make it as personal as possible. Trust us, family and friends will value a thoughtful present more than an expensive one.
8. Layer up and keep your heating bill down
Around this time of year, fuel bills are likely to rocket as the temperature drops but there’s no need to stress over this avoidable expense. Layering up with fluffy jumpers, snuggly socks and a good blanket, especially when watching the telly, will stop you turning the heating up. For more tips on how to get winter-ready and save £££s, click here.
9. “Bring a dish” Christmas dinner
Feeding the masses is not cheap, but Christmas dinner is an easy place to make some savings if you think outside the box. Make a list of all the side dishes and desserts, then ask each person to pick one and bring it along. It’s a great way of bringing everyone together, and you could even have a blind taste test to decide a winner. It will also mean you’ll have more time to spend with them rather than being hidden away in the kitchen.
10. Sell or re-purpose last year’s unwanted gifts
If you still have unopened or unused gifts from last year taking up precious space then it might be time to let them go to a new home. Either sell them online to add some extra pennies into your Christmas budget or gift them to someone that you know will appreciate it (just make sure it’s not the person who gave it to you!)
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