It may be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ but covering the costs of Christmas can be tough on your finances (and your stress levels). With a bit of planning though, it IS possible to keep costs under control – whatever your budget. Here’s six easy ways to save money this Christmas:
1. Set a budget
It’s all too easy to buy impulse presents, extra drinks at the Christmas party or fancy decorations without noticing what it all adds up to. If you write a list now (preferably before Black Friday!) of the things you REALLY need, you will be able to cut unnecessary spending quite substantially.
Estimate and budget how much you’ll need for food, socialising, presents, decorations and any other Christmas-related things. By writing down exactly how much you plan to spend, it’s easier to resist impulse purchases.
2. Avoid credit cards
Resist the urge to splurge on your credit card. If you stick with your debit card or cash, you are much more likely to curb your spending to what you can actually afford. Try cutting down the number of people you buy for – there’s no need to feel guilty as it also releases them from the need to buy you something too. And let’s face it, we can all do without plastic wrapped gift sets from distant cousins!
3. Check for discounts
Many stores offer discounts and promotions, either when you shop on a certain day or when using their app. Keep an eye out to make sure you’re not missing out on some great deals. Also don’t forget about cashback sites which give you money back on what you buy. Just make sure you’re buying what you need. New Google add-on ShoppingPal – which shows you the ethical ratings of online retailers – rewards you with discounts for shopping sustainably, so it helps the planet as well as your spending.
4. Sell your second-hand stash
With the average person having £800 worth of unwanted items just lying around their house or attic, you could finance your Christmas entirely (or at least reduce the dent in your pocket) simply by selling your unused stuff on eBay. It could not only save you from putting presents on plastic this year, it will also help to reduce waste and encourages a more sustainable world.
Many of us obediently pay our bills throughout the year and don’t give it a second thought (or at least never get around to checking if we could make them cheaper). Using an auto-switching service like Look After My Bills will ensure you are always on the best deal. You can also choose ‘renewables only’ making it at gift for the planet too. The money you save could make all the difference this Christmas.
6. Spend less on Christmas dinner
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a ridiculously excessive meal with foods that, for whatever reason, we don’t allow ourselves to eat at any other time of the year. But, so much of the food we buy is ultimately destined for the bin. According to Unilever, 4.2 million Christmas dinners are wasted in the UK every year.
This equates to around 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies, 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding, 17.2 million Brussels sprouts, 11.9 million carrots and 11.3 million roast potatoes! The Brussels sprouts alone wasted at Christmas could power a home for three years. We could all save money and a LOT of combined waste simply by buying less this year.