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I love the festive season as much as the next person but the cost to our bank balance and our sanity can be high. It’s insane, for many of us the pressure will already be building.
Once the presents are unwrapped, the turkey’s eaten and the party poppers have well and truly popped, the Christmas debt train will arrive and we’ll have no choice but to get onboard. We’ll be left in the red and spend months of playing catch up.
We’ll Endure hours of stress and anxiety overpaying the money back whilst covering the monthly bills. That’s without contemplating the state of the economy and increasing inflation, which will only compound the situation.
So, let’s not do it to ourselves. Why ruin the following year for the sake of a couple of days when Christmas can be just as magical without breaking the bank.
If you’re on a tight budget but determined to make the most of Christmas, here are our top 15 Christmas money saving tips to help you avoid spending more than you can afford over the festive period.
Our Top 15 Christmas Money Saving Tips
1. Have a Christmas Plan.
Behind every fabulous but cost-effective Christmas plan is a realistic budget. When you’re creating your budget, consider all your expenses not just gift buying. Think Christmas food, decorations etc. Creating a basic budget plan is easier than you’d think (you can download ours for free below).
A budget plan helps focus the mind. If your bank balance falls short of the Christmas you’d imagined, it gives you the chance you to edit your plans. You might need to start a Christmas fund. By cutting back on day-to-day luxuries or taking on extra hours at work, you could avoid going into debt over Christmas.
If you really want to splurge at Christmas, starting a Christmas fund as early in the year as possible is the best approach. This way you can pay cash for Christmas when it arrives with no worries.
If you’re really organised and you’ve saved enough, you could advantage of the post-Christmas sales to buy wrapping paper, Christmas cards and maybe presents ready for the following year. Prices often plummet at this time, and if you buy mindfully, avoiding items that may date or run out of warranty, it can give you a real head start next Christmas.
2. Prioritise Your Christmas Spending.
Sit down with your family and focus on the elements of Christmas that make you and yours happy. Don’t waste your time and spend your hard earned cash on traditions that don’t bring you joy. Don’t let your Christmas is become primarily a retail exercise.
Chat with your extended family and friends and agree to reduce gift giving or have a price cap for gifts. Most of us are in the same boat and chances are a reduction in their shopping list will be welcomed with open arms.
Alternatively you could all to club together and buy a charity gift. Most charities have gift catalogues/ They’re easy to access online and it’s so inspiring and such a joyful thing to do at Christmas. Get the children and family involved – I promise you they’ll love it.
3. Make a Shopping List.
Once you’ve established who you need to buy for or what you need to buy, make a list and stick to it. Spending with intent can prevent costly mistakes and reduce your overall spend.
4. Search for Cheap Deals.
If you get the chance to buy throughout the year, you can pick up gifts at reduced prices and put them away. There are many ways to access cheap deals on the run up to Christmas. There’s Black Friday in November. Amazon has Todays Deals and Warehouse Deals. They also have an outlet running all year where you can pick up some excellent bargains. That’s just the tip of the iceberg – seek and you shall find.
5. Shop Where You Hold Loyalty Cards.
Reap the rewards later in the year – even if it saves you a few pounds on your shopping or it gets you some free products, then why not take advantage. All savings add up, and they all count when it comes to paying the bills.
6. Get Creative.
Make your own Christmas cards, wrapping paper and decorations. You name it, it can be made, and if you have kids get them involved. They’ll love it – it will not only engage them, but will also inspire Christmas Spirit. Make it a family tradition.
Self-made gifts can mean so much to the right person. Baking someone’s favourite cake, compiling a scrapbook or printing a photo book is a thoughtful way to give at Christmas or indeed any special time throughout the year.
7. Special Gifts Don’t Have To Cost The Earth.
If you’re not creative you could always pay someone to get creative on your behalf. You could commission a portrait, pay for a tarot or astrological reading of their birth chart. You can even purchase a professionally DJ mixed play list. There are so may cost effective but novel services and gift idea’s available on sites such as fiverr.com
8. Don’t Buy Stuff You Don’t Need.
If you have decorations in storage get them out, re- vamp and re use. It will save you so much money and they won’t look the same if you use them in a different way each year.
Try not to buy too much food. We want Christmas to feel like a time of abundance so it’s so tempting to over buy just in case but most of it won’t get eaten, and it can’t be returned. Forget the old adage ‘it’s better to have too much….. if you’re on a budget it really isn’t and remember these days the supermarkets only close on Christmas day so it’s not like you can’t access more if you need it.
9. Give the Turkey a Miss.
The price of a turkey is so inflated around the festive season. They call it a ‘Christmas Turkey’ and charge you extra for the privilege. Who says you have to eat turkey anyway – most people find it a challenge to roast without making the meat dry?
Get yourself a large Chicken. It’s more cost effective and will do the same job. Alternatively choose your favourite joint in its place – as I said above, decide what brings you joy and make it your tradition.
10. Spread The Cost.
If the extended family’s getting together for the big day, you could all club together to buy and prepare the meal. If you prefer, you could all provide a different part of the meal. Someone bring the starter, someone the pudding, another brings the crackers and someone else the drinks.
With all the trimmings, the cost of the Christmas or Boxing Day meal can really stack up. With everyone contributing it will feel like a real family affair and it will ensure the cost is shared, and nobody’s breaking the bank.
11. Get Essentials Into The Christmas Stockings.
If you have children, put items like pretty socks, underwear, slippers, and PJs in their Christmas stocking. If you know they’ve spotted a pencil case or school bag, that’s a great idea too. The kids get something they like, and it might save you a little cash later in the year, it’s a win-win.
12. Bring Your Own.
If you always have a Christmas cinema or pantomime outing, take your own Christmas treats. Taking your own treats rather than purchasing them at the venue can save you a pretty penny.
Let’s be honest, if these establishments didn’t put extortionate mark-ups on their confectionary, we wouldn’t even consider this approach, all I can say is needs-must.
13. Use a Cashback Credit Card.
If you have a cash back credit card and you can afford to pay off any balance immediately, why not earn some money for everything you spend over the Christmas period? It’s a no brainer.
14. Sell Unwanted Items.
eBay, Preloved and Amazon Marketplace are great places to sell your unwanted stuff all year round. However on the run up to Christmas everyone’s looking for a bargain so it’s a great time to raise some extra cash to help you pay for Christmas.
If you have an old mobile phone or two kicking about then why not cash them in. Its money in your pocket and recycling is also good for the planet.
15. Get a 0% Credit Card.
Transfer any existing balances to the new card to relieve the pressure over the Christmas period. It’s not the best financial plan, but if all else fails at least you’ll be able to enjoy the festivities without worrying about your credit card bills.
Have a great Christmas and thanks for reading.
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