It’s only around 60 days till Christmas but you’ve still got time to make some small saves and keep Christmas within your budget this year. The average consumer spends around £800 at Christmas on gifts, food and drink, travel and decorations. We look at how you could get that cost down, and put a little extra away to help with the spend.
Set a budget: Set a Christmas budget and stick to it. If you’re strict with the budget this will help you stay away from spontaneous purchases which could end up costing more than you planned for.
Spread the costs: Like to be organised? If so then start buying 2 or 3 presents a week now (depending on how many you need to buy) to spread out the costs.
Create a Christmas fund: If you don’t want to start buying early then set up a weekly payment and pay it into a separate account. If you put away £25 a week for the next 8 weeks you’ll have an extra £200 for Christmas – the more you can save per week the better.
Budget October and November: You know December is going to be expensive so knuckle down for October and November, opt for a few nights in rather than going out, cook a Chinese instead of ordering a takeaway. If you can save £100 or £200 for a couple of months it will help with Christmas costs.
Secret Santa: Do you need to buy for all your friends and family? Could you take part in a Secret Santa instead and save yourself the cost of a handful of extra presents? Ask now - others in your group may be thinking the same thing.
Shop around: Shopping around will help you stick to your budget. As well as comparing online prices, look at eBay, Gumtree and Facebook for people selling new or like-new gifts which would be perfect for your friends and family. Wowcher and Groupon also offer huge discounts.
Set up sales alerts: If you’re looking for something very specific but it’s just too expensive, set up shopping alerts which will tell you when the price drops – on camelcamelcamel you can set up alerts to notify you when your selected Amazon items drop into your price range.
Black Friday: Taking place on the fourth weekend in November is Black Friday, followed by Cyber Monday. Black Friday deals are promoted across all major retailers from Amazon and Argos to Currys, John Lewis, and Debenhams. You might be able to snap up a bargain on this weekend, especially for more expensive items, but do your research – work out exactly what you are looking for before you get swept away in the sales.
Vouchercodes: Before your buy, check the many websites online which list voucher codes and discounts for hundreds of retailers – as well as general voucher codes you could get a big discount on orders by signing up to newsletters or downloading shopping apps.
Rewards for loyalty: Do you have a Tesco Clubcard or Sainsbury’s Nectar card? If so then not only could you save money in Tesco’s on your food or gift purchases by using your accumulated points, but you could also boost your points, e.g. £5 of Tesco Vouchers is worth £15 in Goldsmiths, the jewellers.
Boost your income: Have a clear out and get some of your unwanted items on sale on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook. Everyone is looking for Christmas presents now, so if you have anything in your cupboards that would make a great Christmas gift for someone else, boost your income by selling them now and getting the funds for Christmas.
Save on food and alcohol: The cost of food and alcohol can add up quickly so economise on your trimmings and shop around for cheaper food. How much do you actually eat every year – do you end up with a fridge full of cheese and pickle and two full bottles of sherry? Check the cost of your food at mysupermarket.com to track the cheapest place to purchase your Christmas dinner from.