As soon as the last firework fizzled out, it seemed like the whole UK population turned their minds to Christmas.
Every year, it seems to get bigger and bigger. Everywhere you turn, adverts for Christmas are relentless and whilst the festive season is certainly a great distraction for what may be happening near and afar, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag.
At a time where many UK households are feeling the impact of the cost of living crisis, including research from Vitality that 70% of full time employees have reported that they are worried about money, we are here to give you some ideas on ways to save money in the run up to Christmas.
Setting a budget is crucial to avoid overspending during the festive season. Sit down and list all your expected expenses such as normal bills etc plus gifts, decorations, food and any travel that you will be doing. Allocate amounts to each category ensuring that the total does not exceed your overall budget.
It is so easy to get carried away when Christmas shopping but if you have this budget spreadsheet to hand, you can make informed decisions and prevent any unnecessary splurges.
Always stay on the look out for discount codes and vouchers that can significantly reduce your Christmas shopping expenses. If shopping online, search for discount codes or shop around before you hit that buy button. Many online retailers and local stores run promotional deals and special offers during this time. Black Friday is coming up too (although that comes with its own caveats!) but if there is something that you have been holding out for, maybe see if this is discounted as part of that sale.
Why not consider crafting your own decorations and gifts? It would save you a lot of money and there is lots of inspiration online. Handmade gifts such as baked goods, knitted items, personalised photo albums can be cherished and are often more meaningful than shop bought items.
‘Tis the season of gluttony and one where food expenses can quickly get out of hand! Plan your meals in advance, make a detailed list of the dishes that you intend to prepare for Christmas and New Year, especially if you are planning on hosting. Compare prices at various supermarkets and take advantage of any ongoing sales or special offers. Utilise your freezer so that you can buy in advance!
If you are finding things a bit tight this year and you are hosting family and friends, then consider encouraging them to bring a dish each which will reduce the overall cost of hosting the festive meal.
Gifting, especially if you have a big family or lots of friends, can get really expensive! Suggest organising a gift exchange or Secret Santa event. It can be really fun and challenging, especially if you set a theme or budget. Plus everyone can participate and not feel financially burdened by buying everyone something. It also buys into the movement that we need to reduce over consumerism which is ultimately bad for the planet.
Look into using cashback offers and loyalty schemes provided by various retailers and credit card companies. TopCashback is a great place to start but there are other cashback operators online.