50+ Ways To Save Money This Christmas

Friday, December 04, 2020

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During the holidays, it’s easy to get carried away with spending on gifts, snacks and other luxury Christmas treats. Although the holidays are times for giving and spreading joy, Christmas can be one of the most financially straining times for many families. It isn't impossible to have a wonderful Christmas on a budget. I've managed to sort Christmas out, despite being furloughed for most the year. Here’s how you can budget for Christmas and still have an amazing holiday.

When Should You Start Saving For Christmas?

My birthday is in August. Once it has passed, I like to start Christmas planning, and I put money aside for the big day. It gives me four months to save and plan out what to get people. Christmas is special to me, so I like to give myself time to make it as special as possible. It also gives me enough time to save money. When it comes to purchasing everything, I have the funds ready! Some people may need longer to save for more expensive items. Others may want to wait until a week before to do their Christmas shopping.

There is no set time to start saving for Christmas. I have seen people start purchasing items in the January sales to spread out the cost. You need to look at your finances and create a budget. See where you can move money around and what you can save each month. I like to give myself a rough budget of what I am to spend on each person. That is how much I will need to save, so I divide it by the four paydays I have before Christmas. That tells you how much to save each month. You could save weekly, fortnightly or monthly. When you start saving is down to you and your budget!

Deciding What’s Important

When you’re doing the big Christmas shop, make sure you only buy the things you need. At Christmas, there are lots of tasty treats on sale, but try to limit your treat spend to £10, or something similar. When you're budgeting, you need to stick to it. It can be hard to avoid overspending as there are so many temptations on offer. We usually grab a delivery slot as it stops us from picking up cake in the promotion aisles! Tonnes of food gets wasted at Christmas as it is, so reducing your food spend can avoid more waste than needed. Make a list of everything you will need for the big Christmas dinner, dessert and any meals for the rest of the week. Don’t go over the top with how much you buy. Make sure there’s enough for everyone and a bit extra for leftovers.

Use What’s In Your Cupboards

It’s crazy the amount of food we have in our cupboards and freezers. At the start of lockdown, we made a list of all the things we had so we can use it up. Using things you already have can save you a lot of money. Whether you’re using frozen summer sausages for homemade pigs in blankets, it’s good to use what you already have instead of buying new things. After Christmas, make sure you use up leftovers too. There are so many tasty meals to make with leftover vegetables and meat, so have a look around! It means you won’t need to do an after Christmas food shop for a while.

Use Cashback & Loyalty Points

Cashback apps are a great way to get money back on the things you need to purchase. Topcashback, Shopmium and Quidco are all great cashback apps which will give you money back for all sorts of purchases. Whether you’re doing the food shop, booking a hotel or buying gifts, most retailers are on these cashback sites. Using your loyalty point is also a handy way to save money.

I rarely use my boots card, but have managed to rack up enough points to get a few gift sets for free. It’s worth seeing what points you have on your loyalty cards as there is potential for huge savings. If you don’t have a loyalty card for your favourite stores, make sure you get one. It will save you a lot of money in the long run, and many offer exclusive discounts and rewards for card owners. Plus, loyalty cards are free to pick up!

Narrow Down Your Gifting List

Before you start buying gifts for everyone you know, consider who deserves a gift this year. Don’t buy gifts for everyone, especially if you’re only gifting to get one in return. If you want to handle your budget well, narrow down your gifting list. Decide which family and close friends should receive a gift and cut out anyone else. No, the mailman doesn’t need a gift. A card is a nice gesture if you still want to wish people well. You could even buy a £1 bag of chocolate coins or Santas to stick inside the envelope. You shouldn’t feel bad for cutting people off your list. Gifting is one of the most expensive aspects of Christmas.

Create Your Own Gifts

It can be cheaper to make your own gifts, especially as people appreciate handmade items over store-bought. Whether you’re making truffles for your colleagues or creating pamper hampers for your friends in need, homemade gifts are a great way to save money on presents. For example, you may want to buy a spa package or gift hamper. It’s probably cheaper to make a spa hamper with drugstore goodies, rather than making a premade one. If you don't want to create a gift hamper, you could make your own spa products or gifts. If you're good with a sewing machine, create some personalised pillows. If you're a woodworking genius, why not create a jewellery box or fix up an outdoor bar!

Repurpose Old Gifts or Buy Second-hand

Every year, I keep all the gifts I don’t want and sell them on. I will wait a few months before doing this, as it's disrespectful to the person who bought it for you. Sometimes, I will regift them, or I will break up the sets to make multiple gift hampers. It’s a great way of saving money on present and avoiding throwing out things you don’t like. Gift baskets are a great gift idea for your loved ones, especially when you can personalise them. 

If you haven’t received anything to regift for your recipient, you could always buy second-hand versions. eBay has lots of Christmas gift sets for half the price. A lot of people, especially after Christmas, will bundle up all of their unwanted gifts and sell them. Buying bulk sets on eBay is a great way to get a range of affordable gifts, and you can store them for next year. I've seen bundles worth £100's being sold for £20, and you get an amazing array of gifts.

Other Christmas Money Saving Tips

There are so many ways you can save money this Christmas. To help you thrive this Christmas, I've decided to list even more money-saving tips! The other tips are based around food and gifting, but these tips include a range of different things!

  • Try to do Secret Santa with your friends or family, instead of gifting everyone
  • Shop around - Don't buy your gifts at the first shop!
  • Create your own Christmas decorations with the kids 
  • Start your Christmas shopping early to spread the cost
  • Pick things up when they're on sale, including chocolates and gifts
  • Don't but wants/trendy toys - Get things your kids will genuinely like and use
  • Cut up old Christmas cards to make new gift tags
  • Book your train tickets early to save money on travel
  • Wrap up warm rather than turn on the heating
  • See what free or cheap local activities there are - E.g Visiting Santa, reindeer feeding etc. 
  • Eat-in rather than having your Christmas meal out
  • Use your leftovers on boxing day
  • Bake some delicious treats to gift to your friends
  • Instead of visiting Santa, have an online visit with PNP Santa
  • Ask friends and family to bring a dish to dinner
  • Go for a walk to look at the Christmas lights instead of spending money on your own
  • Use coupons and vouchers where possible
  • Get ahead for next Christmas with the boxing day sales
  • Don't spend what you don't have - Avoid the credit cards
  • Shop in charity shops or outlets to find massive savings
  • Use side hustles to fund Christmas where possible, even if you're doing surveys
  • Swap to own-brand foods, but still treat yourself to a few branded items 
  • Swap turkey for chicken if your gathering is small
  • Make certain people aware you aren't gifting them this year
  • Gift your kids gifts that they genuinely and won't get bored of after a month
  • Cut down on Santa's stocking
  • Purchase an artificial tree as it will last for years to come
  • Don't spend lots on fancy decorations
  • If you're not traditional, have your roast dinner later on/another day - Everyone is using the ovens at the same time which means slower cooking times and higher bills!
  • Spend Christmas at home, rather than a luxury trip abroad
  • Avoid putting up too many lights as this can add to your electricity bill
  • Make your own food where possible - Why not try things from scratch!
  • As your friends and family to bring a dish to dinner
  • Watch a movie in rather than going to a panto
  • Forget the little ribbons and bows, or reusing gift decorations you've already got
  • Don't buy more wrapping paper, use what you didn't from last year
  • Wrap gifts in newspaper or even colouring pages for a personal touch
  • Reuse old wrapping paper from last year, or use what's around your house
  • Shop in the Black Friday sales!
  • Try to haggle down your bills, or swap to a cheaper provider
  • Gift your time rather than presents - Volunteer, give experiences instead of presents etc. 

Christmas doesn't have to bankrupt you, and there are so many ways to make your Christmas magical without having to break the bank. Personally, I've managed to hustle enough during September and November to afford ALL of my Christmas gifts with money left over. I still budget, but now I don't have to dip into savings. If you want to learn more about making money in time for Christmas, I have a whole blog post about making money online! What money-saving tips could you add to the list? I'd love to hear what you're doing to save and make money this year!

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  1. Very helpful post! I've recently moved out so I'm trying to keep my Christmas spending to an absolute minimum! I follow some of this advice already. E.g. I keep my circle of gift giving to just a few people. I tend to buy little bits and pieces rather than big presents. Chocolates, shortbread, clothing. That kind of thing. Some of these other tips are helpful too! I'd love to start making more gifts from scratch :)


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