Christmas is a happy but stressful time of year and stress could be at an all-time high this year after rising energy bills and food prices. This has caused many to rethink their seasonal spending this year and become more aware of where their money is going.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep costs down without sacrificing the Christmas Spirit. Here are some tips we found so you can enjoy Christmas and start the new year without worrying too much about your finances.
1. Plan before you start spending
Making a budget will help you to limit your spending and give you an indication of what you need but knowing how much it will cost can help to reduce your financial anxiety.
There are really helpful tools like the MoneySuperMarket Christmas Saving Calculator to help work out your spending, and how much you’ll need to afford the Christmas you want. They also have a Christmas planner tool that is useful. Before you start planning make sure you take into consideration the price increases this year.
2. Keep track of spending
Making a plan is easy but sticking to it can be more of a challenge. Whether it’s by using a notebook, an app on your phone or an excel spreadsheet on your laptop, choose a way that you will stick to.
Even check your online bank to see if alerts or limits can be set on your account. Another option is to research any free apps that could be available if none of these options works for you.
3. ‘Family gifts’ or a Secret Santa
Sometimes there are too many people to buy for and not enough money to do it. If you’ve got a lot of people to buy for, like extended family and large friend groups, suggesting Secret Santa is a great way to keep the costs down but still take part in giving gifts.
Another option is to get combined gifts for families or couples instead of individual presents. Sometimes getting a board game or a hamper that can be shared is appreciated more if it’s tailored to the people receiving it.
4. Buy secondhand
Buying second-hand is becoming more and more popular due to sustainability and the process becoming straightforward. Shopping secondhand may be difficult in terms of product availability but hidden treasures are always waiting to be found.
If you want to shop for secondhand items online, eBay for Charity is partnered with lots of secondhand charity stores like the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research and Oxfam. So not only do you save money but you’re helping those in need in the process.
5. Avoid ‘buy now, pay later’
Tempting as these schemes are, try to avoid them unless you have a plan in place for repaying the loan within the interest-free period. Otherwise, after the 0% phase ends, you’ll be charged an aggressive interest rate and that new sofa, outfit or TV could end up costing you far more. And it could have a negative impact on your credit score if you default on payments.
These schemes have become more accessible through Klarna and Clearpay and don’t take a lot of time to set up at checkout. So be mindful of the future and what income is to spare when the payments are due.
6. Be smart about delivery
Delivery fees can really add up over Christmas but there are ways to get around them or minimise them. A delivery pass, where you pay an upfront fee for deliveries from your favourite supermarket, may work out cheaper. Loyalty schemes by some retailers work the same way and next-day delivery is an option.
If you’re shopping on Amazon, it’s probably worth signing up for your 30-day trial of Amazon Prime to get free shipping. Just remember to cancel before the 30 days are up!
7. Discounts and CashBack
Lastly, a very obvious way to save money is to look for discounts either through codes or sales. No matter how small the discount code is, saving here and there will save a good amount when it’s combined. ‘DealFinder’ can be found on Chrome and will alert you when the best deals are available when online shopping.
Instead of discounts, earn money back while you shop with Cashback sites such as TopCashBack. It works by receiving a percentage of your money back when purchasing from a participating retailer. One thing to note is that the percentage of cashback varies.
If you’d like any advice regarding your finances or expenses, please contact us today.