9th December 2019Category: General
The Christmas adverts are on the television, selection boxes are on the shelves and Christmas is upon us once again. For some, the presents are wrapped and hidden already but for others the thought of spending for one-day is sending shivers down their back.
Here are some tips to make sure that Christmas doesn’t break the bank.
Make a budget and stick to it
A simple yet effective tip which will be no surprise. Write down how much you want to spend on food, presents and travel then be strict with yourself and stick with your planned budget. Do not impulse shop or panic buy.
Sell before you buy
Sell unwanted CDs, DVDs, clothes and other items in your home. You might have an old smart phone in a drawer or a prom dress that another will appreciate. Sites such as eBay, preloved and musicmagpie can help you make extra cash. Another option is Facebook which has loads of local selling pages and groups.
Declutter your outgoings
Sit down and look through your bank and credit card statements. Are all your direct debits essential? Cancel unwanted magazine subscriptions, gym membership, Amazon Prime or cut your spend on your coffee treats. We often forget about automatic spending so look through and say goodbye to the non-essentials.
Switch your current account and get free cash
Many banks offer short-lived offers to switch for free cash or higher than average linked savings accounts. At this time of year these incentives to to change can be very tempting indeed. The moneysavingexpert.com website has up-to-date information.
Do you do your shopping online? If you do, have you ever used cashback websites like Quidco or TopCashback? Log onto one of these websites, check if the retailer you want is listed, click the link and you will receive cashback a couple of months later. It tends to be a specific percentage of your spending which is tracked. Extra cash for just a couple of extra clicks.
Vouchers, codes, coupons, online and in-store there are always people hunting to get extra discount. Google terms such as ‘discount codes for (the retailer name)' or ‘printable coupons UK’ to use in supermarkets. Companies such as Johnston and Johnston site have coupons for their products on their website. There are also websites such as vouchercodes.co.uk that are dedicated to the art of discount online.
Have you got a Nectar, Tesco clubcard, Boots advantage card or signed up for any of the high street loyalty schemes? Use your points skilfully. With Tesco clubcard you can buy magazine subscriptions or pay for days out by exchanging your points for experiences online. Boots regularly send coupons to be used in store and special store events for extra points. You can spend the points to get gifts or spend when an event is on and you could have points to use in January for necessities.
P.S. sign up for loyalty cards anyway because you can often get birthday treats (for example, £5 free spend at Paperchase and Bodyshop).
The shift down
Christmas is one day, and it should never put you in debt or make you take out a payday loan. Change the way you shop, by changing where you buy your food from, Sainsbury’s to Aldi for example (try it for one week as a test) or shift down from brand names to own brand labels. You don’t have to change everything but small swaps can make a difference. If you watched BBC’s Eat Well For Less TV show, you will know exactly what we mean.
A final note...
If you have people coming over for Christmas ask them to bring or buy items to share the load. It creates less stress during the festive period and on the day itself. Remember it isn’t about the financial value of a gift but the thought. A personalised homemade gift will make someone smile just as much as a £20 gift from a shop.
If you are experiencing financial issues, you do not have to suffer alone, there is support available. Useful information and support can be found at Citizens Advice as well as government backed website The Money Advice Service.