We all know how the festive season goes… normally something along the lines of spending, spending… and a bit more spending. In fact, the Money Advice Trust recently calculated that the average cost to families at Christmas is £800!
As always, we are here to help! In conversation this morning, we wrote a list, focusing on how you can knock some of the pounds off, in a period renowned for putting pounds on (hey, hands off of my chocolates!). Here are our tips to have a very Merry Savemas:
We can’t prevent the inevitable argument about WHEN to put the decs up (although definitely not before December, amIright?!), but HOW to decorate is not discussed as much. If it was, you’d probably end up saving some money! When it comes to decorations, a bit of DIY and resourcefulness (you can even use foliage from your garden) can make your home look Pinterest-ready in no time. Ready for your close up?!
We all know how to plan, but does anyone actually do it?! Work out how many people you’re feeding and what you’ll be eating on Boxing Day and beyond, then buy in bulk to get the best deals. Don’t overbuy though, get just enough. There’ll always be nibbles around for anyone that’s still peckish after Christmas dinner!
Again, some planning required here… mainly because you don’t want to run out! Seriously though, there’s no need to buy a random selection of every drink possible if you’re having people over this Christmas. If they’re coming over to your house, you most likely know what they like to drink or what you’d like to offer them. If in doubt, just ask them what they like! Then all that’s needed is to hunt around for the best deal. Also remember that nobody will complain about being given a glass of cava instead of champagne!
Speaking of hunting for the best deal, it’s more true here than anywhere else on the list. Presents always make up a big proportion of our Christmas budgets… and should be treated as such. The first thing to do is to set a spending limit… then remember not to go over this under any circumstances. If you stay true to this and manage to find some great deals, with any luck you’ll have some spare cash at the end – bonus! You could also recycle some presents: even if you don’t feel comfortable giving someone a present that you’ve received, you can use gift cards to buy presents for others… cheeky, but worth it. You could also consider homemade presents – people often love the sentiment and it usually doesn’t cost much in the way of money… time however, may be an issue.
Let’s not get bogged down in moaning about how the trains break down at the first rumour of snow (but seriously, come on!) and offer some genuinely helpful tips. Firstly (if you can) avoid travelling on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day – the prices for tickets on these days will come at a premium, so staying longer at your destination can be good for your wallet (even if you do outstay your welcome!). If you don’t have a railcard, check them out, especially if you’re a frequent rail traveller. A railcard could end up saving you a tonne of money over the course of the year and discounts apply from the moment you buy one.
N.B: If you are REALLY prepared, think about starting your savings plan for next year’s Christmas, you won’t regret it.
January Sales for gifts anyone?!… guys?
We’ve tried to squeeze as much helpfulness in as possible, but of course there are plenty more ways to watch your pennies. If you have some particularly good ones, tweet us @YourCash!