Can you believe it? 16 September marks 100 days until Christmas Day! Christmas is great, but it can become costly – and it’s not worth getting into debt over, trust us! That’s why we want to share with you our top ten tips for saving money in the run-up to Christmas. Check it out and happy saving!
You’ve got a maximum of 100 days until Christmas, which is plenty of times to get things organised. Firstly, set yourself a budget and know your limits. Don’t rely on December’s income alone, but plan ahead and work out how much you need to put aside each month. Once you’ve figured out your budget, stick to it! It’s a good idea to share your plan with your spouse/parent/friend so they can help to hold you accountable.
Make a list of everything you NEED for Christmas – this will help you to avoid panic buying, as well as informing your budget. Start shopping early before the prices go up, and keep an eye out for sales, but be careful to stick to your list – don’t buy something just because it’s on sale!
Start saving as soon as you can. Why not try saving £1 per day? 100 days worth of pounds could buy quite a few presents!
If you know you’re going to be travelling for Christmas, you can book your train tickets up to twelve weeks in advance when they may be cheaper.
This isn’t so much a money saving tip, but a great way to give selflessly this Christmas by serving and uplifting somebody else. Why not volunteer at a Christmas event, in a soup kitchen or food bank, or visit an elderly person who may be alone over the holiday?
There are a lot of decorations you can make with just a few bits of paper, like snowflakes and lanterns. You can also make your own trinkets to hang on the tree out of salt dough, which is inedible and, unlike gingerbread ornaments, will last longer. Or why not make your own wreath with a coat hanger, a bit of ivy from the garden and some ribbon (there are ‘how to’ pages all over the internet)? Plus, these make for fun craft activities to do with the kids.
Search your local pound shops for stocking fillers, and buy your Christmas cards in bulk at charity shops – it’s the thought that counts! You could even get crafty and make or bake gifts for your loved ones, or upcycle old items to make a unique present. Get an empty chocolate box, give the plastic mold a good clean and fill it with melted chocolate for a low cost gift. If you know there’s someone who particularly wants a more expensive gift, ask family members, friends or colleagues to club together to pay for it.
Buy your meat a month or so in advance when it’s cheaper and freeze it. Chicken is a less expensive alternative to turkey and will do the trick just right. Consider doing a ‘bring and share’ Christmas dinner, rather than you buying and cooking everything. Drinks-wise, spiced apple juice makes a cheap, delicious alternative to mulled wine
Christmas party? Hold a clothes swap with your friends or colleagues and bag yourself a new outfit for free. To keep the family entertained, find out what’s going on in your local area or church, and try an amateur dramatic pantomime instead of a bigger one – the jokes will be just as bad!
10) Plan (again)
Christmas comes round every year without fail, so it’s really worth starting to plan and prepare for next December as soon as possible. Decorations, stocking fillers, cards and more can be picked up for a discounted price in the January sales. Plus, £1 per day for 365 days will add up nicely!
If you’re struggling with debt, don’t panic – give CAP a call on 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org. Last year we helped over 20,000 people with their debts.
By Adriaan Van Wyk