Christmas celebrations don’t have to break the bank and there are lots of ways to trim down your spending over the festive period.
From budgeting and spending to food and travel, find out how to cut costs with our Christmas money-saving tips.
Budgeting and spending
1. Set a budget: Create a budget with all of the costs you need to cover for Christmas including food, presents, travel and decorations to help you manage your spending and find ways to save money. Remember to think about all the events you’ll either be hosting or contributing to, as well as special Christmas day trips like ice-skating or going to a pantomime.
2. Prioritise your Christmas spending: Prioritise your spending into essential and non-essential costs, and work out what you can afford. For example, groceries may be a high priority while going on a night out might be lower down the list.
3. Cut back on non-essentials: Cutting back or finding cheaper alternatives for non-essential spending can help you save money at Christmas. For instance, finding free Christmas events or hosting a dinner party instead of going out for a meal could help you save money.
4. Track your spending: The key to an effective budget is tracking what you spend. There are lots of budgeting apps that can help you keep track of costs and avoid overspending.
5. Earn while you spend: Activating cashback rewards offered on your debit or credit card can help you save money. Cashback websites are also a great way to pocket extra cash while you spend. It’s worth remembering that cashback sites can take a while to pay out the cashback.
6. Try a prepaid card: A prepaid card could help you stick to a budget and save money. You can only spend the money you load onto a prepaid card, which helps avoid overspending. Unlike credit cards, prepaid cards don’t offer section 75 payment protection. If anything goes wrong with your purchase you might be able to get a refund using a scheme called Chargeback instead.
7. Plan your meals: Planning your Christmas meals ahead of time and making a list of all the things you need will help you avoid that last-minute trip to the shop and could save you money overall. This will also help you stick to your food budget.
8. Avoid shopping hungry: Shopping on an empty stomach can make it trickier to stick to your shopping list so always try to have a meal before hitting the supermarket.
9. Compare prices online to find the best deals: You could save money by using a supermarket price comparison website or app, which can help you compare thousands of products to find retailers with the cheapest deals.
10. Look at the bottom shelf: Supermarkets are cleverly designed to make you spend more but items placed on the bottom shelves are usually better value and could help you save money on your shop.
11. Buy in bulk: Buying food in bulk is often cheaper than making multiple trips to the supermarket. So try to stock up on larger items or multipacks to help you save money over Christmas. You could even try visiting a wholesaler if you know you need a lot of food.
12. Switch to cheaper brands: Switching to cheaper brands, also known as downshifting, could help you cut the cost of your shop instantly. Rather than going for the well-known label, most supermarkets now do their own versions of popular branded items.
13. Get a discount: Lots of websites offer SuperSavvyMe voucher codes, which could help cut the cost of your shop. Also look for discounts in supermarket magazines, promotional packets and other online discount sites to help you save money.
14. Use your loyalty points: You can save money on your shop by using any loyalty points you’ve built up to cover part, or all, of the cost.
15. Organise a potluck meal: If you’re cooking for a large group, encouraging each household to bring a single dish could help share the labour and cut your food bill too.
16. Set a gift limit: Agreeing on a gift limit per person can help you save money, especially if you have a large family or friendship group. At the very least, make a list of all the people you need to buy presents and set yourself an overall budget for gifts.
17. Start shopping early: You can take advantage of deals and bargains throughout the year if you start your Christmas shopping early. For example, grabbing a bargain around Black Friday or at various points in the run-up to Christmas and then hiding it until December. Some people even start shopping for next year’s festivities in the January sales.
18. Try outlet stores for clothes: Shopping at outlet retailers offer well known brands at a discount that could help you save money on clothes, accessories and footwear.
19. Browse charity shops: You may be able to pick up a great bargain present from your local charity shop.
20. Make homemade gifts and hampers: Making a gift or hamper could help you save money while adding a personal touch to your gifts this year.
21. Try to get a discount: Most retailers offer an online discount if you sign up for their newsletter. You can also find voucher codes and discounts by searching online, which could help you save as well.
22. Think quality over quantity: Gift-giving isn’t a numbers game, so being selective over what you buy ensures that you buy a gift that someone really wants and can help you cut costs overall.
23. Play Secret Santa: Secret Santa is when a group of people exchange presents at a set budget anonymously. There are websites and apps that let each person in the group create a wishlist of things they would like so that their Secret Santa has an idea of what to buy.
Home and decorations
24. Try DIY decorations: If you buy new decorations every year, opting to make your own could help you save and add a sentimental touch to your Christmas decor.
25. Use energy-efficient lights: LED Christmas lights use 90% less energy than standard ones and could help you save by cutting your energy bill.
26. Put your Christmas lights on a timer: Some Christmas lights come with automatic timers, which make it easier to manage when they are switched on and save energy in the process.
27. Switch off outside lights: Try to avoid leaving outdoor lights on overnight. Simply switching them off for a few hours could reduce how much energy you use and help you cut costs.
» MORE: How to save energy at home
28. Book in advance: If you need to travel, booking your transport as early as possible can help you take advantage of cheaper tickets.
29. Find an alternative route: If there are multiple stations or airports close to your destination, spend a bit of time comparing routes as the cheapest one might not always be the most obvious.
30. Get a Railcard: A Railcard – or Coachcard – could help you save up to a third on train or coach tickets, so it may be worth buying one to help you cut the cost of your journey.
31. Save on fuel: Checking your tyre pressure, driving smoothly and removing bike racks can help you save money on fuel while driving. You could also try sharing the journey home for Christmas with a friend or relative if they live close by, which could help you spend less.
32. Start saving for next Christmas: Setting up a savings account and adding to it over the course of a year can help you build a pot of Christmas cash to put towards your spending.
33. Sell your stuff: Selling unused or preloved items could help you make some extra money to put towards your Christmas shopping. Some retailers even buy back items or offer vouchers.
Image source: Getty Images
3 Big Cost of Living Scams and How to Avoid Them
Increasing financial pressure may leave households across the UK more vulnerable to cost of living scams as they look for ways to ease the strain on their finances. We investigate three scams to watch out for.