With less than 40 days left until Christmas, now is the best time to plan your festive finances to combat the rising cost of living and ensure your January is financially stress-free.
Salman Haqqi, Personal Finance Editor from money.co.uk reveals his 10 expert tips on how to save money at Christmas:
1. Play present roulette
Christmas shopping can get very expensive if you’re buying for lots of family and friends, so why not try taking Secret Santa out of the office this year? Put names into a hat and have everyone pick out one person to buy for. Ask people to write down their top 3 preferred gifts and you’re already on your way to a quicker and cheaper Christmas shop.
2. Sign up for email lists for shop discounts
Most shops will send regular discount codes to customers by email. Sign up to emails from the shops where you will spend the most money in the weeks leading up to Christmas. You will get notifications for things such as discounts, free delivery and in-store promotions. Don’t forget to take advantage of pre-season events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday too.
3. Christmas cashback
Sign up for free to a cashback site, then click through to buy something. The site will get paid for sending traffic to the store and you’ll get some of it back, saving many who do £100s on their Christmas shopping bill. It’s a good idea to search for the cheapest deal, then check to make sure that cashback is available. You can also use a cashback credit card, earning you cashback on your purchases throughout the year, that you could spend at Christmas.
4. Dedicate a day to do your Christmas shopping
One of the reasons we overspend on Christmas shopping is that we leave it until the last minute. If you can, find a time when you can set aside a whole day to get all the gifts you need.
5. Buy second-hand
As well as helping you save money, buying second-hand gifts can also help the environment. Yet, according to research by preloved site Vinted, only 1 in 6 people plan to buy solely second-hand gifts this year. There are stacks of websites that sell second-hand items in good condition for a discounted price, such as Preloved and Gumtree, as well as places like Facebook Marketplace.
6. Plan ahead
Waiting until December to start your shopping will mean you are paying top whack for all your gifts – so why not take advantage of the seasonal sales all year round? For example, January sales, end-of-summer sales, Black Friday & Cyber Monday are all sales periods where you can take advantage of cheaper prices for your Christmas shopping.
7. Join a Christmas savings scheme
These schemes can be in the form of Christmas savings clubs like Park Christmas Savings and Variety Christmas Savings Club. In return for regular monthly payments from the start of the year, Christmas Clubs offer savers vouchers to spend on food, drink and gifts in time for Christmas that same year. Alternatively, open up a savings account and put a small amount away each month to save for the big day.
8. Track your spending
Many people get whisked away with the buzz of the festive season and forget to check in with their budget. Future you would be much happier if you track your expenses as you go, so you don’t end up overspending and ruining this month’s and next month’s budget.
9. Combine your online orders
Plenty of online shops offer free delivery if you spend a minimum amount. So if you see that perfect gift for Dad, resist buying straight away and see if there’s anything else on the site that Mum or Grandma might like. You’ll significantly reduce your shipping costs this way.
10. Check if you can get discounts with your current account
Some current accounts will offer discounts or cashback when you spend at specific shops. If your current account doesn’t offer any benefits, you might want to consider switching to a more competitive account. Many banks will also offer an initiative for you to switch, like a lump sum of cash. These can help you save money on your spending this Christmas.