The average UK family spends £800 on Christmas every year, and many of them use credit cards and loans to buy everything they need – or think they need – to make the big day special. However, experts have noticed that this habit – of putting Christmas on credit – can lead to money problems in the New Year. That’s why we’ve put together these Christmas money saving tips, to help you cut the costs of the Christmas period a little – and reduce the stress of paying back credit card bills in the New Year.
Bamboo’s Christmas money saving tips:
1. Be honest about what you can afford (and stick to it)
Let’s start with one of the easy Christmas money saving tips, shall we? Rather than buying presents that everybody wants and then panicking about the cost, before you start buying presents, make sure you know how much you can afford. Maybe even budget per person you have to buy for – sticking to this means that you’ll know how much you are going to spend and whether you can afford it.
2. Start saving (and buying) early
Rather than trying to find £800 as it reaches Christmas, why not tuck a little bit away every month or week (perhaps £100 a month from April, or around £250 a week from now on) to build a little Christmas kitty. Not only will Christmas feel a lot less stressful, but you should be able to avoid putting any of the Christmas shopping on a credit card. And, if you spot a bargain during the year that would make the perfect gift, grab it and tuck it away for when Christmas arrives.
3. Don’t be fooled into buying ‘luxury’ brands
At Christmas, it can be very tempting to grab all of the luxury items – it’s a special day and, understandably, you only want the very best food. That means the extra special mince pies, the top-of-the-range turkey and a fancy champagne. However, not only are these products eye-wateringly expensive, but they regularly lose out in blind taste tests to the normal, everyday supermarket mince pies, turkey and champagne. So not only is avoiding luxury branded items better for your wallet, it’s better for your belly too! While we’re on the topic of food…
4. Don’t be afraid of frozen meat and veg
Just because it’s Christmas, don’t feel like you must get a fresh turkey, fresh vegetables or fresh desserts – in many cases, the frozen alternatives taste just as good, don’t involve an evening of peeling sprouts (easily the worst part of Christmas) and – importantly – can be considerably cheaper. We guarantee your guests won’t know the difference, either.
5. Grab yourself cheap stocking fillers
OK, this is one of those slightly outside-the-box Christmas money saving tips, but you can save a pretty penny by buying your stocking fillers direct from China. This is how Poundland and the 99p Store buy their stock, and they still mark up the products to make a product – cut out the middle man and order direct from the supplier to secure incredibly cheap stocking fillers.
6. Make the most of sales events
Large retail chains like Boots hold a lot of events in the run up to Christmas. Boots has a different gift and several fragrances on offer every week (often at a very discounted rate) as well as triple points events that let you very quickly rack up £5 or £10 of points to spend in store.
On top of that, Black Friday is a huge opportunity to snap up otherwise expensive presents at a massively slashed price. If you’re going to use Black Friday to stock up for Christmas this November 25th, make sure you’re ahead of the curve by reading our guide.
7. Make deals sites your new best friend
At Bamboo, we’re huge fans of deals websites, and none more so than HotUKDeals.com. Although you might need to keep an eye on the site regularly, there’s deals on almost everything, so you’re sure to save yourself a packet on a gift or two.
8. Organise a secret Santa
Is money a little tight this Christmas? Why not organise a secret Santa for all your family? You can still set a high price limit (say £30, for example) so that everybody gets a decent present, but it means that everybody only has to buy one present, and can keep those other pennies tucked away for the rest of the year. Plus, it’s a lot of fun guessing who bought who what, and trying to work out a creative way to buy a great present within the price limit.
If those Christmas money saving tips aren’t enough for you or you’re looking for more ways to pinch the pennies this Yuletide, we’ve got lots of other Christmas money saving tips over on our blog – from wallet-friendly decoration tips to hosting a Christmas party on a budget.