Last year, it’s estimated that the UK spent £21 billion on Christmas, on everything from presents and food to pantos and parties. Divided up, that’s over £750 per household, which isn’t far off half of the UK’s average monthly take-home wage.
When the gap between December and January’s payday is notoriously long, spending half of your income on Christmas can seem like a huge expense. Luckily, there are ways to save money this Christmas without going full Grinch.
Here are our 10 ways to save money this Christmas:
#1: Set a budget for each person
Here’s a super quick way to save money this Christmas: rather than buying all the presents that everybody wants and then wincing at the cost, before you start buying presents, make sure you know how much you can afford – and then break that amount down for every person you have to buy for.
Sticking to this means that you’ll know how much you are going to spend, that you can definitely afford it and that you’re going to find a present that they’ll love within your budget. Win, win.
#2: Be prepared
Rather than heading to the shops and picking things that you spot – you know, those ‘oh, that’ll do for that person’ presents – make a list of presents you want to get (and that are in your budget) and then look for deals.
#3. Start shopping early
OK, we know that we’re publishing this article in December, so it’s probably a little late for this advice, but the sooner you can get started on your Christmas shopping, the better. This is one of those tips that’s partly psychological, and partly practical. Psychologically, the earlier you start, the less likely you are to buy presents just to get something wrapped up and under the tree. Usually, impulse purchases nearer Christmas are more expensive. Logistically, getting started early means that you can avoid the inevitable ‘sorry, we don’t have that in stock, but we have the next one up’ situation, which almost always ends up in overspending.
#4. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box
A quick way to possibly save money this Christmas is to think outside of the box when it comes to getting a gift. This tip is especially good if you’ve got people on your list that are hard to buy for.
Rather than getting the same old gift set or another bottle of their favourite tipple, why not take them by surprise by getting them a personalised Lego figure or a suitcase with a picture of their face on? Gifts from left field can be a bit of a risk, but if you know somebody with a sense of humour, then they often make for very funny (and memorable) presents.
#5. Go DIY
Do you have a particular talent or skill? Handy with wood or a paintbrush, for instance? Why not make a present for your loved one this year? For starters, nothing says ‘I’ve put a lot of thought into this’ like a DIY present. You’re giving them a one-of-a-kind gift that you’ve made just for them. Cosmopolitan have a great list of easy DIY Christmas present ideas, but – as with anything DIY – your best bet will always be Pinterest.
#6. Use voucher codes
Voucher codes are a godsend during the festive period. Even vouchers for small discounts – 5% here, 10% there – add up quickly over the course of the Christmas spend. Before you buy anything online, make sure you check MyVoucherCodes to see if you could save a pretty packet. And don’t forget to use your loyalty card vouchers too – they’ll help you save money this Christmas.
#7. Organise a Secret Santa
Why not organise a secret Santa for all your family? You can set a price limit (say £35, for example) so that everybody gets a good 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 what, and trying to work out a creative way to buy a great present within the price limit.
#8. Pinch the pennies on wrapping paper
Of course, it’s lovely to put nicely wrapped presents – with bows, ribbon and labels – under the tree, but if you’re trying to save money this Christmas, this should be the first thing you cull. And presents wrapped in brown paper are trending right now! After all, whether you’ve bought fancy £4 a roll wrapping paper or 3 rolls for a quid, it’s all going to end up ripped up and thrown in the recycling, isn’t it?
Fun fact: The average UK household spends nearly £16 on wrapping paper – and the country buys enough of it to cover 83 square kilometres, just over the Christmas period alone!
#9. Switch supermarkets
A quick way to save money this Christmas is to switch supermarkets from Asda, Tesco or Sainsbury’s to Aldi or Lidl. Not only do you get to save a tonne of money, but Aldi and Lidl have been winning award after award for the quality of their products for the last few years, which means that you might even end up with a nicer Christmas dinner for a fraction of the price.
#10. Trial Amazon Prime
One of the most irksome things about shopping online is paying for delivery – and, at Christmas, paying for delivery on a few gifts can add up to a fairly hefty sum. If you’re an Amazon Addict, then it’s worth signing up for a free month of Amazon Prime, which will get you free next day delivery on all Amazon products for 30 days.
After that, it’ll go up to £7.99 a month, but you can cancel anytime with no hassle, so make sure you set an alarm or make a note if you’re not going to need it all year round.
Also, an Amazon Prime membership gets you access to Amazon Prime Video, which is chock full of Christmas films and the latest blockbusters – perfect for cold winter evenings…and for saving those pennies on trips out.
How are you planning to save money this Christmas? – let us know in the comments or on social media!