Christmas is a time of joy and laughter with the loved ones. But all those festivities can add up and empty your bank account. Is it possible to save cash on your Christmas shopping? Here are a few tricks to keep in mind before you start spending money on Christmas-related things this year.
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Create a budget
Budgets might sound boring, but they work. When you take a moment to sit down and think about your spending, you’ll end up spending smarter. You can prioritise how and what you buy, and focus on the things you want to save the most money on. If you budget a few months in advance, you’ll even have time to save before the spending begins!
Creating a Christmas budget is simple. List the different categories of things you need to buy, such as gifts and food, and allocate a budget for each. When allocating the money, think in terms of both how much you can and want to spend. Prioritising is a big part of budgeting!
When you finally start spending, remember to track it. Having a record of your spending will help you stick to a budget and be mindful of how much money you are using.
Gift time, experiences and all-around smarter gifts
Change your gifting philosophy and stop throwing gifts at people simply because you have to. Does your cousin need that odd reindeer lamp you bought at the last minute?
Most people would appreciate thoughtful gifts that provide a benefit to them or their loved ones. Instead of material gifts, consider gifting your time this year. Volunteer to look after younger children in the family or cook someone a fancy dinner. There are many ways to help!
You could also gift homemade gifts. While you might not want to start knitting a hat to everyone if you’ve never done it before, homemade gifts are an excellent idea. You can do many things, from food gifts to homemade beauty products without spending a lot of money.
Think about re-gifting, too. It has a bit of a bad reputation, but there is no reason you need to hold on to those candleholders your aunt gave you five years ago and which you've never used. You don't want to re-gift items to their original givers, but you might pass them on to someone else.
If you don't want to re-gift, then at least stop hoarding unwanted items and sell them for some extra cash. The chances are that if you haven’t used the cheese fondue set by now, you probably never will.
When you do end up spending money on gifts, think if the person can use and benefit from the present. If you can't be sure what they'd need, don't be afraid to ask!
Check online for offers and the cheapest options
Compare prices for Christmas items and gifts online before you buy. You might find a different retailer selling the same product but cheaper. Sometimes shopping online can be a lot less expensive, but it's not always the case. Whether you buy online or in-store, you can find prices online and make an informed shopping decision.
You can also find vouchers online to use in-store. These are particularly handy for Christmas food items, but you could also find savings for decorations, Christmas cards and gifts. A quick Google search with your chosen retailer, and the words 'discount codes' can reveal offers that'll help you save.
Use a cashback credit card
Consider opting for a credit card that offers cashback or other rewards for spending. When you use the card to pay and make your monthly payments in full, you can end up earning £100s worth of bonuses.
You can find plenty of credit cards with good cashback systems. Be sure to read the terms and conditions first. Many have a minimum annual spend before you can earn any cashback. You also want to make sure you always pay the full balance each month to avoid interest.
Take advantage of Black Friday deals
Black Friday is an American tradition the UK adopted to shoppers' delight, and distraught! The event sees shops slashing their prices. While some deals are not as good as they sound, you could find exciting deals to help with your Christmas shopping.
The key to a good Black Friday deal is research. Be aware of the usual selling price so that you know how big of a discount you are getting. You should also focus on items you want rather than simply falling for items on offer.
Black Friday will be on 27 November in 2020. It’s followed by Cyber Monday, which is a discount event for online stores.
Sign up with Amazon Prime for free deliveries
If you haven’t used Amazon Prime yet, you could enjoy a free month right now. The subscription normally costs £79 a year, but they offer a 30-day free trial. The trial will give you all the Prime benefits, which include free shipping on most items. This could save you quite a bit in terms of delivery fees! Just remember to cancel your subscription before the trial runs out.
Go Christmas shopping in January
It’s a bit too late for this year but save cash on your Christmas shopping next year by shopping in January. Most places put things like Christmas decorations on massive discounts after the holiday is over. But decorations don’t go bad in a year, and there is no reason you can’t sort out your festive decorations a year in advance!
Set a little bit aside throughout the year
You should also start preparing for Christmas shopping early enough. After all, Christmas happens at the same time each year! There are no excuses for not being ready for the spike in spending!
You don’t have to save a lot to get a nice spending cushion for Christmas. If you could put aside £20 each month, then you’d have £240 to spend. It might not sort out all your Christmas shopping, but it'll undoubtedly help you at least a little!