Like it or not, Christmas is coming. And that means things are about to get expensive. Along with all the gifts you have to buy, there’s all the food, drink, and decorations. Christmas can quickly become the most expensive time of the year. There’s a reason that the third Monday in January is known as blue Monday you know. Everyone is poor and a little bit porkier than they were a month ago.
Fear not. This article is full of tips and advice to help you to save money leading up to the Christmas splurge, and spend it wisely so that you get more bang for your buck. And yes, I do know it’s a bit early… But I’m a firm believer in being prepared.
Saving Money for Christmas
Let’s start with saving money. You’ll find loads of advice and how-to guides on the internet, but there is no quick fix. Saving money is just about spending less than you earn. So, to save more money you can either spend less or earn more. Given that it’s October, and you need to save this money for Christmas, let’s assume the opportunity to earn more is limited. Note: I didn’t say impossible.
Save Money on Food
By creating a weekly meal plan, and sticking to a shopping list, you can dramatically reduce your food bill. Even better if you can do your food shop online because you’ll be less tempted by the pretty packaging and special offers. Stick to low cost products (it’s not forever) and easy to prepare meals. This will stop you from giving up and ordering a takeaway.
You should see a reduction of at least £20 a week by sticking to a shopping list; using low cost groceries; shopping online; avoiding snacks, and sticking to a meal plan. That’s a £240 saving if you can keep it up until Christmas day.
Save Money on Travel
Everyone knows that travelling is one of the biggest drains on your finances, but is unavoidable most of the time. We all have to commute to and from work, one way or the other. With trains, buses, and petrol prices rising, it is becoming close to impossible to travel on a budget. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your travel expenses.
If you use public transport, book your tickets as far in advance as possible. This can save you a huge amount of money. There are also weekly and monthly ticket options, which can reduce the cost of your daily commute. The final step you can take to reduce this cost is to speak to your employers. Sure, they could say that it’s your responsibility to get to and from work. But chances are, they’ll try and help you out in some way. It is Christmas after all.
If you drive, why not try and care share with your colleagues? It’s the time of year where everyone is trying to save a penny or two, and most of your colleagues will be glad to hear of such an opportunity. You can travel in someone else’s car, or give colleagues a lift. Just make sure you are giving/collecting some form of petrol money. Nothing major, just £5 a week or so. No one wants to be shortchanged at Christmas.
Earn Money Online
Millennials are making hundreds of pounds a month online completing surveys, watching videos, and selling clothes. And it really is as easy as it sounds. If you’ve got some spare time in the evening, why not use it to earn your Christmas spending money.
Survey sites like swagbucks.com are commonly used, but there are hundreds of platforms like this. Most of them are collecting data for advertising and marketing purposes. They want to find out which packaging/branding/advert you were most drawn to. Although they can be quite tedious sometimes, the money hitting your bank account is not.
Selling on eBay is as popular as ever. If you’ve got an overflowing wardrobe, why not get rid of a few items and make a bit of cash for Christmas? It’s easier than ever with the app. You can literally just take a picture, upload it, and watch the bids roll in.
Spending Money on Christmas
So you’ve got the money saved, how should you spend it to get a maximum reward? Sure, the temptation to go and buy your super cute niece the latest £200 barbie dream house will be there, but you must resist. Shop smart, and you could be in for your best Christmas yet.
It’s so easy to overspend on Christmas gifts. The shops know how to play on our emotional heartstrings. The music, weather, and smell of the air encourage us to spend. But be very frank with yourself right now. When was the last time you were excited about unwrapping a gift set? You know the ones. It usually has a shower gel, body lotion, and maybe some kind of body spray. Some poor relative of yours has paid twice the market value for that, just because it was advertised as a Christmas gift and put in a nice box.
To really cut back on Christmas gifts, avoid the Christmas section full stop. Write a list of people that you are going to buy lists for, and next to their name write the gift you are going to buy them. This will stop you from ‘panic buying’, and spending more than you intended.
To really cut back, get your friends and family involved in a secret Santa. In doing so, you’ll only have to buy one gift, saving you a fortune. But it also means that that gift can be better tailored to its receiver. More time, effort, and money can go into that one gift, meaning that the recipient is more likely to enjoy it.
Last but not least, move Christmas. Who said you have to celebrate on the 25th anyway? Get your friends and family agree to a new date that you’ll exchange gifts. This means you’ll be able to hit up the boxing day sales and get better gifts for a bargain.
Whether it’s your turn to cook, or someone else’s, there are loads of ways you can save money on Christmas food. Turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and sprouts are just some of the ingredients involved in the traditional Christmas dinner. And that doesn’t include all the extra chocolate, cheese, snacks, and nibbles you’re expected to provide. With supermarkets already promoting their Christmas deals, you can never be too early off the mark.
First things first, pre-order as early as possible. If you’ve already got most of the food in your cupboards ready to go, you’ll be less likely to do a mad supermarket dash when December arrives. As I said, some supermarkets are already taking pre-orders. So have a little browse, and see if anything tickles your fancy.
Secondly, pool your shopping. Split the load between all the dinners to reduce your own expense. To simplify the whole process, put someone in charge of meat, someone else in charge of veg, someone else in charge of chocolate, and so on. Just don’t forget to include a booze category. That’s a very important one.
Finally, stop following tradition! Who said that you have to have smoked salmon and bucks fizz on Christmas morning? Followed by copious amounts of chocolate, a huge roast turkey (with all the trimmings), cheese and biscuits, then a late night supper. If you love curry, have curry. If you love lasagna, have lasagna. Start your own traditions, you’ll be shocked at how much fun you can have and how much money you can save.
Saving & Spending at Christmas: Summary
There you have it. You can calm down a bit now. Follow these guidelines, and January won’t be so blue for you after all. I’d love to hear how you plan on getting your bank account through the festive season! Drop a comment down below or get in touch with your top tips on saving money.
If you’re keen to learn more about saving, earning, or sensibly spending money then head over to my blog. I must admit, I’m becoming quite the expert in my efforts to buy a house. Be sure to share this post to get all your family and friends involved in the Christmas savings challenge! You won’t regret it.