How to save money this Christmas
Not only is Christmas the most enchanting moment in the year, the festive season is also a moment during which money is being significantly spent. Indeed, last year, British households spent around £800 on Christmas. Between presents, food and drinks, it is easy to consume more than expected.
The first piece of advice would be to save money at least 3 months before Christmas. If you put £200 aside a month from September, you will save £600 for your Christmas shopping. Planning your finances ahead will therefore make preparations less stressful and you will be able to keep a great fraction of your December salary.
Whilst gifts are central to Christmas celebrations, they can be quite costly. Here are some tips to limit your spending.
The key is to plan ahead. Set an overall budget. List the people you are willing to buy presents for. Favour your immediate family, then your closest friends. Your extended relatives and friends will not resent you if you do not get anything for them. Associate each name with a particular gift and the maximum amount you want to spend over this person. Take your list with you when you go shopping and write down the price you end up paying for each present. So if you spend more than planned for a family member, you can choose to reduce the initial budget of another person’s present on the list.
If you have a large family, you can choose to run a Secret Santa. Everybody picks a name and has to anonymously offer a gift to this person. With this game, you can save plenty of money whilst having fun trying to guess who had your name!
Consider making your own presents. You can get a basket and fill it in with homemade treats such as jams and cakes. You can also write a poem or a song, make a mini film, knit pieces of clothing, or even make a collage. Besides limiting your expenditure, you will enchant relatives and friends who will particularly appreciate the efforts you put into their gifts.
Know who you are buying for. Do not spend too much for children as they do not value presents according to their price. As long as they receive entertaining toys or games, children are pretty happy. As for teenagers, money can be a good alternative to traditional presents.
Convince other family members to participate. Ask each person to concoct and bring a dish. This initiative will definitely delight people who like feeling included in Christmas preparations rather than being passive guests.
Try to cook as much as possible. Buying pre-packaged food, although tempting, is way more expensive than making sweets and cakes yourselves. Cooking can be the perfect family activity if children are involved in the process.
Buy food and alcohol weeks before Christmas. Every time you go to the supermarkets for your usual groceries, add extra items that you will use for Christmas. Favour biscuits, cheeses, and alcohol. These products can be stored longer. Benefit from supermarket’s discounts on food nearly expired. Once bought, freeze your food.
Try to turn to cheaper brands for products such as hot beverages, soft drinks, sauces, and snacks. Low-cost products are just as tasty as branded items. You will barely notice the difference.
As you know Christmas is often synonymous with waste. So, try to go easy on food proportions. List how many people are coming for lunch or dinner. Next to each person, jot down any food preferences or special diet. This will help you plan your Christmas menu. Then, choose meals for the following days. This will allow you to plan dishes using potential leftovers!
If, despite all these tips, you do not manage to save money, have a look back at what you have been doing wrong. Where did you spend more than planned? Why? What can you do differently next time? Most importantly, do not give up. Saving money during this festive time is a true challenge that requires serious training and commitment.