Lifestyle

Cut the cost of Christmas

Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year! But it can also be a stressful one when you tot up the cost of presents, cards, decorations and food and drink. If you don’t want to be wiped out in January, follow our tips for savvy saving and managing your money sensibly!

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Plan ahead

Don’t work out how much Christmas will cost. Decide what you can afford and tailor spending accordingly. Planning saves money. Remember that popping into shops and buying one item here and there means missing out on ‘3 for 2’ offers.

Be a savvy shopper

MoneySavingExpert and similar sites have some great tips on clever spending. Visit www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/shopping-tips/

Shop on eBay

It’s not just somewhere to flog your secondhand stuff. Over half the items on eBay are brand new. Remember to factor in any postage charges.

Re-think Christmas cards

Send Christmas cards early by second class to save on stamps. Better still, create your own email cards – a big overseas postage costcutter if you have friends and family living abroad.

Remember that popping into shops and buying one item here and there means missing out on ‘3 for 2’ offers.

Invest in store cards

Most major stores now offer store cards and they can offer substantial savings. Trade in Tesco Clubcard points for artificial trees and trimmings as you’ll often get twice their value on selected Christmas items.

Check delivery charges

Shopping online is quick and easy, but delivery charges can eat into the savings you make. Check for free delivery deals and even if you opt for Click & Collect check that too, as some retailers add a charge.

Stock your freezer

Buffet style-nibbles from major supermarkets often come with a 3 for 2, or similar deal. Great value, and it also saves an expensive impromptu dash to the corner shop if unexpected guests arrive.

Make your own tags

Why not personalise them by adding fun pictures of the gift recipients! Make them a fun shape and maybe add some glitter. This will keep the kids busy too!

Buy small and light

When buying gifts to post, make sure they are light and small. This is especially important if you’re sending items abroad. Find out more about sending Christmas deliveries at www.royalmail.com.

Use credit cards to your advantage

Always be wary about piling Christmas expenditure on plastic! But if you know you can clear the bill in January, get a cashback credit card. Just make sure you can pay it off promptly or the interest will wipe out your cashback.

Have a Secret Santa

Save on gifts by suggesting a Secret Santa for workplace friends. With a large extended family, why not agree to buy just for the children? It may be a tricky conversation to start, but you’ll probably find everyone was thinking the same thing.

If you see something you would like to buy in a store, check first to see if you can get it cheaper online.

Keep a tally

Make a gift list and jot down what you’ve bought, who it’s for, what it cost and where you’ve hidden it! Then you’ll have a running tally of what you’ve spent to help you budget.

Go to Poundland

This can be great for stocking fillers as you’ll find all sorts of fun quirky gifts plus great value wrapping and sweets too.

Look online

If you see something you would like to buy in a store, check first to see if you can get it cheaper online. Many retailers offer a 10 or 15 per cent reduction for online buying – but keep an eye on those pesky delivery charges!

Avoid last minute buys

Buy batteries, sticky tape, headache tablets and foil in bulk. All those extras that you can easily run out of may turn out to be very expensive at the cornershop.

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