T’is the season to….. break the bank? Doesn’t sound very fun, does it? But with money saving tips from our Money Advice Officer, Steven Higham, those big Christmas purchases needn’t leave you with the kind of financial hangover that lingers into the new year….
To save money on Santa’s list for the kids, the best advice we can give is to research, research, research! Use websites such as mysupermarket to compare online prices the gifts you’re looking for and sign up for price alerts to make sure you are getting the best price. Cashback websites, loyalty card points, online voucher codes and three-for-two offers can also help you stay on budget and rack up savings – so shop smart!
A word of warning about pre-Christmas sales or Black Friday events – do check if it really is a good discount before snapping up what appears to be a ‘bargain’.
Do you end up buying so much Christmas food that opening the fridge door becomes a terrifying test of nerves? There’s nothing better than a festive feast but we all have a tendency to over-cater: save money by planning your meals with itemised shopping lists –see where savings can be made on bulk buys when needed and practice your leftover recipes to make sure no food goes to waste. Start stocking up the freezer now to save a huge expense in December.
A real tree is lovely – but can be costly. Shop around for a great deal if you are seduced by the thought of a fresh tree that fills your home with the scent of pine needles. If you like creating a Santa’s grotto in the home, there are plenty of ways you can save pennies: buy decorations at a fraction of the cost at charity shops or consider swapping them with friends for a change of style. Putting aside some money to pick up discount decorations and Christmas cards in the post-Christmas sales for next year is our favourite money saving tip – with customers often saving at least 50% on purchases!
Most importantly, if anything on your Christmas list is out of your price range – leave it in the shop. Money Advice Service UK says nearly one in three of us feel pressured to spend more than we can afford to over the festive period – but it is not worth getting into ‘bad debt’ for the sake of Christmas, only to suffer for the rest of the following year.
If you are already feeling the pinch, find out more about our free money advice service to see how we have helped fellow residents save thousands of pounds in grants, benefits and debt repayment savings.