After seeing presents and gift guides hitting the shops this week (scary!) I thought I’d put together a few little tips on how to keep your pennies in check this Christmas. (Pictured: Superdrug and Boots’ gift guides)
Take a moment to think about how many pay days you have until the big day… Think about all the money that you’ll have to spend on your home, bills, travel and other costs…then realise how much you’ll have left for Christmas stuff. Presents, cards, wrapping paper, days out, parties, party outfits, party makeup, drinks out, even just travelling again and again to get more presents – it can all really add up!
So let’s get started…
Notebooks & Excel
I use both an Excel spreadsheet and a notebook to make a note of who I want to buy for, what I want to get them, what I’ve already got them and to keep an eye on how much it’s costing. You can also use them to keep a check on any other Christmas-related spending. Simple – yet effective!
Save or Buy Now
Put a little bit of money away each pay day on the run up to Christmas, if you start now you can spread it across a couple of pay packets which will really help.
Alternatively, you could start buying little bits for Christmas here and there – whether that’s presents, cards, gift wrap, snacks, drinks, it’ll help to spread the cost. However, be wary of over buying if you do this! Keep a note of what you’ve got and don’t go overboard!
Top tip: note everything you’ve already got down in a little notebook and take it shopping with you – this makes it super easy to keep on top of what you’ve already got!
…or do a little mix of the above! Whatever works best for you!
Sit down and work out how much money you want to (and can genuinely afford to!) spend on Christmas this year. If setting budgets works for you this could be a simple and effective way to make sure you’re not worrying about money once January comes. Make a budget for everything, food & drink, present budgets for each person, etc. etc. It’ll help you feel in control.
Shop the sales
This is something I’ve already started to do for Christmas presents this year. When you’re out and about keep an eye on items that have been reduced in the sales. I’ve already managed to pick up beautiful notebooks reduced from £5 to £1.25, a lovely bracelet reduced from £9 to £3 and I’ve grabbed other presents that have come down from £6 to £1.80. This helps you to put lovely gifts together for a fraction of the cost – simples!
Voucher Codes & Cashback
If you’re an online shopper make sure you look out for voucher codes and use cashback sites, they’re a really easy way of keeping more of your money in your pocket. Use a search engine and simply search for “voucher codes” and you’ll find a whole host of websites listing the latest ones alongside the most recent retailer offers too. The two main cashback websites you can use are Quidco and TopCashback – all you have to do is sign up and click through to the retailer via their website. Everything will be magically tracked for you and you’ll receive your cashback. Awesome!
If you haven’t got any, sign up for them now! I know, I know, they’re annoying as hell to carry around in your purse, but if you’re really serious about saving some cash it’s silly not to use them. Throughout the year I save up my points and use them to buy Christmas presents or anything else I need during the festive period to ensure my money goes further. The main ones I use include; Boots Advantage Card, Superdrug’s Beauty Card, Nectar, Tesco Clubcard, Costa (for that free festive drink that you just *need* to try!) – but make sure you check all the places you shop as they may have one too!
Make sure you pick up the magazines in-store at Boots & Superdrug as they feature extra loyalty card offers!
Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be bumped up to 4 times their value for restaurant vouchers – who can argue with free food?! Perfect for festive meals out!
Keep an eye out (or have a little search online!) for loyalty apps. I personally use the o2 Priority app and last year I was able to get a free Christmas card for my parents, a free pack of Christmas cards, free wrapping paper and was able to make lots of other great savings too! They’re definitely worth checking out.
Once Christmas is over… *insert sad face*
It’s no secret that every store has a massive sale of all their Christmas stock once the day is over. Presents, cards and gifts are all slashed in price. It’s the perfect time to stock up on bits ready for next year, or for birthday presents during the year.
Warning: It’s very easy to go crazy in the sales and overbuy – I’ve fallen victim to that myself! So make a note over Christmas of what you think could be worth buying and stick to it.
If these tips help just one person during the very expensive festive season I would have achieved my little mission. So I hope you’ve found them useful! There’s many more ways to save over Christmas – do you have any extra tips to share? I’d love to hear them!
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