While the holiday season might be the most wonderful time of the year for many families, it’s also one of the most expensive. Between all the window displays and beautiful gifts that lure you in over the colder months, and the online retailers that send offers directly to your inbox, it’s easy to find yourself losing control of your spending – particularly during November and December.
The question is, how can you make sure that you take steps to minimise your spending and still have a wonderful time with your loved ones? Here, we’ll take a look at just some of the ways that you can cut down costs at Christmastime, and make your money stretch just a little bit further.
Always Keep your List in Mind
Over the festive season, retailers work particularly hard at making sure that you part with your cash whenever you browse their online store or pop into a local branch. This can make it even harder for savvy spenders to avoid impulse buying – particularly when the items you want seem like they’re so much of a bargain.
The key to success is being prepared. Try to make a complete list of everything you want to buy in the days leading up to Christmas, including everything from decorations to food, presents, and Christmas cards. This will help you to have a more consistent plan of action when you’re shopping, so you spend less time wandering around the displays.
Stop Overspending on Food
We all have trouble estimating exactly how much money we should be spending on extra snacks and foods for the Christmas period. This is particularly true when you’re having people come to visit for the holidays. However, the unfortunate truth is that Brits alone waste about £64 million worth of food over the festive period.
A great way to make sure that you save the environment, and your hard-earned money at the same time, is making sure that you buy only what you need. Write down exactly how many people are going to be eating at your house over Christmas, and plan accordingly. Remember, switching to frozen foods can be useful too, as it means you’re less likely to waste what you don’t use.
Take Advantage of Sales
Once you know exactly what you’re searching for in everything from your gifts, to your food, you can start to take advantage of the Christmas sales and coupons that appear around your favourite retailers. There are plenty of great offers available throughout times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so don’t be afraid to do a little searching.
Remember to sign up for newsletters and coupon codes from retailers who you like to buy with over the holiday season too. This is a great way to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the best offers available.
Always Book Travel Early
A lot of families choose to travel and meet up with loved ones over the festive period. If you’re one of the many Brits who might not be staying at home this Christmas, then it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re prepared for travel well ahead of time. Think about booking your tickets in advance to take advantage of great prices, and shop around to see which deals might be available.
Usually, twelve weeks before you travel is the best time to find a great deal from train operators, but you might be able to snatch a few last-minute offers too if you’re lucky and you forgot to book your tickets early. Remember, even if you’re in a rush to find the right tickets, it’s a good idea to check different operators to see what alternative prices you can get.
Don’t Fall Victim to High Delivery Costs
Shopping online is a convenient way to avoid the hassle of shopping for the festive season in person. However, it’s important to note that delivery costs can have a serious impact on your budget if you aren’t careful. Make sure that you avoid paying any premium prices for quick delivery by ordering with plenty of time to spare, or taking advantage of free delivery periods.
Keep in mind that Amazon offers its customers a free trial of Amazon Prime, which means that you can use next-day delivery on all your last-minute panic buys without paying extra. All you need to do is make sure that you remember to cancel your Prime account before the trial period runs out, so you don’t end up paying for the reoccurring subscription.