Saving money this Christmas
Christmas is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about how you can manage the costs and not have to struggle to pay it off throughout 2016. Many families find themselves in debt over the festive period, whether this is through overindulging in presents, overestimating the amount of food and drink or simply signing up to one too many holiday parties. Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice fun for frugal over Christmas, this is why we’ve put together our 10 tips for saving money and still having a great festive break.
My top tips to saving money this Christmas
1. Meal Plan
One of the main expenses over Christmas is the inevitable ‘big’ grocery shop. It’s easy to overspend when you’re trying to factor in surprise guests, impromptu parties and the increased amounts of special offers available in the supermarkets. One of the easiest ways to ensure that you do not blow your budget on food is to sit and plan exactly what you will need to serve over the holiday. Using an online meal planner is a great way to do this, it will help you work out how much food you need to serve a set amount of guests and will also offer recipe suggestions to help you reuse those leftovers.
2. Voucher Codes
A great way to save money is to switch on the computer and start searching for voucher codes. Almost all major high street retailers will offer discount codes in return for signing up to a newsletter or liking them on social media channels, and it definitely pays to join the hunt. Savvy shoppers know that incentives such as incentives such as Amazon voucher codes are quickly snapped up by those wanting a bargain are quickly snapped up by those wanting a bargain, therefore, you need to act fast. Keep an eye on forums such as Money Saving Expert and start following your favourite retailers on Twitter and Facebook.
3. Shop Online
Online shopping is a must for bargain hunters. Sites such as eBay are goldmines for cheap deals and unique present ideas so it does pay to start browsing. There are two ways to use eBay to your advantage over the Christmas period. The first is to get your Christmas lists quickly. Start searching for your present must-haves as soon as possible. Most of the items on eBay are of a very high quality, so you can rest assured that you will be buying with confidence. Check feedback from sellers and check their delivery policies to ensure you get your items in time. Another great way to save money is to raise money by selling any unwanted gifts that you have lying around the home. You may find that the toys you have stuffed at the back of the wardrobe are worth a fortune.
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4. Black Friday
Another fantastic online shopping tip; get ready for Black Friday! The biggest retail day of the year is the time to grab a bargain. Expect all of the major retailers to take part in the event, plus by shopping online you can avoid the inevitable scrums at the shop doors!
5. Switch Supermarkets
All of the major supermarkets will be competing for your attention over the festive period, therefore it’s worthwhile looking ahead to see which ones are best for you. Discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl are becoming increasingly popular and you can often fill your trolley for a fraction of the cost of the bigger retailers. Look out for weekly special buys that you can stock up on in advance!
6. Secret Santa
It can often be overwhelming trying to buy presents for every man and his dog within your friendship group. As an alternative, why not suggest organising a Secret Santa where you simply buy a gift for one person as opposed to the whole group? This is ideal for groups of adults who also have to think about purchasing items for the little ones.
7. Crafty Fun
Save money by adding a crafty touch to your gifts this year. Homemade items are often seen as more thoughtful than simply panic buying a toiletries gift set at the local pharmacy. So, why not but your crafting skills to good use? Homemade jams, cookies or even candles can be decorated with a personal touch, plus you don’t have to spend a lot of money making them. Simply visit a local craft store for some festive organza fabric and ribbon to give them a finishing touch.
And more steps to saving money this Christmas
8. Social Media
Sites such as Facebook are a treasure trove of money-saving inspiration. A quick search for Christmas bargain groups will lead you to plenty of community discussions about the best places to shop. You will also find top tips from other money savers who are passing on their wisdom. You can also use social media to track down the best sales. And you can even organise to buy and sell items with other local residents.
9. Plan Ahead for 2016
Over the Christmas period, make sure you take note of the money saving tips that you are employing to ensure you can follow the same process next year. By planning ahead you can get in front of the competition and make sure that your Christmas is even more money saving that this year.
10. Don’t panic, it’s only Christmas!
Don’t let your holiday be ruined by financial worries. No event is worth getting into debt over and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the time without running up your credit card limit. Remember to enjoy the day with your family and create memories, not extra bills!
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