It may only be October, but it’s never too early to get organised for Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year is also the most expensive, with the average family spending more than £820 on the festive season.
But be a little frugal with the festivities and your bank balance will thank you. Plus, you’ll have more to spend come the Boxing Day sales. Combat the Christmas cash crunch with our 7 money saving tips!
Book tickets in advance
If you’re travelling for Christmas, book your tickets as far in advance as possible. Resources like Trainline’s ticket alert system, National Express’ regularly updated newsletter and National Rail’s future travel chart can all help you save money and plan ahead. Leave it to the last minute and you’ll risk being overcharged.
Keep costs down with Secret Santa. While this old tradition is often used amongst colleagues, friends or school classes, why not try it on the day itself? If you’re having a big family get-together, draw names out of a hat so that everyone has to buy one gift (and then guess who it’s from). Not only is it fun, but if you set a maximum price in advance it can be an effective way of saving money.
Cashback credit cards
Credit cards aren’t just a handy borrowing tool. Some of them can make you hundreds of pounds a year. Essentially, with a cashback credit card, you get paid to spend. Use one for all of your Christmas spending (where possible) and you could make a good return.
For full information and a variety of options visit our Cashback Credit Cards guide.
Focus less on paying, more on playing
Contrary to popular belief, most young children aren’t retail snobs! They don’t value your gift based on price and are often just as happy when playing with the wrapping. So don’t spend big bucks unnecessarily. There are plenty of fun stocking fillers and affordable toys available at websites like Find me a Gift and Prezzy Box.
Need to borrow? Get a 0% card
If financial constraints mean you can’t budget, consider a 0% purchase card. This means that whatever you spend, you can pay after the offer is up. See our full 0% purchase card guide for full information. The longest 0% spending deals are with Yorkshire Bank’s Gold MasterCard or Clydesdale Bank’s Gold MasterCard, both offering 26 months.
Try our free eligibility checker now – with no effect on your credit rating. Just make sure you plan credit repayments before the period is up.
Pay for gifts over £100 on credit card
Imagine ordering a beautiful homemade present, only to find the firm has gone bust before you’ve even received it. Combat this by paying for gifts worth over £100 on credit card. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, if you buy something with your credit card that’s worth over £100 and there is a problem, you can go to your credit card company to get your money back.
Try a new turkey
It pays to plan your festive food in advance, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. Affordable shops such as Lidl or Aldi have upped their Christmas game massively in recent years, and taste tests prove that nobody can tell the difference between their produce and premium brands such as Waitrose and M&S. Just make sure you clear some room in your freezer and get there ahead of the crowds.
There’s no better time than Christmas to get creative. Search websites like Pinterest and Etsy for inspiration, inventive recipes and homemade card and gift ideas. We recommend sparing yourself a small fortune and even making your own dessert. Whether it’s a personalised card or your own gift tags, you’ll be surprised by how much more thoughtful it feels to give something you made yourself!