Christmas is a time of mixed feelings for many of us – we love getting together with friends and family members that we don’t see very often. We also love letting our hair down and maybe even getting a bit tipsy in front of It’s a Wonderful Life. This is the good bit; the not-so-good bit is wondering how to pay for everyone’s presents, for the food, for the travel, for that extra round…
It’s really easy to lose sight of savvy spending in all the noise and the rush, so here are a few tips to help you to make the most of your money and avoid debt this Christmas.
Have a no-spend agreement with some people
You might find that lots of your friends and family will be just as relieved as you to not have to exchange gifts! You could also have a low-spend agreement with some, or make a pact to exchange homemade presents like gingerbread cookies. This should reduce your overall Christmas spend a bit and help your friends too!
Book your travel now!
If you know you’ll be travelling to visit relatives, then book your train, bus or plane at least six to eight weeks in advance to get the best fares. It’s a definable expense that you can cut quite a bit off; plus, you don’t have to fret and scrabble for reservations in mid-December.
Save some present buying until after the big day
You’ll get some brilliant reductions if you go shopping on Boxing Day or December 27 as shops hurry to clear their shelves for the new year. This is ideal for presents for friends and family that you’ll be seeing later on or in the new year, as well as for grabbing a few must-haves of your own.
Use as many discounts and vouchers as you can
Do not even think about hitting “Buy” until you’ve searched for voucher codes! This is a very good habit to get into because you’ll find vouchers for at least half of your online purchases, usually with a value of 10-15% or so. In fact, why just adopt this for Christmas? You should aim to do this all year round!
Buy wrapping paper, cards and gift tags in the January sales
You never think about how expensive the fancy paper, gift tags and glittery cards cost until you have to buy them. Wrapping paper tends to be around £2 per roll, with the more premium paper coming in at £5 a roll, so you can easily spend £20 or more on this alone. Then there’s the tags and cards on top! It might be too late for this year, but you’ll remember to pick some up in January so you’re set for next year, won’t you?
Try Amazon Prime’s free month
If you haven’t signed up to Amazon Prime before, you can get a free trial for a month. If you sign up in early December, you can select “Eligible for Prime delivery” items and get them delivered to you free of charge. This can save you quite a bit if you’re planning to do a lot of your shopping online.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.