With Christmas approaching fast (just over a month to go now!) the pressure to spend more than you can really afford can leave you struggling to make ends meet well into the new year but, there are ways to save some cash without sacrificing your enjoyment of the festive season.
Here are twelve top tips from Citizens’ Advice and Rights Fife to help you avoid a Christmas debt hangover this year:
Before you start planning, consider this: many list every wished for item, gifts for all, and a banquet meal, then only afterwards consider: “How will I pay for it?” That’s a recipe to be broke.
Instead, calculate your budget and ask: “What can I afford to spend on Christmas?” Christmas is one day – don’t ruin the whole of the next year for it.
- Draw up a Christmas list
Christmas shopping on impulse can be expensive. So, using your budget planner make an old-fashioned shopping list and stick to it.
- Go D.I.Y
From making your own jewellery to homemade sweet treats, there are lots of presents that won’t cost a lot of money.
- Check for unnecessary gifts
We’re not talking about gifts for parents or to grandchildren, but the ever-widening glut of friends, extended family and colleagues.
There are free letters, emails and postcard templates you could use if you are not comfortable speaking to the person.
- Make use of loyalty cards
If you have points saved up on a store card, now is a good time to redeem them.
- Do something nice gifts
Presents don’t have to equate to lots of money. Offering to babysit for a friend could be the best present. So pledge to do something nice, not spend.
- Shop around
If you have access to the internet shop around using price comparison to get the best deals.
- Cut the cost of food
Don’t assume you will prefer higher brand foods. Taste with your tongue, not the label.
Brand shift, supermarket switch, compare prices and don’t forget to price food from local butchers, fishmonger and markets.
- Boost your Christmas budget
Small sacrifices can help boost a Christmas budget. If you buy a £2 coffee every day before work, you could save £36 between 1st December and Christmas Eve. You can buy a travel mug at most Pound shops and make your own before leaving the house – try out the Quick Cash finder.
- Exclusive discounts for young people
Aged 11 – 26? You are entitled to discounts via Young Scot. Show your MyFife card as proof at participating retailers. If you have left school and require a replacement card, download an application via the website.
- Go eco-friendly
Sending cards to loved ones and friends is a lovely Christmas tradition but it can be costly, mainly because of the amount of stamps you have to buy. This year, instead of having to buy 50 stamps, send e-cards. There are different designs to choose from and you’re saving the environment at the same time!
Sell your old CD’s, DVD’s and clothes at car boot sales or online to make some extra cash and free up some cupboard space!