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Twelve ways to save this Christmas

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.CARF Logo

Here are twelve top tips from Citizens’ Advice and Rights Fife to help you avoid a Christmas debt hangover this year:

  1. Budget

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.

A free Christmas money planner is available on the Money Advice Service website.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Make use of loyalty cards

If you have points saved up on a store card, now is a good time to redeem them.

  1. 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.

  1. Shop around

If you have access to the internet shop around using price comparison to get the best deals.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. De-clutter

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!