Christmas can be an expensive time of year for anyone, but don’t despair. Here are five key money saving tips to help ease the burden on your purses this year:
1) Plan Ahead
In the next few months running up to Christmas shops will start offering various sales. Keep an eye out and make sure you have planned what you need to buy for everyone beforehand. You can get some great bargains in these sales as many stores are trying to boost their takings before Christmas. Don’t leave your gift buying until the last minute as it’s just not worth it. There are three key reasons not to leave your buying until the last moment:
- The crowds!
- The out of stock goods!
- The high prices!
Make a plan of what you want to buy for everyone months in advance and try and get it all in the various sales. Savings of as low as 20% can quickly add up if you are buying a lot of presents.
This is especially relevant when you have little children! I know the temptation of seeing something they’d love and getting it because it’s only another $5 or so but these purchases soon add up. Suddenly the $200 dollars you were going to spend on your little darling has turned into $500 by the time Christmas has come around.
To avoid over spending make a budget of what you plan to spend and make sure to keep a record of what you’ve spent. Keeping track is important as it is easy to lose track if you starting buying early. The most important thing to remember is to stick to your budget. I know it is hard but sometimes less is more as kids can be overwhelmed by the number of gifts at Christmas making each one less special and appreciated.
3) Avoid Store Cards
We’ve all been there getting the hard sell for a store working trying to get you to sign up for a store card. Often they will tell you that you will save money off your first order and before you know it you’re using it regularly and racking up the dept. Store cards are dangerous as they usually have a very high interest rate which usually cancels out any savings you were promised anyway.
As a rule I would also say avoid high interest credit cards were possible. It is always better to save up and buy the gifts rather than buying them on credit and having to pay back more in the long run. When you do need to use a credit card make sure you have a low interest rate and make sure you pay them back while it is still low to avoid excess charges.
4) Christmas Dinner
Everyone loves Christmas dinner; however how many years have you had tonnes leftovers? Christmas dinner for 4 can easily reach over £100 dollars however it doesn’t need to be that expensive.
Firstly be realistic about how much is going to be eaten, it doesn’t have to be a Christmas tradition to stuff yourself silly. An average sized meal plus desert is more than enough for most people and there is no reason to have half a turkey left come Boxing Day. Buying a more reasonable portion can save you lots of money.
Another great Christmas dinner saving tip is to have an alternative to turkey. Although turkey is the traditional meat it can be expensive especially around Christmas when demand sky rockets. Some great alternatives to turkey are: goose, game birds or slow roasted pork. You can save some serious money on the Christmas dinner using these tips.
5) Winter Bills
Winter can be an expensive time when it comes to household bills. The cold dark nights coupled with the festive lights can quickly allow our electricity and gas bills to soar. However there a few tips that you should remember.
Firstly don’t leave your decorative lights on overnight, I know you’re trying to get in the Christmas spirit but very few people will see them in the middle of the night anyway. A good way to make sure you remember to turn them off is to put them on a timer, this is a great tip if you go to bed early but want your lights on for a few more hours.
Your heating bill can cost a small fortune over the winter. However often you can save a lot of money by making the most of the heating by properly insolating your house. Make sure you have quality wooden blinds or thick curtains over your windows to reduce the heat loss. It is also advisable to make sure you are only heating the house when and where you need to. Timers are great way to regulate your heating as accidently leaving it on one day can be seriously costly.
Hope you all have a great holiday and manage to save some money this Christmas.
This was a gest post by Sam Fisher on behalf of Wooden Blinds Direct, a specialist in ethically sourced wooden blinds.