Christmas Day is less than 4 months away, so we’ve compiled some tips, tricks and advice on how to cut down the cost of Crimbo.
This might seem a tad early on our part, yet we know first hand that trying to pay for the whole of Christmas out of December’s incomings is a big ask. The average spend per adult was estimated at £530 last Christmas, so the earlier you start saving, the easier it becomes, hence this article now!
If you’re wondering how long exactly it is till Christmas then the Money Advice Service has a countdown clock on their Christmas Money Planner. They also have plenty of budgeting tools to help you plan your savings.
So follow these tips, be thrifty and money smart, and you’ll avoid entering January in eyeballs of debt!
Save now, spend later
It may be a little late to enter most of the Christmas Saving Clubs but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is because they often restrict what you can buy. They also don’t earn you interest on your saving. Finally they’re not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – so if they go bust, so do you. But there’s still plenty of time to set up a regular saving scheme.
You don’t even have to involve the banks if you’re only saving small amounts. Saying that, once you get a decent sum it’s worth trying to earn some interest in a savings account or ISA.
If you have difficulties starting a bank account, try seeing if there’s a credit union nearby. These community run organisations keep money in their local areas. They also offer much cheaper loans than the payday lenders and are designed to help local people financially. They are more likely to help set you up with an account than a bank. You can find your nearest credit union on Credit Unions Wales’ site.
Regards of how you go about saving, it’s better to save a fixed amount. Whether that’s daily, weekly or monthly, it’s better to have a regular system than sticking whatever is left at the end of the month aside (if there is an ever). The Money Advice Service has some handy calculators to figure out how much and how often you need to save if you want to reach your goals.
Supermarket Savings Clubs
If your local superstore has not started one yet, then they will do soon! Supermarkets often roll out a stamp buying or a more modern card scheme around this time. This is where you’re encouraged to save for Christmas a little every week, by either buying stamps or topping up your card.
This little and often approach can mean you quickly rack up some savings. Many schemes offer bonuses and incentives that could save you more money than a savings account. On the other hand you will be restricted to that supermarket and whatever offers they have running. Other supermarkets might have what you want a bit cheaper, but you will be tied to your local store.
Have a clear-out and sell some of your unwanted items. You might even find presents from previous years that could make good gifts for others. Just make sure they didn’t give them to you in the first place!
If your kids have things they no longer want, this could be a good time to talk about money and the cost of things. As the video below shows, most young people haven’t got a good grasp of what Christmas costs and the earlier you can start educating them about money the better.
Local Facebook selling pages are quickly overtaking eBay as the first port of call for sellers and buyers. This is probably due to the lack of a transaction fee, as eBay takes 10% on most sales. Have a look these Facebook selling tips from Money Saving Expert before you jump into it though.
If you have the time and energy, then a lot of recruitment websites have dedicated sections for temporary retail staff. Just search for Christmas temp work. Royal Mail also has plenty of additional jobs in the run up to the seasonal period, keep an eye on their social media for opportunities. And if you can grow a big white beard then a gig as a Santa could be on the cards!
Make Your Own Gifts
Let’s start with cards before we get onto gifts. Emailing customised Christmas cards rather than posting them could save you a lot, as a letter sent first class is now 64p, which can add up quickly. Save the planet and some money by going paperless. Otherwise, see if there’s a local Scouts post service set up in your community, look out of signs in local shops. If you’re sticking with Royal Mail, then their last posting dates will be published in October.
Anyway, here are some homemade gift ideas that can help keep the cost of Christmas down.
Find some nice card and print your present! Things like “The bearer of this voucher is entitled to breakfast in bed” or “Free foot rub” or maybe that you’ll be the designated driver on a night out. Be a creative, generous and personal as you like!
Make your own jams, booze, fudge etc.
This only really works on economies of scale, as in the more you make the lower the cost of each individual present. There’s plenty of recipes online and if you go down the jam route, pick your own blackberries and keep the costs down even more. Package it all up with a few fancy ribbons and you’ll save a packet on buying presents. Get the kids to make the labels too for that extra personal touch.
Knit, stitch and crochet:
Knitting things can be time-consuming and yarn can be pricey too. Yet if you make lots of small things, such as phone covers, hats, key rings, coasters, finger puppets, you can stretch your fabric out to lots of presents.
Want more? Check out:
- 101 Make Your Own Christmas Gift Ideas
- Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas
- WikiHow: 8 Ways To Make Your Own Presents
And if that sounds like too much effort or you don’t have enough time then check these 50 gifts for under a fiver from Money Saving Expert.
Finally, despite being US traditions to do with Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have made their way across the Atlantic.
Black Friday will be on Friday 25th November 2016 and Cyber Monday is Monday 28th November 2016. Expect flash sales and online discounts on those days.
Want to find out about services available to you and your child in your area? Would you like to chat about family matters in general? Then get in touch with the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline.
- Phone: 0300 222 57 57
- Text: 07860 052 905
- Instant message (see top of page)
We are open 6pm – 10pm Monday to Thursday and 10am – 2pm Friday & Saturday.