Ways to save on Christmas
- 10 tips for cutting the cost of Christmas food, drink and gifts
- How to spread the cost of Christmas shopping, at no extra cost
- How to recycle unwanted gifts and avoid wasting festive food
10 ways to save at Christmas
1. Make a seasonal spending plan
Knowing what you can afford at Christmas is more important than putting together the perfect shopping list. Spending now and considering the cost later will leave you with a nasty financial hangover in the New Year. Create a simple budget, then use our money saving tips to buy the best festive gifts and food you can. The Which? Ways to save on food guide offers good advice for frugal food shopping.
2. Save money by shopping online
Shopping online can offer substantial savings, particularly if you use ‘shop-bots’ (shopping price comparison sites) to track down the cheapest deals. Sites such as PriceRunner, Kelkoo, find-dvd, and find-cd will scour the web for the lowest prices on specific items, while online voucher codes, available from sites such as HotUKDeals and MyVoucherCodes, can offer additional savings.
3. Pay no interest on your purchases
If you have a credit card that isn’t often used, it could come in handy this Christmas. As long as you don’t already owe money on the card and can pay it off in full in January, you could use it for a short period of interest-free borrowing over the festive season. Most credit card providers offer users an interest-free period of around 50 days, provided you completely clear your balance before your next bill payment is due. However, do remember to check the terms and conditions of your credit card before spending on it for this purpose – and remember that your purchases will be subject to interest charges if you don’t pay them off on time.
4. Buy bargain food and drink
Cut the cost of your Christmas groceries by doing some selective shopping at discount supermarkets. This year a budget Christmas pudding has been awarded Best Buy status by Which? testers, while supermarket bubblies outperformed big-name champagne brands in our recent recent Which? taste test. Proof, if any were needed, that opting for a top brand doesn’t always guarantee value for money!
5. Earn cashback on your spending
If you have a cashback credit card and are able to pay off your spending in full next month, make sure you use it for all your festive spending! Cashback credit cards pay you back a proportion of what you spend annually, so by using one at Christmas you could effectively cut the cost of festive food and gifts. Cashback websites work in a similar way, by paying you back a proportion of your spending when you buy from specific online retailers. They’re free and simple to use, and you could earn hundreds of pounds a year by signing up with one.
6. Cut the cost of Christmas travel
If you’ll be travelling by train this Christmas, cut the cost by booking your tickets as far in advance as possible. You could also consider ‘split ticketing’. This involves passengers splitting their rail journeys into two separate legs, which, combined, can cost less than the fare for the whole journey. For example, two separate fares – from Reading to Banbury and Banbury to Birmingham – can cost less than a fare from Reading to Birmingham. For more advice, read the Cheap train tickets advice guide and our 10 tips for cutting the cost of domestic travel.
7. Get the Good Food Guide
The Good Food Guide is a great stocking filler and contains £50 worth of money-off restaurant vouchers. What’s more, it contains in-depth reviews of the UK’s best eateries which should help ensure you get value for money whenever you dine out.
8. Love your leftovers
Every year 6.7 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK. Campaigning website LoveFood HateWaste estimates that food wastage jumps up to 80% over the Christmas period! Make sure you use up any spare food this season by checking for free leftovers recipes on the website.
9. Don’t waste unwanted gifts
If you want to make the most of your unwanted gifts, visit Play.com. Play has tapped into the market for unwanted presents with Recycleagift.com, where your unloved DVDs, CDs, books and games can be bought by other site users. Last year’s most traded item was Mamma Mia on DVD.
10. Stock up on stuff for next year
Finally, don’t forget that the January sales present a great opportunity for cutting the cost of next Christmas. Stock up on discounted wrapping paper, crackers, Christmas cards and decorations, and you won’t have to buy the same products when they’re more expensive next year!