Whether you love or hate Christmas, we’re here to help you save as much money as possible in the run-up to the festive season with these handy hacks.
While it’s easy to stick your head in the sand and ignore the boxes of mince pies slowly creeping onto the shelves, it really does pay to start your festive planning sooner rather than later. From key shopping dates to ways to save, see how you can enjoy the festive season for less.
Key dates for your diary
Start shopping - from October
Spreading the cost of Christmas over two paydays can really ease the financial impact of the season - if you haven’t already started earlier on, of course. While it can be tricky to get into the festive spirit, you’ll be glad you’ll have started sooner once the cost of Christmas drinks and get-togethers kick in come December.
Book your train tickets - from mid-October
If you’ve got a long train journey back home for Christmas, it’s better to buy your tickets as soon as possible. Ticket prices start to shoot up once everybody books their journey home so it’s best to beat the price surges - according to Money Saving Expert, around 8-12 weeks in advance is best.
Black Friday - 29 November
Black Friday is a great date to grab some gifts - on the payday before Christmas, many high street and online retailers offer huge discounts. The likes of Amazon, John Lewis and Currys are renown for slashing the costs of big-ticket items, so if you’ve got a list of gifts to buy, it could be worth waiting to see if you could save.
Cyber Monday - 2 December
Hate battling the crowds? If shopping isn’t your thing, you can get your fills of bargains on Cyber Monday instead, where all the deals are online. Cyber Monday is great for fashion and clothing deals, so it could be a good time to nab that new coat you’ve been looking at.
Last day to send post - 20 December
This year, the cut-off point for sending cards and parcels by first class is Friday 20 December. If it's second class, be sure to send from Wednesday 18 and ff you’re sending items abroad, be sure to check the dates in advance to save disappointment.
Ways to save this Christmas
Make a list (and check it twice)
No matter who’s naughty or nice, you should always write down your budget for every gift before you head to the shops. It might be savvy to think about what you can afford in total first and then decide how to split it between gifts for your family and friends afterwards.
Researching the price of gifts online in advance will mean you’ll be less likely to make flustered spending decisions in busy shops and spend beyond your budget. Writing a physical list of your budget and gift ideas before you start shopping should help you stay on track.
Make money from your spending
Whether it’s a cashback credit card or clicking through cashback sites, there’s money to be made from your festive spending. Cashback sites simply allow you to make your online purchases as normal but you click through their site first (they get paid for this) to receive a percentage of the money back.
Never part ways with your cash until you’re sure there isn’t a cheaper deal on the market. You might be surprised to discover that high street stores could be open to haggling and lowering costs if you ask.
John Lewis’s slogan is ‘Never knowingly undersold’, which means you can make a price match request if you spot a cheaper deal and Currys also have a Price Promise, meaning they’ll match the price of any other retailer. Even if you’re only shopping online, be sure to compare the same product on different sites if you can.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.