The festive season is truly upon us and that means splurging on Christmas decorations, food, presents. I am guilty of that on some occasions. However, all that pre-Christmas spending, endless to-buy and to-do lists made me checking my bank balance with my eyes shut and dreading January. One year, I decided to be prepared and have a more sensible approach to the whole shopping madness. With still few weeks to go I hope that some of my money saving tips will help you to have stress-free (and hopefully debt-free) Christmas.
As simple as that 🙂 You can start making some quick money using one of the ideas from this post If you are crafty you can also make Christmas cards, decorations, gifts and sell them on either Etsy or Christmas Fayre’s. Make some extra as presents for your friends and family. I don’t have any crafty skills but I bought some gifts from my crafty friends for some of my family & friends.
PLAN LIKE A BOSS
Christmas is only 5 weeks away, however with some good planning you can still save a little bit of money even if it is only £20 – £30 per week. See whether you can save some money on your weekly shop by switching supermarkets. I also tend to check My Supermarket for some of my usual purchases or where my weekly shop works out cheaper.
If you are new to on line shopping, there are introductory deals that give you anything between £10 – £20 off your first shop. There is usually a minimum spend to qualify but that’s not bad if you are planning a bigger one.
Make lists every time you go shopping, so you don’t make any impulse purchases. Even better, get into meal planning and create a shopping list according to your weekly menu.
Get your slow cooker out and cook in bulk. That way you have dinners or lunches for a couple of days and you can also freeze some for those days when you don’t feel like cooking. Stops you from having a take away. The weather is perfect for hearty, comfort food like stews, pasta bakes, lasagna, etc. Also, you can bulk up with tinned beans, tomatoes, lentils, which means that you can get away with using half amount of meat and freeze the rest for next time. I also tend to roast a batch of veggies each week and use them up during the week as a base for my lunch. Delicious and cheap.
Whilst we are on the subject of lists, make sure that each week with your shopping you add an item or two which you use during your Christmas lunch prep. Things like tin foil, chutneys (which you can also make yourself), flour, some frozen items (if using), tins of chocolates (if you can hide them and resist for that long), drinks, etc. It means that you won’t have to spend an extortionate amount of money in one go when doing that final pre-Christmas shop.
CELEBRATE (BUT BE PRACTICAL)
December usually marks a month of celebrations. Whether it’s a get together with your friends at home or out in a restaurant it usually costs quite a bit. Especially when you decide to host it at your own home. Me and my friends have been doing pre-Christmas get together each year for the last 4 years. It is a great opportunity for us to meet all together, have some good food and watch all of our kids destroy someone’s living room. There is a fair amount of food to prepare, which obviously costs time and money. What we tend to do is to prepare a dish and bring it to the party. The host will usually make some extra but takes the pressure off and also it means that we always end up with some delicious food to try & the overall cost is spread.
DON’T GO OVER THE TOP
We all strive to have perfect time over Christmas. However, think where you can make / bake your own even when you are tempted by the festive packaging. It will most likely taste much better and you will know exactly what’s in your food. Unless you are feeding the army don’t buy more than you think you and your family will eat. I used to buy stuff just in case but you need to think that shops are only shut for one day and if I need anything urgently I can pop out and get it. Nine times out of ten I can get by without venturing out to the shops.
Make sure you monitor your spending. I find it too easy to just take my card out and pay (Contactless is the evil). Whether you are doing it on an excel spreadsheet, using an app on your phone or any other way make sure that you track it and not overspend.
After all, what keeps me in check is January. Especially that I get paid before Christmas and my next pay is at the end of January. Budget time 🙂 !
Hope you found those money saving tips useful. I am curious to find out whether there is something that you do to save some money in the run up to Christmas?