Keep Christmas costs down
It’s easy to get carried away at Christmas, especially when we’re bombarded by endless offers
Many people may be worrying about Christmas costs, especially as so many incomes have been affected by coronavirus, but there are plenty of ways to keep festive bills down.
Here are our top tips on celebrating Christmas on a budget.
Set a spending limit
It’s easy to get carried away at Christmas, especially when we’re bombarded by endless offers, discounts and deals. Before embarking on your Christmas shopping, write a list of everyone you need to buy presents for and how much you can afford to spend on them. Try to stick to these limits and if you’re on a particularly tight budget, set a limit with friends and family as to how much you’re going to spend on each other. If you have a large family, ask if everyone is happy to only give presents to the children to help reduce costs.
Put loyalty points towards your Christmas food and drink shopping.
If you regularly collect loyalty points when you shop, but rarely cash them, you could get money off your festive food shop. For example, if you have a Sainsbury’s Nectar card, every 500 points you have is worth £2.50, so if you’ve got 5,000 points saved up, you’ll get £25 off your Christmas shop. If you have a Tesco Clubcard, then each point is worth a penny, so 150 points is worth £1.50 off your shop.
Cashback websites such as Topcashback.co.uk or Quidco.com which will give you cashback on your online spending. They are usually free to sign up to and once you’ve joined, you simply search for the retailer you want to buy goods from on the cashback site, and then earn money back on your spending. For example, when we checked, Topcashback was offering up to 3% cashback at Marks & Spencer, whilst you could get up to 8% cashback at ASOS and up to 5% cashback at George at Asda.
Send cards second class
If you send Christmas cards every year, make sure you get them in the post early so that you don’t have to fork out for first class stamps. Royal Mail says that 18 December is the last date for posting cards and presents second class this year if you want them to arrive in time for Christmas. If you’re feeling the pinch, you could ditch cards altogether and send a festive greeting to your loved ones via email which won’t cost you a penny.
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Try to avoid borrowing if at all possible – friends and family would usually much rather not receive an extravagant gift from you if it’s going to push you into debt. If you are going to have to rely on credit to make ends meet over the next few weeks, make sure you keep interest charges to a minimum by choosing a credit card that charges 0% on purchases for a long introductory period. You must be confident you’ll be able to pay back what you owe within this period so that you don’t have to pay any interest. Top 0% cards for purchases currently M&S Bank, Sainsbury’s Bank and TSB cards, all of which offer a 20-month interest-free introductory period. After that, interest on these cards shoots up to an annual representative rate of 19.9%, 21.95% and 19.95% respectively.