Christmas Money Saving Tips

Plan for affordability, not desirability

Before you start planning, consider this: many list every lusted-for item, gifts for all, and a corking meal, then only afterwards consider: “How will I pay for it?” That’s a recipe to be broke. Instead, calculate your budget and ask: “What can I afford to spend on Christmas?” Christmas is one day – don’t ruin the whole of the next year for it.

Is it time to BAN unnecessary Christmas presents?

Christmas isn’t a retail festival – we need to end obliged giving and think more about what we’re giving, to whom and why.  We’re not talking about gifts from parents or to grandchildren, but the ever-widening glut of friends, extended family and colleagues. You could always make a No Unnecessary Present Pact (Nupp) with friends, or at least agree to a Secret Santa or £5 to £10 cap on gifts?

Save with the free Christmas IOU generator

Before Christmas is the year’s costliest shopping time, January sales the cheapest. So if you’re after a big-ticket family purchase like a TV or games console… wait. Give the kids a nicely-wrapped IOU, telling them you’re waiting for the sales. You could also buy a small extra gift from potential savings to show the benefit of waiting. This way, kids get a triple whammy: the gift, the extra and a lesson in money sense.

Find hidden local eBay or Facebay bargains

Whether Wiis or children’s books, eBay sellers often specify items must be collected in person. As this means fewer bids, there are bargains to be had. Young children usually wouldn’t know if toys are new or used!

Make a list – and check it twice!

Christmas shopping on impulse is dangerous. So make an old-fashioned shopping list and stick to it. Remember, shops spend a fortune on targeting your spending impulses – a list helps you beat them. Even if you’re shopping on the high street, remember to benchmark the prices using shopbots first.

Pay by credit card if it’s over £100

Sadly, firms go bust. If that happens and ordered goods haven’t arrived, or have but are faulty, it’s a nightmare. However, if you use a credit card (not debit card, cheque or cash) to pay even partly for something costing between £100 and £30,000, the card company’s jointly liable for the whole amount.

If the firm goes bust, you can get redress from the card firm instead – valuable extra protection. Though only do this if you can clear the card in full each month to avoid interest. There is also an option which can help if you use a Visa, Mastercard or Amex credit card, or any debit or charge card. If the goods don’t appear or are faulty, you can ask your bank/card provider to reclaim the cash from the seller’s bank, so long as you start the chargeback process within 120 days of realising there’s a problem.

Start saving early to spread the cost

Many families struggle to foot it from December’s pay-packet alone and end up borrowing. So why not put money aside from January, at no cost? Better than borrowing and paying back later with interest. Work out your budget & find the most profitable home for your cash. If you can’t afford to save, cut your cloth accordingly.

Finally DIY it……

Sometimes the personal touch means more than spending hundreds of pounds on presents. If you have a skill, use it! For example, make homemade Christmas bunting for gifts for friends or if you made a glut jam or chutney in the summer, put some Christmas labels on and give to family!