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How to save money in the run-up to Christmas

How to save money in the run-up to Christmas

Category: Money

Updated: 29/08/2017
First Published: 07/10/2015

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

We hate to say it, but Christmas is rapidly approaching, and that means you'll probably want to start thinking about how you'll afford it. The cost of all that Christmas shopping can soon ramp up – and that's before we even get to the costs of entertaining or travelling – but there are things you can do to keep your expenses in check. We outline a few of them below.

  • Start buying presents early. For many people, buying everything in one go would be too much for one paycheque to cover, so unless you've saved hard and have built up a dedicated Christmas fund, you may want to buy a few presents here and there in the run-up to December. This could be a great way to spread the cost and many people are getting in on the action, and because you've got time to plan, you could probably track down some great deals, too.
  • Make the most of cashback. You'll be spending money in the next few weeks anyway, so why not get some of it back? Online shoppers should make a beeline for cashback sites that could give you something back with each spend, while shoppers of all kinds may like to consider a cashback credit card. They're only really suitable for those who can pay off the balance each month, but if used wisely, it could be a great way to get something for nothing.
  • Buy travel tickets in advance. According to figures from Trainline, many people spend far more than they need to on travelling home for Christmas by buying their train tickets on the day of travel. Conversely, if they book the ticket as soon as it becomes available (often several weeks in advance), they could save an average of £45, so it could pay to be organised.
  • Look out for early bird discounts. Got to organise a Christmas event? Be on the lookout for early bird discounts, as many places will offer cheaper prices or money off if you book well in advance.
  • Take advantage of voucher codes and loyalty points. This is another tip that requires a bit of vigilance, but if you scour the internet for suitable voucher codes, you could save a huge amount on everything from Christmas gifts to the big food shop – check out our dedicated voucher section to get started. In a similar vein, now could be a great time to start redeeming all those retailer loyalty points you've accumulated, and you may be able to tick a few presents off the list without spending anything at all.
  • Budget! Budgeting is something we should be doing all year round, but it becomes even more important in the run-up to Christmas. Try to cut back on those unnecessary treats and put the money you would have spent into an easy access account to build up a short-term festive fund – just think of how much of the Christmas dinner you could buy if you saved £20 a week on coffees, pre-packed sandwiches and takeaways!
  • Need to turn to credit? Choose wisely. Credit will never be the best way to cover the festive spend, but if you've really got no other choice, make sure to use it wisely. As mentioned above, cashback credit cards could be ideal for those who can pay the balance off in full each month, but if you want to spread the cost, opt for a 0% purchase credit card – this will give you several months (or even a year or two) to pay off the balance without interest adding to the bill, but just make sure you can clear it by the time the interest-free period ends.

Christmas may be an expensive time, but with a bit of forward planning, you'll hopefully be able to comfortably cover the cost without the whole thing getting too stressful. Now all you've got to do is start writing those Christmas shopping lists!

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.