One thing’s for sure, whether you’re having a good or bad time financially, Christmas waits for no one. Every year it arrives without fail, and between the turkey, the tree, the socialising and the presents, it’s never easy on your wallet.
Last year, research by Nationwide found that the average Brit spent £645 on Christmas inclusive of food, drink, parties, presents and other festivities. That’s an awful lot of money, but if you’re shopping on a shoestring, there are plenty of things you can do to bring that cost down.
Here are five ways you can reduce the cost of Christmas this year without missing out.
- Spend less on presents
Cheap presents do not necessarily have to mean bad presents. Looking for the cheapest deals online and scouring the web for discount codes can bring the cost down. Simply entering the retailer’s name followed by ‘discount codes’ into your internet browser is an easy way of searching for bargains.
Another option is to download the Google Chrome plug-in ‘Honey’, which will scour the web for you and alert you when it finds a discount code for a retailer you’re interested in. There are also plenty of Christmas presents that although cheap, are perfect for stockings and Secret Santa. Here are a few low-cost present ideas from the South African lender Wonga.
- Cash in your loyalty points
If you’ve been saving up your loyalty points from the supermarket then now’s the time to cash them in. A year’s worth of loyalty points could mean you can effectively do your entire Christmas food shop for free. Some retailers will also allow you to multiply the value of your points which can lead to some terrific discounts. Just remember, your loyalty points are an untapped resource, so make sure you use them.
- Trial Amazon Prime for a month
This is a tried and tested trick that can be hugely beneficial if you’re planning to do much of your shopping online, but you must remember to cancel your subscription before the end of the month. The Amazon Prime service promises unlimited one-day delivery, helping you to avoid delivery fees and guaranteeing quick service at this extremely busy time. You can leave your subscription at any time so make sure you note down exactly when it started so you can cancel it before the monthly charge kicks in.
- Sign up for flash sales
Every so often, designer brands will announce flash sales to sell stock from the outgoing season at what can be huge discounts. These events are usually announced online and at very short notice, so surprisingly few consumers know about them. However, signing up to websites like Cocosa and The OutNet will make sure you’re informed of any upcoming events.
- Book train tickets 8 weeks in advance
Travel is one of the unavoidable costs of Christmas for many people, but by planning in advance it is possible to reduce the price of your ticket. Booking your train ticket between 8 and 12 weeks before you travel has been proven to be much cheaper than buying your ticket just a couple of weeks before, or worse still, on the day. With festive travel often a huge headache, it will also give you peace of mind to know your seat is booked.
We’d love to hear your Christmas cost-cutting tips. Please share your favourites with our readers in the comments below.