10 money-saving ideas for this year’s (hopefully) holiday season – Forbes Advisor UK

This year, even the most dedicated Christmas planner may feel intimidated by financial and social pressures after limited festivities in 2020, but there are steps you can take to minimize Christmas stress and lower your costs.

From smart shopping tips and ways to save to why you should prioritize things that matter this year, here are our top Christmas tips.

1 make a list – and double check it

It’s easy to get carried away at Christmas, buy gifts the way you see them, then panic at the last minute and buy more.

To avoid this, figure out how much you can afford to spend this year, then break it down into items you’ll spend money on, such as gifts, food, and travel.

Assign a budget to each item you need to purchase and stick to it to avoid financial stress around Christmas and beyond.

Do this well in advance to help you prioritize the things that are essential to you and your family.

2 Buy strategically

To encourage us to spend even more as Christmas approaches, many retailers are holding pre-Christmas sales, slashing the price of everything from toys to electronics.

So, go through your list and think about buying items on sale to save money – then find potential sale dates and put them in your calendar so you don’t forget them.

However, don’t get carried away by the excitement of making a deal just to end up spending too much. Remember to stick with the items on your list only and do some research before the sales start on what a good price really is.

If you’re not sure if the offer you saw is good, run a quick online search to see what other retailers are selling the product for before you buy it.

3 Store in advance

Another tactic for eliminating the financial vagaries of a pre-December 25 “department store” is to stock up on non-perishable items before the big day.

Consider adding an item or two to your weekly store in the weeks leading up to Christmas, rather than being faced with the bill from an exceptional store closer to the hour. You can purchase items on offer, such as boxes of chocolates, as you see them at a discounted price. Just be sure to check the expiration dates so your efforts don’t go to waste.

4 think differently this year

The coronavirus pandemic has shown people the enormous importance of friends and family, and, in the midst of a lockdown, many people have missed out on social interactions more than material possessions or habits such as going to the gym.

So, don’t forget that and think of Christmas gifts differently this year. Could you plan a winter walk or an outing with a friend rather than exchanging gifts?

Or maybe you were one of the many who honed their baking skills during the lockdown? If so, could you whip up some delicious homemade treats for your friends and family for Christmas, rather than buying an impersonal gift?

If you have kids, get them involved with homemade gifts too. And don’t forget how nice homemade cards and even wrapping paper are. Think of it as a family art session and budgeting lesson all in one.

5 don’t be afraid to talk about money

If you really want to buy a gift for someone who always gives you one in return, have a frank discussion this year about what the two of you can afford.

There is nothing worse than feeling pressured into buying an expensive gift because you always get one, so suggest sticking to a budget – it can make both of you think more creatively.

Another option for family or friendship groups is to organize a Secret Santa, which will allow you to spend a little more on one person. Again, agree on a budget in advance and stick to it.

6 Earn money

If you like to declutter your home before Christmas, look for items you haven’t used in the last year, clothes you haven’t worn, or even unwanted gifts.

Consider selling any undamaged item on a resale site and use the money to invest in Christmas essentials.

7 Buy bargain bubbles

Keep an eye out for deals on your favorite wine as Christmas approaches at supermarkets and specialty wine retailers. No matter how good the deal, remember to check your budget and not exceed it.

Some supermarkets occasionally offer ‘25% off when you buy six bottles’ – it’s always worth keeping an eye out as it can get you half a dozen bottles for the price of four or five (provided you can go as far as bulk purchase, of course).

When it comes to sparkling, don’t assume you have to drizzle with champagne to impress. Other sparkling wines, such as prosecco and cava, are also popular. They are often better value for money and you might prefer them – so shop around.

When it comes to alcohol in general, retailers often raise prices now so they can lower them later in December and announce big price drops, especially with spirits, so keep an eye out for bargains.

8 don’t pay interest on your loans

While it’s always best to spend only what you have, if you have no choice but to pay for a Christmas party with a credit card, make sure you have the right one.

Apply for a 0% purchase credit card well in advance to avoid paying interest, but make sure you still pay the minimum monthly payments and know when the 0% period ends so you can do it all. erase from the card before a high interest rate appears.

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9 Loyalty can pay off

If you have loyalty cards for your favorite stores, start saving your points to buy a Christmas gift or two. For example, Tesco Clubcard points can be used for everything from shopping and going out to vacations, while Boots points can be redeemed for toiletries, toys, children’s clothing and more.

Other retailers have their own programs, so check out what your favorite store has to offer and sign up if you haven’t already.

10 Ace Your Home Entertainment

Depending on how the coming weeks unfold, we may find ourselves leaning even more than usual on our home entertainment systems this holiday season.

It’s worth checking out if you have the best deal on all of the different streaming channels and services available, and figuring out if you’re getting the best value for your money on your broadband and TV package.

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