The thought of Christmas will already be a for many people. As the cost of living crisis continues to linger, budgets still remain tight.
Research by Mumsnet in 2022 found that 68% of parents were more anxious about the festive period than they usually would be due to the cost of living crisis. From rising energy bills, fuel prices, and food costs, the Christmas period can be a daunting time.
This week is UK Savings Week and we want to tell you there are ways to manage your money and find support. We’ve put together top tips on how to spend smart and save money for Christmas.
Be realistic with what you can afford
The stress of social media often puts us under pressure to have the perfect Christmas. From expensive presents, fancy decorations, and decadent Christmas dinners, there can be serious temptation to overspend. Being honest with yourself and what you can afford is the first step of handling your finances better. Once you come to terms with how much you have to spend, you can make a plan that matches your budget.
It’s also important to remember the real meaning of Christmas. Surrounding yourself with friends and family is what it’s really about!
Martin Lewis shares how to get a FREE £175
The UK’s finance guru Martin Lewis shared how to get free cash in time for Christmas. On his BBC Radio 5 show, he explained that First Direct, a division of HSBC, is awarding members of the public £175 within 28 days of transferring to a new account. Even though you must pay in £1000 to claim it, it can be withdrawn again straight away. Switching takes seven working days, meaning if you do it soon, you can get the money as early as October. What would we do without Martin Lewis?
Book train tickets in advance
If you’re planning on travelling to visit friends and family throughout December, it’s important to book train tickets well in advance. Train companies often release tickets 12 weeks beforehand, so now is the perfect time to start planning your journey!
There are many cost-effective ways to create decorations, presents, and delicious foods! Our blog from last December is full of different ideas on how to have a cost-savvy Christmas with the same amount of festive cheer and excitement. Read the full blog here.
Supermarket saving schemes
Most major supermarkets in the UK have saving schemes, sometimes called stamp schemes. With the right planning, there are sneaky ways to maximise your rewards. According to Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert, the best way to use them is by topping up your savings account just before the deadline day. This way, you can get a reward of around 3% – 6% pretty much straight away. Here is an example based on Tesco’s scheme:
With Tesco’s Christmas Saver account, if you topped it up with £200 before the deadline, you’d get a £12 bonus added on top. This would come in your November Clubcard statement in two parts – a standard voucher equal to the amount you saved, plus a bonus voucher, which you could then use to pay in store or online.
Cash in loyalty points
If you have been using loyalty cards, it may be a good idea to start cashing in points to relieve costs of presents or food. Some examples of these include Tesco Clubcard, Morrisons More Card, and Boots Card.
TOP TIP: with some loyalty point schemes, e.g. Tesco Clubcard, you can use points to pay for other expenses up to three times their value. This means instead of paying with points at the till, you can save on gifts such as days out, annual memberships, and cinema tickets. This is usually an online process via the supermarket’s website.
Shop second hand
There are plenty of high-quality, second hand items to be found at cheaper prices in person or online. Trustworthy sites include Facebook marketplace, Vinted, and Ebay. Keep your eyes peeled for deals on clothes, homeware, and much more. The app Too Good To Go is another way to get good food at a fraction of the price. On the app, you will find local stores selling surplus, unsold food which they sell on to members of the public to avoid food waste. This is the perfect way to get last-minute, surprise treats for yourself, family, or friends.
If you’re feeling stressed about Christmas, we hope our top tips have made you feel more at ease. It’s not about depriving yourself of joy or cutting out all the festive fun. Instead, it’s about making smart financial choices that allow you to save money and enjoy the holiday season without the heavy burden of debt come January.
Are you looking for more personal, in depth financial support? Those in the Liverpool city region can get further advice through our Mind & Money programme.
The Mind & Money programme is designed to help people in our local community struggling with the cost of living crisis and money management. If you’re living in the Liverpool city region and looking for support with financial well being, get in touch today!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us on 0151 706 8113.
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