With less than 3 weeks till Christmas, in order to avoid spending a fortune over the festive period you need to start planning now. This isn’t about early celebration, it’s about preparation. There are sacksful of things you can do now to reduce the financial stress and avoid being skint in January.
1. Don’t plan the perfect Christmas – first work out what you can afford
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 for ending up broke.
Instead, calculate your budget (see our free Budget Planner), and ask: “What can I afford to spend?” Christmas is one day – don’t ruin the whole of the next year for it.
2. POUNCE on discounts when you see them
Make a list of who you need to buy for and whenever you see goods at decent prices, grab, wrap, and stuff ’em in a Christmas cupboard.
For cheap yet thoughtful gifts, the Free Photo Prints deals page lists the top photo book, canvas, card and calendar discount codes.
3. Avoid ‘buy now, pay later’
Tempting as these schemes are, try to avoid them unless you have a plan in place for repaying the loan within the interest free period. Otherwise, after the 0% phase ends, you’ll be charged an aggressive interest rate and that new sofa, outfit or TV could end up costing you far more. And it could have a negative impact on your credit score if you default on payments.
4. Be smart about delivery
Paying supermarket delivery fees can really add up. A delivery pass, where you pay an up front fee for deliveries from your favourite supermarket, may work out cheaper. They cost as little as £3 a month ad could save over £100 a year if you regularly buy your weekly shop from the same store.
If you’re shopping on Amazon, it’s probably worth signing up for your 30 day trial of Amazon Prime to get free shipping — just remember to cancel before the 30 days are up.
5. Deploy trolley tactics
Load up your online trolley but don’t check out immediately. If stores spot items sitting in your basket, they’ll ask if you forgot to check out and may send you a discount code to persuade you to buy the goods. You’ll need to have entered your email address, so that they can get in touch.