Preparing for a Money Saving Christmas – Make a list and check it twice
It does not matter that it occurs at the same time every year, Christmas seems to catch many of us out every year. Even for those that are super-prepped you can guarantee something ends up costing more than they expected or items go un-used. This is hardly surprising when according to the Bank Of England the typical household expenses increases by £800 in the month of December.
After discussing how to save money at Christmas in our branches with both our account holders and PCCU staff we’ve created a list; like a 7 years old’s Christmas present wish list it is quite long, however, we guarantee a number of these will help you have a money saving Christmas;
- Budget – always at the top of any money related list but budgeting for Christmas is vital if you want to control your spending. Traditional pen and paper or modern phone apps, it does not matter, getting it down in advance will help. Decide how much money you have available or can save before deciding who you have to buy for, how much to spend on presents and whether you can afford the nights out you’re invited to. We will have to see if this year’s Christmas works do or nights out actually happen….
- Make a list and check it twice – simple. Cut down the present list. Prioritise.
- Start shopping early – if you’ve missed the boat this year then set a reminder in your phone for summer 2021. Have a spot in the house where you store items, a bottom cupboard or a secure spot in the (dry) attic. Heck some start buying in January when the sales start!
- Search for the cheapest deals, vouchers or price match. Shop online or check online then check whether the high street will price match. Use an incognito or private browser, so you are not charged more by online retailers.
- Online price trackers – There are many, with everyone’s favourite search engine Google provide a reliable service. A number of others allow you to compare well known websites including; ShopSavvy, Scanlife, Honey App, Keepa and CamelCamelCamel.
- Don’t go Christmas shopping with you children, friends or family. We know this doesn’t sound very festive but unless they are a good influence (let’s be honest we mean penny pinching influence) they’re best left at home.
- Online marketplaces are great places to find new or used items such as Ebay, Facebook market place and Gumtree.
- Section 75 laws – If the items you purchase are over £100 then pay with a credit card. Section 75 means the credit card company should take some responsibility if things go wrong with your purchase.
- Unused Vouchers? Have you got a pretty box with unused store voucher cards that you didn’t get around to spending in time or worst still…the store doesn’t exist anymore.
- Discourage children from watching every Christmas advert going, hard but doable with some distraction. The Argos catalogue used to be the big worry, 700 pages with 3000 circled items for Farther Christmas.
- IOU or BWYW – instead of wasting cash on a guess, if you think your partner or family would take a “Buy What You Want” credit note, it could result in them getting what they want and you not wasting your precious cash….let’s be honest you’re probably going to buy the other items they really want at some point in the year.
- Discount and Pound shops –There is nothing wrong with cheap stocking filler. Toiletries and other essentials are great options for stocking fillers, they also reduce the need to buy in the difficult ‘skint’ months after Christmas; we did say we were looking at ways to help you save money.
- Make your own decorations, we know we know – we’ve all walked into a friend’s house and given the home-made snow angel with one wing a second glance but children love getting involved.
- Do you buy decorations every year and then find you already have something similar? You’re not alone, have a little look at your stocks before buying new. Although, don’t bother getting the tree out covered in fake snow…
- Real or artificial tree, this is your preference but buying a real tree to decorate your carpet each festive season is not the greatest way to keep cost down.
- Food waste – think back to last year and every other years you’ve been in charge of the Christmas shop….did you need ALL THAT FOOD? Did you throw certain items away?….did only one person eat a certain item at your Christmas feast?
- Secret Santa – It’s not just for work. It can be great to use with circles of friends and your extended family too.
- Gift a charity donation or agree not to buy for family or colleagues.
- Think twice about a store card – the interest rates are not always favourable!
- Cashback and using Store Loyalty points you’ve built up – PCCU’s exclusive Engage Debit Card has a wide range of cashback rewards and a handy calculator to find out what rewards your purchases could earn found here. If you’ve built up loyalty point from purchase throughout the year with stores or companies, now may be the time to cash in .
- Not used it since last Christmas? Maybe it was not a must have item….move it on and make some money back.
Finally, deposit all the money you save in to a Christmas Club account with PCCU. This money is fully protected by the FSCS and allows you to only make cash or BACS withdrawals during the months of November and December. Ensuring these savings can only be used to purchase your festivities.
Budget. Plan for next year. Re-read the list.