The festive season is fast approaching. For some people, Christmas is the highlight of the year, with wonderful food, pretty decorations, and plenty of presents. However, for lots of people, Christmas can be a source of stress, especially when it comes to money. This year has been particularly tough for everybody, with many people facing job losses and economic uncertainty. With this in mind, today we're sharing our top 5 money-saving tips for Christmas.
1. Budget Carefully
It's easy to get carried away with spending at Christmas time. From presents to food to decorations, the costs can mount up quickly. Instead of listing all the things you want to buy and worrying about how to pay for them, try calculating your budget first and then working out what you can afford. This is one of the most simple money-saving tips for Christmas, but it can be really effective. After all, Christmas is about spending time with people you love and being thankful for what you have. While there is often pressure to spend large amounts of money, it's not worth overspending or putting yourself in debt for the sake of one day.
2. Shop Around Online
Google Shopping is an excellent tool for shoppers everywhere. It lets you compare prices from lots of online retailers to help you find what you're looking for at the best possible price. It includes the bigger stores like Amazon as well as smaller brands. Just search for the product you want and you'll see hundreds of results. Filter by price, brand, and other useful features to save money this Christmas.
3. Be Wary of 'Luxury' Brands
When it comes to food shopping, there are so many different brands to choose from. The next of our money-saving tips comes straight from Martin Lewis at Money Saving Expert. The 'downshift challenge' can save you money by moving away from so-called luxury brands. According to Money Saving Expert, there are four main levels of product brands in most supermarkets:
- Premium - products with fancy packaging and names like 'finest' or 'luxury'
- Branded - household names like Heinz, Birdseye, and Coca-Cola
- Own Brand - the supermarket's own version of a branded product
- Value - products in relatively plain packaging with names like 'basic' or 'value'
In the downshift challenge, you drop one brand level on everything you buy. If you can't tell the difference, you keep buying the cheaper version and let the savings pile up! Try doing a blind taste-test with your family members to see if they can taste the difference.
4. DIY Christmas Presents
Buying presents is definitely one of the biggest expenses of the festive season. You can often make significant savings if you make some presents yourself. Plus, homemade gifts can hold lots of sentimental value and are a great way to show that you care. Below are some of the best homemade Christmas presents you can make on a budget:
- Recipe book - buy a cheap notebook or ring binder and fill it with your favourite family recipes.
- Body scrub - make a DIY body scrub with just 3 ingredients: granulated sugar, olive or coconut oil, and an essential oil of your choice.
- Chocolate truffles - homemade truffles are much easier than you'd think, and far more affordable than fancy brands!
- Memory jar - clean out an empty jam jar and decorate with some pretty ribbons or festive paper. Then write down some of your favourite memories with your loved one on pieces of paper or card and pop them in the jar.
5. Secret Santa
If you have a big extended family or a wide circle of friends, the cost of buying everyone a gift can be enormous. Secret Santa is one of the best money-saving tips for Christmas because it means you'll only be buying one gift! If you arrange a Secret Santa with your friends, everyone can save some cash. We'd recommend agreeing on a maximum spend so that no one is tempted to go overboard. This way, instead of buying 5 of your friends a £10 present, you could buy one of your friends a £20 present and still save £30!
The Gift of Peace of Mind
As we come to the end of a stressful, uncertain year, lots of us are looking for reassurance and peace of mind. A Lifeline alarm is a great way to feel safe and secure in your home. If a Lifeline alarm user ever has a feel or needs assistance for any reason, they can press the button on their Lifeline pendant. This raises an instant alert with our Response Team, who will reassure the user and arrange the help they need.