From budgeting to homemade gifts, get your Christmas spending under control with our tips
If the rest of the year is anything to go by, the UK will be tightening its belt this Christmas.
High street sales dropped in September, sending the UK retail sector to its lowest growth rate in four years. This is likely to continue until Christmas, with spending impacted by the rising rate of inflation and slow wage growth.
More and more of us are feeling the pinch, and with the holidays on the horizon us Brits need to save more and more.
Read on for our top tips for saving for Christmas.
Set a budget
Don’t let your Christmas dreams get out of hand before you set a budget – you’ll only be disappointed when you can’t afford to buy that case of Prosecco.
Think about everything you might need to budget for over the festive period, not just presents but things that a lot of us forget. This includes petrol for driving to far-off family members, the cost of extra heating and the expense of feeding all those random people who turn up at your door expecting bubbly and a mince pie.
Has anyone told you that homemade presents are now nicer than shop-bought ones? Well it’s true... At least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe when I give my friends my homemade bottles of gin this Christmas.
Homemade presents do have lots more personality, and they’re a great bonding exercise to get children involved with. Apart from the gin-making – that’s for the grown-ups.
Why not make your own cards, or go full Kirstie Allsopp and make your own candles, soap and glassware... Christmas is the time to test your creativity, after all.
Be careful with your food shop
We all go a bit crazy with the food shop over Christmas.
According to research by the British Retail Consortium in 2016, discount supermarket Aldi saw a 15% rise in December compared to the year before. Customers were tempted by bargain booze, cheap continental goodies and all the random stuff you find in the middle aisles.
Before you head out for the big Christmas shop, make a list and think about exactly what you need and reconsider whether you even need to do a big shop – you might be better off buying things when they’re on offer in the run up and freezing them or putting them away in the cupboards.
Be sure to take your loyalty card so you’re rewarded, plus any vouchers you’ve managed to accumulate. If you’re a student, look into places that offer student discount – this applies to presents as well as food.
Sell unwanted stuff
Make money by getting rid of your unwanted items on selling sites such as Depop, eBay or Gumtree.
Consider a 30-second rule when you are tempted to hoard – can you really see yourself using this in the next week? Can you justify the reasons you own it? Think about these questions for 30 seconds and if the answer is no, think about selling them on to a good home.
Using buy-to-sell techniques is a great way to make cash if you go about it in a clever manner.
Familiarise yourself with websites like TopCashback and Quidco and you could find yourself saving money on every present purchase.
High street brands like Curry’s, House of Fraser and Admiral can be found on there.
If you’re planning a trip for Christmas, holiday booking sites like lastminute.com are on there too.
Don’t be tempted by Black Friday
The last few years have seen the explosion of Black Friday, originally an American event. Shoppers are encouraged to descend on shops – online and offline – in search of a bargain and it can be a great day to buy all those big-ticket items that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.
However, don’t get carried away on Black Friday and end up spending loads of money on TVs, laptops and other goodies you don’t really need.
Before buying, think about whether you need that item or whether you’re only buying it because of the discount - if you are, you might want to leave it on the shelf.
Find budget-friendly things to do
Whether it’s a visit to Santa’s Grotto or ice skating at your local rink, spending time with the family over Christmas can become expensive quickly.
The Hoop App provides extensive information on free events in your local area, which means you can make your little ones happy on weekends and holidays without breaking the bank.
If you’re struggling to think of budget-friendly activities, buckle the children up and go for a drive around the neighbourhood to look at the Christmas displays.
We asked Admiral staff to share their festive money-saving insights...
“I’d recommend wrapping gifts in brown parcel paper, it has a lovely vintage feel, is really robust and it is a fraction of the price of wrapping paper.” - Rebecca
“Re-gifting is a great way to save money at Christmas! I always receive at least one bottle of wine every year, but I don’t drink wine so rather than leaving it sat in a cupboard I will re-gift it to someone who will appreciate it and enjoy it (or to someone I have forgotten to buy a present for!)” - Chloe
“Don’t have children…” - Chris