Duologi’s Top 10 Money-Saving Tips for Christmas
Tuesday December 15th, 2020
As most of us will have experienced first-hand at some point during January, tallying up the eye-watering costs of a badly planned holiday season can really chill any residual festive warmth. Budgeting for Christmas shopping is always a bit of a headache, but it’s hugely important you do so if you really want to stay on top of things.
To help you think about ways to track and reduce outgoings (without scrimping on Christmas spirit), we’ve put together this list of 10 top tips for controlling your festive spending. If you’re looking for ways to keep costs down, here are our top 10 money-saving tips for Christmas.
1. Use a list to stay on budget
Unless you’re strict with yourself, Christmas shopping can often end up as a bit of a runaway expense. We’re bombarded with adverts and in-store promotions for weeks in advance, and there always seems to be ‘one more bit’ that finds its way into your basket.
To help with budgeting and avoid costs spiralling out of control, always make a well-planned and detailed list of the things you really need in advance. Keep it with you every time you shop during the festive season – whether for Christmas items or not! – and tick things off promptly once bought.
2. Get the family on board
To help drive down everyone’s individual spend without making anybody feel they’re lagging behind, try setting cost-effective challenges within family groups. Secret Santa is a great way to do this – it’s a system more commonly associated with offices and friendship groups, but there’s no reason why extended families shouldn’t use it.
There are numerous online tools you can use to help organise it, and people can even submit wish lists that line up with the budget you decide on if you want to make it even easier to grab something they’ll like. Alternatively, try setting a challenge for everybody to make each other’s gift this year, instead of buying it.
3. Avoid unnecessary gifting
To follow on from the previous point, you might even want to instigate a ‘no gifts’ pact with extended families, friends, work colleagues and more. Don’t worry that you’ll be thought of as a Scrooge – you’d be amazed how many people end up buying dozens of small gifts for people they’re not all that close to every year, simply out of fear that they’ll receive one and have nothing to give back.
This obligatory/reciprocal approach to festive shopping is, quite frankly, a bit silly – and a lot of people will breathe a huge sigh of relief if you’re brave enough to suggest you all give it a miss. (If ‘no gifts at all’ feels a little too austere, try lobbying for a low-cost Secret Santa challenge instead.)
4. Get crafty with homemade gifts
We mentioned giving handmade presents in one of the posts above, which is always a common suggestion for saving money at Christmas. The only real issue is figuring out what to make, but there are countless sources of inspiration to browse through on the web. If in doubt, never underestimate the giftability of homemade foodie treats – and don’t assume you need to be Nigella Lawson to create something tasty, either!
When packaged up nicely, a little decorated basket of simple gingerbread cookies or no-bake handmade chocolates can be a really lovely present for adults and kids alike. If your recipient-to-be has less of a sweet tooth, you can easily achieve great results by adding your own flavourings to budget-friendly spirits or liqueurs, and decanting them into smaller personalised bottles.
5. Use vouchers and points wisely
Vouchers are always a handy way of saving a few pounds, and the festive season is no exception. Keep your eyes peeled for money-off coupons right up to the end of the month – shops everywhere will be keen to compete for the inevitable rush of last-minute business, and many will have Christmas-themed stock that needs selling off.
Also, don’t forget that reward schemes like supermarket points can often be used for things other than food. If you’ve already stockpiled enough pigs in blankets to feed a small army, try to avoid cashing in your loyalty rewards on even more treats. Instead, put it towards the ‘boring’ practical things you’ll still need in January and beyond.
6. Take advantage of 0% finance
A lot of people plan on borrowing to fund Christmas (or buying everything on credit) with a view to severe belt-tightening as a means to getting back on track in January. While this can be a viable approach, we’d always suggest people avoid borrowing if there’s any heavy interest involved. All too often, short-term Christmas loans come with some eye-watering repayment terms – but it doesn’t always need to be like that.
As a buyer, be on the lookout for great consumer finance deals offering 0% Finance or Buy Now, Pay Later options, without charging you extra for this added flexibility. As a retail business, offering your customers finance packages under these sorts of conditions is a brilliant way to stand out from the crowd, and could well secure you a good chunk of extra custom at this incredibly competitive time of year.
Head over to our Customer Finance page to find out more about financing options from Duologi.
7. Shop around
This one should go without saying, but obviously don’t forget to track down the best deals on anything you know you’re definitely going to be buying. If you’re shopping online, use tools like price comparison sites wherever you can. You can make significant savings on the same items if you’re willing to track incoming packages from a wider variety of sources.
If you’d rather buy from just one or two sellers, due to loyalty schemes or reduced postage costs, do your price comparison research anyway – it’s always worth asking if there’s any chance of a price match on items you find cheaper elsewhere. If you are happy shopping around, don’t forget to keep an eye on postage costs if you’re having things delivered from lots of different retailers.
Speaking of which…
8. Explore alternative postage rates in COVID lockdown
The postal system always gets put under massive strain around this time of year, and 2020 promises to be even busier than most. With huge swathes of people facing high-tier restrictions on face-to-face meetings through most of December, sending parcels by mail is the only real option for many.
Alas, this can quickly become a costly affair when dealing with larger or heavier boxes. If you’re trying to send something that will cost an arm and a leg at your local Post Office, don’t forget that there are plenty of alternative couriers available who may do it for significantly less. Again, it’s a case of doing your research and shopping around…just don’t forget to check out the reviews and ratings from other customers before you decide.
9. Regift and support charities
There’s always a bit of a taboo around regifting, but in many ways it’s nonsense – you should absolutely feel good about passing on an unwanted present to somebody else who’ll like it more than you! If a particular item doesn’t really work for anyone you know, donate it to a charity shop and enjoy knowing that someone somewhere will end up benefiting from it.
Speaking of charity, don’t forget that you can make small donations on behalf of people in lieu of exchanging unnecessary physical gifts. Ask people which organisation they’d most like you to support, rather than choosing a cause for them, and it will feel a much more considered and personal gesture.
10. Swoop on post-Christmas offers for next year
This final tip is obviously a heads up for 2021, rather than a direct route to making savings right now – but it’s always worth bearing in mind. Moreover, once it becomes part of your annual routine, you’ll be making savings far in advance of the financially straining Christmas season.
If you’ve still got any spare cash lying around as that New Year hangover fades, be sure to scour your local shops and online retailers for unsold festive stock in the early part of January. Canny customers can snag some incredible deals on very early Christmas shopping for cards, decorations, gifts, and even non-perishable foods to add to next year’s haul.
Finally, to return us to the top of this tips list, don’t forget to keep a running tally of what you’ve already picked up – accidentally buying duplicates of anything in 12 months’ time is a sure-fire way to undermine any savings you’ve made!