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10 ways to cut Christmas costs without being a Scrooge

Posted in: Finance Last updated: 13 Nov 2014

Many of us are left battling a nasty financial hangover in the New Year after splashing out over Christmas. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Rather than accepting that your financial headache is a consequence of the festive season, why not use clever ways to cut down on costs? You can still have a perfect Christmas without cutting corners or being labelled a Scrooge. Here’s a sackful of penny-pinching tips to get you started.

1. Make the most of discount vouchers

Now is an ideal time to scour the web for discount vouchers. There are plenty of these money-saving gems out there, you just need to spend a little time tracking them down as not all high street retailers will shout about them. VoucherCodes.co.uk is the main place to go as it monitors hundreds of discounts across a variety of retailers including Argos, Boots, M&S and Debenhams. In most cases you can get around 5-10% off, so it’s worth double checking the site before hitting the purchase button.

2. Shop alone

If there’s one tip we can give you it’s to shop alone. Bringing excitable kids or grandkids along with you may put you in jeopardy. You run the risk of them ‘popping’ things in the trolley when your back is turned, and their pester power may grind you down until you give into their expensive toy demands.

3. Party donations

If you’ve organised a few get-togethers this season, ask everyone to chip in by bringing a little something. Whether its desserts, drink or appetisers, asking your guests to donate items will help you to spread the cost and lighten the load. You’ll be amazed at how happy people are to help.

4. Halve the drinks bill

The cost of free-flowing alcohol over the festive period can easily mount up, draining your wallet dry. There is in fact a cost comparison website for wine deals. This dedicated wine search engine helps you to spot offers at supermarkets and wine sellers up and down the country.

5. Remember your loyalty points

Loyalty points are gold at this time of year. Fish out your reward cards and carry them in your purse at all times so that you can reduce your present costs by cashing in on the points you’ve already gained and bump up what’s leftover.

6. Be clever with your gift buying

Rather than having a last minute mad trolley shopping dash, spread out the costs by buying a present each week. If this approach doesn’t work for you, you could always set aside a dedicated present-buying day. Another way you can ease the burden is by creating a ‘Christmas fund’, where you put a fixed amount of money in the pot each week.

7. Make what you can

One great festive shortcut is to make gifts yourself. Making a few homemade presents means you’ll be able to reduce your expenditure as a result of doing something thoughtful. Whether it’s cake, chutney or candles, the options are endless – get searching on Pinterest for inspiration.

8. Haggle

Remember, shops are desperate to sell through the winter months. Obviously haggling doesn’t work everywhere, but it’s worth putting your negotiating skills to the test when you think it’s reasonable. Electrical suppliers are usually open to discount, so see if you can barter something off the price tag.

9. Save on food shopping

Write a shopping list and stick to it. Being caught up in the Christmas rush can often result in your budget-watching-regime going out of the window. It’s all about planning – compare prices using mySupermarket, keep your eyes peeled for Buy One Get One Free offers and stock up on items bit by bit.

10. Online outlet stores

Forget trekking miles out to an outlet village in the middle of nowhere, many high street shops now offer end-of-the-line bargains online instead. You’ll find these discount stores via eBay, on the store’s main site or through a completely separate website altogether. Places like M&S and Argos have online outlets so it’s worth bearing these in mind when you’re on the hunt for festive steals.

Hopefully these tips will you help to have a cheaper Christmas without forfeiting the fun. For even more Christmas ideas, read our ‘Great gifts for £10 or less’ blog post.

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial advisor about your own circumstances.