There’s no doubt that Christmas is one of the most expensive times of the year, what with all the socialising, drinking, eating out and family reunions – but it doesn’t have to break the bank to make it memorable. Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect to be special, and spending a lot of money on just one day’s festivities can be more stress than it’s worth. To take a bit of pressure off the festivities, here’s some of the easiest hacks and swaps to save money this Christmas.
Stock up on frozen vs fresh
Sure, it’s nice to feel fancy and have a fridge full of delicious foodie bits ready for the big day, but wasting food and money isn’t good for anybody. Avoid having food go off before Christmas Day by stocking up on frozen veggies, snacks, desserts – whatever. Not only will you save up to a third on your shop, but you’ll also avoid being disappointed when you find your green veggies you’d specially purchased for Christmas dinner have gone a little bit smelly in the run up. It’s not secret that you get way more for your money when purchasing frozen goods, and they’re just as delicious with the right seasoning and cooking method. Extra bonus – it leaves more room in the fridge for booze!
Take a trip to Aldi and Lidl
It’s pretty common knowledge now that Aldi and Waitrose use the exact same supplier for the majority of their food (what a scandal that was…), so making the most of the lower price point is a win-win situation. Not only do they have some seriously tasty grub on offer, but they also have a ton of discounts available all-year round on their food including their Super 6 offer which gives shoppers a range of fruit and veg at prices as long as 49p! As well as this, customers can pick up bottles of prosecco for only £3.99 right now.
Even better, make a list of exactly what you need for your food shop to avoid falling victim to all the delicious, seasonal treats that’ll be flaunted in your face down every aisle you turn.
Iceland have an incredible offer this year, offering up at 150-piece party food spread for just £15 and helping you save a ton of money this Christmas!
Opt for Secret Santa to avoid unwanted gifts
Secret Santa doesn’t have to be limited to the workplace. In fact, it’s a great way to avoid spending unnecessary amounts of money on unwanted gifts for the sake of gift-giving. The average UK household reportedly spends approximately £473.83 on Christmas presents every year – so setting a budget and implementing a Secret Santa rule for the family can be a great way to shave that figure by a whopping three-quarters! Plus, this way, you can make sure you receive something that you really, really want instead of another pair of ugly pyjamas that you have to force a fake smile at when you open them. Sorry, Grandma.
Utilise Nectar Cards and Clubcard Points
While it might be too late this year, taking advantage of loyalty cards such as Nectar Cards, Clubcards and Boots cards is a great way to get something back from the places you shop at all the time – especially when it’s a necessity. Collecting points on your weekly shop can rack up a huge amount of points in one year, helping you save £50 to £100 (or even more depending on how much you spend on each shop) come Christmas time. Points are redeemable on anything in the store too, so they’re not just handy for the big, festive food shop – big supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco have a huge selection of toys, clothes and homeware, so you can even put them towards doing up the tree or buying the kid’s presents.
Watch out for Black Friday sale scams
It’s easy to fall into the trap of Black Friday and Cyber Weekend, and sometimes there can be some really valuable offers to take advantage of – but other times it’s just a case of smoke and mirrors tricking you into thinking you’re making a good purchasing decision.
Plan ahead and take note of what it is you’re looking to buy ahead of the sales starting and be sure to check the price a month before Black Friday starts. Many well-known retailers are guilty of bumping up their prices in the weeks before, only to discount it to the original price that it was in October, making shoppers think they’ve made a huge saving on the day. As well as this, other retailers (particularly in Fashion) will promote ‘up to 80% off everything’ offers, with discounts varying across the site. Don’t be fooled by the red sale price however, as most items will only have a 10-20% markdown – meaning shoppers are more likely to get a higher discount at any other time a year.
The best sales for value are the end-of-summer, Boxing Day and New Year sales, as stores will need to start making way for new stock at these points of the year.
Save money on eating out
If you must eat out during December, make sure you seek out offers to save a bit of cash while you do. Most restaurants will have Monday-Thursday offers to take advantage of, such as 50% off food or a saving on your drinks and they’ll post about it on their social media channels and websites too. They’re easier to seek out if you know where you’re going and you plan ahead, since most of them require you to book a table to take advantage.
Check out OpenTable for any offers in your area before heading out, and invest in a Tastecard which includes tons of national restaurants and local offers, with 2 for 1 meals or 50% off your bill to take advantage of. The best part? It’ll only put you out of pocket £1 for 60 days too to give it a try (helping you save money this Christmas!), so it’s worth it if you have an unavoidable catch-up to attend to.