Top Tips to Save Money Before Christmas

It’s no secret that the festive season can take a toll on our finances…
Let’s face it, no matter how many times we try and tell ourselves that this year will be different, after the fun of Christmas is over, many of us will be left facing the same hefty bill in the New Year.
Saving effectively in the run-up will help soften the blow in January. To find out how, we spoke to the Money Advice Service for their top tips to save money this Christmas:
Work out your Christmas budget
The average Christmas spend per household is around £500, which includes food, presents, travel and decorations, among other expenses.
To start your budget, make a list of the friends and family members you’ll be buying presents for and allocate an amount for each person. If you’re hosting Christmas dinner, consider how many people will be coming and how much you’ll need to spend on food and drink.
From there, you should be able to work out how much money you would need to put away each month. For example, saving £50 a month from the start of the year will get you £600 to spend at Christmas.
Use the Money Advice Service’s Christmas money planner to help create your own budget and see how much you can save in time for Christmas Day.
Shop around
When it comes to Christmas, it always pays to shop around.
Check on the high street and online to save on presents and groceries. Websites like Money Saving Expert's MegaShopBot and will let you compare prices for the same item from different online retailers.
Buying online will sometimes be the cheapest option but you may not be able to try before you buy. In most cases you have the right to cancel until seven working days after you receive your goods. If you are buying online, think about postage and packaging as these costs can stack up.
It could be cheaper to go to a different store if you find you’re spending a lot on your groceries. It’s also smart to avoid smaller supermarket convenience stores as these can be more expensive.
Book train tickets in advance
Travelling home for Christmas?
If your loved ones are scattered round the country, take a look at booking your tickets now and you could score some cheaper deals.
The key to bagging yourself a bargain is to start looking about 12 weeks before Christmas. This is when advance tickets are typically made available by train operators, although some cheap advice tickets might still be available to day before you travel.
Start saving early
It’s difficult to pay for Christmas out of December’s pay packet alone, so it makes sense to save up as much as you can beforehand.
The earlier you start saving, the less you need to put aside each month. Even a small amount over a few months can make a big difference.
Commit to saving a regular sum each month or week rather than relying on whatever you have left over, which may be nothing. And always try to be realistic – it’s better to commit to a manageable amount than to aim too high and give up.
Not sure how much you can afford to save? Start small – put your spare £1 or £2 coins into a jar every few days. If that works, try setting aside a bit more on a regular basis.

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