You don't have to overspend to make Christmas special.
You may not be feeling festive yet, but when it comes to big events like Christmas, it pays to plan ahead. Knowing your Christmas budget and how you want to spend it will help you stay in control, avoid panic buying and start 2020 with your finances in good shape.
Every family has a way to celebrate that feels just right - whether it’s transforming your living room into Santa’s grotto, treating guests to a big fat dinner or taking your kids to the ice rink. Unless you’re Santa, you can’t make this festive magic happen without a bit of cash! But you don’t have to overspend to make Christmas special.
Our five hacks will help you get more from your budget, celebrate in style, and keep control of your finances too.
Hack 1: Get gift deals online
Buy the same gift for a lower price? Yes please!
Online discount codes can help you bag a bargain. So once you’ve decided on the gifts your family and friends will love, search for codes that could save you money.
Voucher Codes is an easily searchable site, and they guarantee that all codes listed will work. (Some codes have T&Cs, so check these to make sure the item you’re trying to buy is eligible.)
Hack 2: Buy nearly new
Often people will sell things they’ve bought and never used - at a lower price than they paid. This gives you the chance to buy a special gift that looks new but costs less than on the high street.
Have a search around on websites like eBay, Amazon, Gumtree, Preloved and Facebook Marketplace or even free sites like Bristol Freegle. When you read descriptions, keep your eyes peeled for words like ‘brand new’, ‘like new’, ‘unused’ and ‘excellent condition’.
Be careful though! Unfortunately some sellers may be out to trick you. It’s best to meet face-to-face if you’re buying from an individual and make sure you inspect the item thoroughly before you hand over any money.
It’s a good idea to use Paypal to buy from eBay and Preloved, because then you’ll be covered by their Buyer Protection Scheme. If your item doesn’t arrive or isn’t as described, you can make a claim for your money back.
Hack 3: Use travel search tools
One of the big joys of Christmas is catching up with old friends or family you haven’t seen in ages. Sometimes this means hopping on a coach or train. With both options, it’s usually cheaper to book in advance.
Trains can be really pricey, but with Trainpal you can make big savings (56% is the average saving, according to the Trainpal website.)
Trainpal works by checking whether you can split up your journey into cheaper tickets between stations along your route, allowing you to make the same journey for less. (When you travel, you just have to make sure you follow any special conditions of your tickets, e.g. permitted times or routes. Also, always check that your train actually stops at the station where one ticket ends and another one begins.)
Megabus and National Express are well known for cheap coach travel, but aside from these, trying searching on Snap.
Hack 4: Compare the supermarkets
Traditional turkey dinners don’t come cheap. But don’t fret, there’s an easy way to save money on your favourite ingredients.
mySupermarket promises to save you an average of 30% on your supermarket shop. Pop the things you need in their online trolley, and they’ll work out which supermarket is cheapest to buy from.
mySupermarket also lets you know when you can save money by choosing a product that’s cheaper by weight.
Hack 5: Club together
You’ve thought of the perfect gift for someone special, but it’s a bit out of your price range. What do you do?
There’s an easy way to increase your budget in an instant. You just need one or two family members or friends to get on board with your gift idea, so you can split the cost between you.
Giving a joint present means you can buy something a bit more expensive. As a bonus, all the people you ask to chip in can tick an extra pressie off their list without having to make any decisions!
Plus sharing your secret gift plan with others makes Christmas more fun.
Need a loan for Christmas?
With our Christmas loan, you can borrow what you need to celebrate Christmas your way, and pay it back in affordable chunks.
We’re much cheaper than payday lenders, giving you a better chance of staying in control of your finances in the new year. Find out more.