At the time of writing this blog post, there are less than 7 weeks till Christmas, where has 2017 gone?  To help you go gently on your finances over the festive season, I wanted to share a few Christmas money-saving tips with you.  But first, here are two statistics that you might find shocking:

  1. Research published by Triodos Bank revealed that adults in the UK receive £2.6billion worth of unwanted gifts at Christmas.
  2. According to Unilver, 2 million Christmas dinners were wasted across the United Kingdom in 2016. This is the equivalent of:
    • 263,000 turkeys; plus
    • 5 million mince pies; plus
    • 40,000 slices of Christmas pudding; plus
    • 2 million Brussels sprouts; plus
    • 9 million carrots; plus
    • 3 million roast potatoes.

What do these statistics tell us?  Well, in short, they tell us that we spend too much on food and gifts at Christmas time.  There are very few people, if any, who willingly set out to waste money and yet, these statistics clearly show that that is exactly what we do.  So what can we do to avoid falling into this trap?  Here are a few ways:

  1. Set yourself a Christmas budget. One that covers how much you can realistically afford to spend on gifts, groceries and gallivanting (entertainment).  Start by asking yourself, “What can I afford to spend?” and plan a great Christmas around that.
  2. Don’t borrow for Christmas, but if it’s unavoidable, find yourself a 0% credit card deal on new purchases. Just make sure you pay it off in full before the interest free period ends.
  3. Agree to end obligatory giving. How many of us give out of obligation?  This is not true generosity.  It is much better to have a frank discussion with friends and family alike and agree to put an end to this practice.  I am not saying to stop giving entirely as generosity is something I wholeheartedly applause and even subscribe to, but what I am saying is to give where it really counts.
  4. Set up a Secret Santa. That way, everyone taking part only buys one gift and also receives one gift.  You can even agree a spend cap with each other.
  5. Remember that kids don’t measure gifts the same way adults do. What I mean by this is that, more often than not, it’s not the expensive gifts that capture a child’s heart, but the creative, entertaining and thoughtful ones.  No matter what I buy my kids for Christmas, the one thing they are after year after year, is the small carton of glow-sticks that Santa brings them and makes them share.  It works a treat every time.
  6. Shop at online outlet stores to grab yourself a bargain. Lots of high street shops and high end shops now have online outlet stores.  See for a free guide of some of the better ones.
  7. Cut your grocery bill by:
    • Making use of any items you already have in your pantry or your freezer. You’d be surprised how much you can save by doing this.  Don’t believe me?  Just add up the value of unused food items sitting in your pantry and freezer today.
    • Sticking to a meal plan. If you do, you won’t buy what you won’t need.
    • Don’t fall for the ‘buy 1 get 1 half price’ specials. Just buy what you know you’re going to use.
    • Shop a brand level down. Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, had a blind taste-test party for nurses at a hospital a couple of years ago with champagne, turkeys, etc. 62% of the time, the participants preferred the lower-brand goods or couldn’t tell the difference.

For more ways to cut the cost of Christmas, click here

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