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OK, OK stop laughing! Yes, I’m talking about saving money over the busiest and possibly the most expensive time of the year. But I do believe it’s possible to save some pennies when it comes to Christmas. It’s a great time of the year for many, including myself who’ll be using this time to relax, spend time with family and friends and I hope to god I’ve done my tax return by then. I worked with Experian UK a few months back where I talked about the importance of job satisfaction.
So how can you save money during this month so that it leaves you with less debt for the new year? I have always been a money worrier and I love it but I also hate it at the same time. Over the years, I’ve let my worrying, stop me from spending money on things that I could have really enjoyed. However, it has also stopped me from splurging my money on things I don’t need. Even now, when I’m earning more money than I ever did, I’m still saving as much of it as possible. Here are my tips to help you save.
Set A Budget
I think we can all agree that when our monthly wages come in, we convince ourselves that we deserve to spend, spend and spend some more. Treating ourselves every now and then is important but before doing any of that, you should have a budget laid out to keep track of all your outgoings. Covering the basics such as rent/mortgage, bills and other necessities like your food and household shopping should all come first. You can then look at what you have left and set yourself a limit on what you can spend. Even if you can put a small fraction of your wages aside, it helps.
Don’t Use Your Credit Card Too Much
It may be really tempting to just load it all on the credit cards but this will only end up with you spending and owing more money going into the new year. If you have to put some of it on the credit card, try using one that has an interest free period. It can be easy to lose track of where you owe money and it can also affect your credit score if you forget about it.
When I was trying to build my credit score up for buying a property, I used Experian because it gave you a monthly update each month so I could keep an eye on how much it was improving. I would highly recommend checking your free Experian Credit Score to ensure yours stays healthy.
Don’t Overbuy On Gifts Or Food
Christmas has become a very commercial time of the year so you’d normally find yourself spending a fortune on food and gifts that are way over your initial estimate. Don’t overbuy on gifts or food because this is where your bank balance will suffer the most.
Try and buy family pack sizes of food, find cheaper alternatives (they usually taste just as good) and set a limit on gift giving or opt to do a secret Santa with the family instead of everyone buying multiple gifts. You can always suggest a spending limit on gifts as well.
Take Advantage Of Your Loyalty Points
Got points on Tesco or Boots? Now’s your time to redeem them. Take full advantage of using up your loyalty points in-store and online to buy your Christmas presents, food and other bits. It’s effectively free money, so you can save the cash you were going to spend in the first place.
A tip for the new year would be to build up your points and not to spend them until the festive period. With lots of gift sets and Christmas themed presents available, it’s the perfect way to get your shopping done on the cheap.
Christmas should be a time spent with the family, so try and focus on this, rather than spending too much money over what is just another day in the year. What are you doing to save money this Christmas? Let me know in the comments below.
*Disclaimer – This is a collaborative post with Experian UK. All words are my own.