Many of us feel the financial pinch over Christmas, and with under 100 days to go, you might be starting to worry about the cost of Christmas. Here are 7 things that you can do right now, or in the run up to Christmas, that will make it easier on your bank balance.
1 – Set a budget
Setting a budget will help you to ensure that you have enough money for Christmas. You can do this in two ways – either decide how much you can afford and set that as your Christmas budget, or decide how much you want to spend on each aspect of Christmas, including gifts and food. Once you have set a realistic budget, you can use this as your base for money to save or earn before the festive season.
2 – Start cutting back
There are many cut backs you can make now to help you save money to put towards Christmas.
- Take your own work to lunch – a meal deal from a supermarket costs around £3-£4, so if you were to cut these out completely then you could save almost £300.
- Meal plan to make use of food that you already have in your cupboards and freezer.
- Do a toiletry stock take and try to use up what you currently have before purchasing new.
- Think carefully about each purchase you intend to make – is it something that can go on a Christmas wishlist for a loved one to buy for you?
3 – Earn extra cash
There is still more than plenty of time to earn extra cash for Christmas, whether you need an extra £100 or an extra £3,000! There are so many things you can do to earn cash or gift cards in time for Christmas. These are my favourites:
- Matched betting – if you are looking to make some serious cash (I'm talking thousands) in the run up to Christmas then matched betting is for you. It is completely risk free AND tax free. I earned £12,000 in 12 months of matched betting.
- WhatUsersDo – earn cash for every website you test, paid monthly via Paypal.
- Prolific Academic – a survey website with a twist – you don't get screened out of surveys! Payout is at £5 via Paypal (try to save it until £20 to save on Paypal fees)
- MintVine – a survey website that pays out once you've reached $10 (which can be converted into £s in Paypal)
- Get cashback on your Christmas shopping with Quidco and Top Cashback.
- Mystery shopping – not only do you get paid to shop, but your purchase is reimbursed to a certain amount – this means you can buy Christmas presents whilst mystery shopping!
- Have a clear out of your books, DVDs, CDs and games and sell them easily to Ziffit or Music Magpie.
4 – Write your cards early
Do you dread writing your Christmas cards every year? Getting them done early means that you can send them via Second Class mail in the UK or economy mail worldwide and save money. Alternatively, if you have them written then you can hand them out throughout November and December when you see a friend or a loved one.
5 – Buy gift vouchers with a discount
Buy people's unwanted gift vouchers for less than face value.
6 – Look for deals & freebies regularly
The closer we get to Christmas, the more stores seem to charge. There are some fantastic deals to be had in October and November, especially with the recent popularity of Black Friday sales alongside Cyber Monday. Set up price alerts for items that you know you will be purchasing and make a point to check the prices every couple of weeks or do – then you'll know when you're getting a deal.
Don't forget that you can get some amazing freebies just by using your mobile phone. Apps such as Checkout Smart, Shopitize, Shopmium and ClickSnap all have great freebies on them. You purchase an item from a specific retailer and then upload your receipt to get your money back. This is a great way to get some bits for Christmas!
7 – Spread out your shopping
Adding one or two Christmas essentials into your weekly grocery shops will help you to spread the cost of Christmas. Be careful to check the best before dates though, as I've been caught out with specialist Christmas food that expires before the day itself.
Do you have any other tips for helping to make Christmas easier on your bank balance? I'd love to hear them!