The holidays can be an expensive time of year (unless of course, you do what they plan to do in that cult Christmas movie Christmas With The Kranks, and jet off on one of many bargain Christmas holidays to steer clear of all the other costs of Christmas!). However, if Christmas is going to be at home with the family, there are changes that you can make right now in order to save some serious money before the big day.
Make a budget for Christmas
We often think about budgeting for Christmas presents, but what about Christmas food and drinks? Or decorations? By budgeting for all of these Christmas related expenses we are able to ensure that we have enough money available. If you don't then you can either look to reduce your Christmas spending, or make extra money in time for Christmas.
Meal planning is my top tip for anyone who is looking to save some serious money – fast. You can still have flexibility with meal planning – often I'll pick a week's worth of evening meals, but only decide that morning what we'll have for dinner. Meal planning helps me to stick to a shopping list and reduce waste, which saves us so much money.
To start with, I'll go through the kitchen to see what we already have, paying particular attention to anything that needs to be used up soon. I then try to plan a week's worth of meals using what we have already, making a shopping list for the items we need to buy. You won't believe what you actually have “in stock” if you start looking!
Use a deals sharing website
The internet is great for a number of things, and sharing deals is possibly one of my favourites! I have been working with the newest deal sharing website, Latest Deals, to bring you lots of awesome deals and competitions.
Cut down your takeaways
The nights are getting longer, and when it is dark so early, often still by the afternoon, takeaways are an attractive option! This is an area where our spending increases in autumn and winter, and if you find yourself in the same position then there are still ways you can save money. We make sure to always have something quick and easy in the house, for those nights we are tempted to get a takeaway – a frozen pizza often does it! Honestly my favourite pizza ever is £1.50 at Iceland, and I love it more than Dominos. If you are getting a take away then look for discount codes, or even sharing your takeaway to cut down costs.
Save your change
Saving your loose change is a great way to save some money before Christmas. Put aside whatever you can – we put anything under £1 into a change jar, and some people save every single £2 coin they get. It soon adds up and you'll be amazed at what you've managed to save.
Chances are that you will be making a lot of online purchases throughout the holiday season, so you should be getting rewarded for your purchases. I have made thousands of pounds over the years by using cashback websites. I can highly recommend Quidco and Top Cashback.
Get freebies with phone apps
You would not believe the amount of freebies we have received from smart phone apps! I'm talking cereal bars, fruit bars, roast potatoes, Christmas selection boxes, fish fillets, bread and yogurt. These freebies are saving us a ton of money before Christmas! We freeze what we can, and make sure to use up any perishables. Anything we don't like gets donated to a food bank.
Stick to your budget
If you have gone to the effort of making a budget, and perhaps even earning extra money for Christmas, don't go crazy and overspend. You know what you can afford, and your spending should reflect that. Don't get tempted to keep up with the Joneses.
Check your subscriptions
When was the last time you went through your bank statement to see where your money is going? You might have some subscriptions that you aren't actually using – it could be a bank account fee, Netflix or even the gym! Go through and be honest with yourself, and decide what you can easily cancel. Remember that you can always restart a subscription at a later date. During our house move we cancelled our Netflix and Hayu subscriptions because we didn't have any internet, and we are planning on renewing these in the new year.
If you don't want to cancel then try this way to haggle with Sky without even picking up a phone.