It still may seem irrationally early to be discussing Christmas for some, with the likes of Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night, Diwali and many more festivities besides still to go, but for many facing tightened purse strings, you may be keen to start saving where you can.

Check out these handy tips for saving money over the festive season.

Only plan for what you can afford
Christmas is one day, and while it feels like you need the most sought-after toys, the most extravagant turkey or the most Instagram friendly Christmas decs, consider is it worth a year of financial recovery to afford the single day?

Enjoy your time with loved ones but work to a sensible budget that is affordable for YOU.

Be thoughtful with how thoughtful you’re being.

Gifting for your nearest and dearest is one thing, but if you’re gifting for work colleagues, neighbours and even your doctor’s friend’s cat, consider reducing your gifting list. Everyone is experiencing rises in living costs, so nobody is going to be offended and remember gift-giving creates an obligation on recipients to give back, whether they can afford it or not.

Get the discounts

Jumping on discounts when you see them is a clever way to save money. Waiting it out until it’s cheaper may not work out and you may end up paying more elsewhere or when retailers up the prices again closer to Christmas.

Argos, amazon & Tesco are among many retailers who offer discount days and events in the lead up to Christmas so keep your eyes peeled for those.

Magic doesn’t have to cost a lot

If you’ve got children, no doubt you’ve looked at the prices of grottos, winter wonderlands and pajama-clad steam train trips and been met with eye-watering costs, especially if you want to take the kids with you!

But creating magic doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Consider sprinkling oats in the garden for reindeer, leaving a solitary bell on the doorstep; dropped from Santa’s sleigh, or perhaps leave something heavy on the sofa overnight to create an impression of Santa’s big bottom!

Children’s imaginations are wild, so igniting that spark can be cheap and cheerful.

If you don’t LOVE turkey, don’t buy it.

Blind taste tests time and time again reveal that people can’t often tell the difference between luxury and basic packaged items, especially when it comes to turkey or your fizz of choice for the big day.

If you’re not a huge fan of turkey (many aren’t!) consider some cheaper alternatives, even a couple of chickens could be a good option if those you’re feeding enjoy it.

Book your travel sooner rather than later

If you’re travelling by train to be with loved ones for Christmas, ensure you book your tickets as soon as you can to secure good deals.

Rail operators generally launch tickets 10-12 weeks before the date of travel and cheap tickets vanish quickly. While the cheapest advance fares will likely have already gone, big savings are still possible. Don’t assume you’ve missed the boat (or rather, train). Always check if cheap advance tickets are still available before travelling.

Compare prices online

Utilising an online search function such as Google Shopping allows you to search for a product and instantly see how much it is selling for across a variety of retailers. Save yourself £££s by ensuring you get the best available deals while you shop.

Typically, online is cheaper than high street retailers, but the online searches can give an indication of stock levels too, so if you’re really keen to get out Christmas Shopping, create a shopping action plan based on your google Shopping price comparisons: efficient and saves you money- what’s not to love?

Utilise accrued loyalty card points where available

Many retailers now have loyalty cards that allow you to accrue points on your purchases, it could be worth stashing these throughout the year and reclaiming them on gifts and other expenses across the festive period.

Top ones to look out for are Nectar points, Tesco Clubcard and Boots loyalty card- great for using against gifts and food where deals allow.

More magic-making freebies

Creating Santa filled fun is so easy, and cheap if you know where to look. In the lead up check out the Portable Northpole app, to create a fun video that you can personalise to your child’s details and hear from Santa and his elves.

On Christmas eve, track Santa to see where he is in the world as he delivers presents.

Prepare for next Christmas

Put aside money next year where you can, shop in the Boxing Day & January sales ready for the next festive season, and even look to pay off your debts from this year quickly and avoid borrowing next year by organizing small savings such as not getting that barista prepped coffee on the way to the office, or by not adding a mars bar to your lunch break visit to the corner shop. Instead squirrel away those little savings and they’ll help you afford next year a lot more comfortably.

Enjoying Christmas and the festive season doesn’t have to accrue significant costs, and more often than not memories will be made by spending time with loved ones rather than spending a lot on that one stand-alone day.

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