If you struggle to save (and want to avoid debt), use supermarket Christmas Saving Clubs to spread the cost – many also pay a bonus at Christmas time.
We all know that Christmas happens on the same day each year, but it can still really put a dent in your budget if you haven’t prepared.
The thing is, we all seem to be big spenders too.
No matter where you look, different companies are telling us how much we are spending on gifts, gatherings, a new outfit, food and drink, and even a gift for the pet!
- RetailMeNot have said we’ll be spending an average of £473.83
- Comparethemarket suggest we’ll be spending £640
- Nationwide thinks it’s closer to £645
- American Express believe the costs to be much higher at £1,484
These vast sums – for just a few days in December – aren’t all paid in cash either.
22% of people are likely to pay for Christmas on credit cards. Of those who used credit cards the year before, 25% of people are still paying the debt off, meaning Christmas is becoming even more expensive!
Christmas Saving Clubs
One option to avoid putting Christmas on the credit card is to start saving a bit of money each month starting now. Then, come December, you won’t feel the pressure to borrow money you can’t afford.
Quick jump to the different saving clubs
Asda | Tesco | Co-op | Iceland | Wilko | The Post Office | Morrions | Heron | Farm Foods | Other options
Christmas Saving Clubs will see your money saved, with you having no access to it. This will mean you can’t dip into it if you find your self short one month.
You will also likely earn money back on what you save – which can come in higher than saving in a normal bank savings account.
Most saving clubs are with supermarkets, and are locked into that one shop – so you will only be able to spend the money with them. This may not be a problem if you plan to do your food shop with that specific retailer.
Be aware, your money does not have the same protection as a high street bank (so no FSCS deposit protection). Most of the supermarkets are real big players so it’s unlikely to be a problem. Definitely still something to keep in mind though.
Using the Asda Christmas Savings Card, you can earn a bit extra on top of the money you put in.
You can save up to £144 on each card and earn up to £6 bonus on top – that’s a bonus savings rate of 4.17%.
You’re not limited to one card either – so you can save on as many cards as you want.
You need to pick a card from store and register it online. By registering online you can protect your balance if you lose it. Money can be added to the card at any Asda in store checkout (perhaps round up your bill after a weekly shop) or at a customer service desk.
You don’t have to use the card just to buy food and can spend the money on clothes and entertainment too.
There are different saving limits:
- Saving between £49 and £96 means a bonus of £1 – 2% bonus
- Collecting bewteen £97 and £143 means a bonus of £3 – 3% bonus
- Saving of £144 means a bonus of £6 – 4.17% bonus
The bonus points are added to your card automatically in November each year so you’ll need to have any money added by this time.
So everyone knows that you get your Clubcard points through the post a few times a year. The idea behind Tesco Christmas Savers is that you opt not to get your points, but instead wait to collect them all in November.
As an added bonus, you will also get a reward bonus if you top up the total too – a massive 6% return! You can add money at the checkout or at a customer service desk.
- £25 – £49.50 top up = £1.50 bonus – 6% bonus!
- £50 – £99.50 top up = £3 bonus – 6% bonus!
- £100 – £199.50 top up = £6 bonus – 6% bonus!
- £200 – £360 top up = £12 bonus – 6% bonus!
The last chance to “top up” in October, ahead of the paper vouchers (for both your normal Clubcard vouchers and your bonus vouchers) being sent out in November.
To start the Tesco Christmas Saver, log into your Clubcard Account and opt in via “Options & Benefits”.
One thing to remember is that Clubcard vouchers can be worth 4x their face value if you use Clubcard Partners.
Co-op run a savings stamp scheme. You can collect them at £1 each through the year (and can also spend them at any time of the year as well).
However, if you collect £48 of stamps in one book in December you will be given £2 extra as a bonus (4.1% extra).
You need to ask for a savings stamp book from a member of staff when you’re in store. You’re also able to collect in as many stamp books as you want.
You’ve got the option of getting a Bonus Card if you’re an Iceland shopper.
There are a good few perks to having a card:
- First up, when you swipe your card at least once a month in store, you’ll be entered into a draw to win the cost of one of your shops.
- You also get given exclusive money off coupons on your receipt through the year.
- You can get free delivery when you spend £20 (they lowered it from £35) for Iceland Bonus Card holders .
- And, you can save directly onto your Bonus Card by asking the cashier to add money to your card.
After you’ve saved £25 onto your card, you’ll get a £1 reward bonus (4% bonus) – why wouldn’t you get one?! It’s not just a Christmas saving either. You will get the £1 bonus within 48 hours of adding £25 at any time of the year.
You can top up and spend the money both online and in store.
The Wilko Saver card is for in store use only. If you’re going to shop there anyway, then it’s an obvious win for money saving as you’ll get up to 6% in bonuses back.
The bonuses you’ll get are:
- An initial £24 gets you a bonus of £1
- When you get to £49 you get another bonus of £1
- When you top up to £74 you get another reward of £1
- And when you reach £99 you get an extra £3
You are able to hold a maximum amount of £102 on the Wilko Saver Card at one time, but there’s nothing stopping you getting another card.
This is also not a Christmas specific saving scheme so you can take advantage of the reward bonuses throughout the year. However, it’s worth remembering that the money on the Saver card is only valid for 12 months so use it or lose it! You can also only get one and use it in store – check out if there’s a store near you.
The Post Office
Post Office Budget Card Plus is a prepaid card that acts as a saving card.
You can top up from a minimum of £2 and a maximum of £250 at a time each year, but are able to save a total of £3,000 over the course of 12 months. While you don’t get any reward bonuses, but it’s a great way to start saving.
The Budget Plus Card can be used at over 22,000 high street stores and restaurants across the country and can also use it at selected online shops (including Amazon) between 1 November and 31 January each year (to either get some Christmas goodies, or perhaps something in the January sale).
For the rest of the year, you can use it to pay for selected Post Office services like your car tax, telephone bill or One4all Gift Cards.
To get a card you need to complete an application form on the Post Office site and hand it it over the counter of a branch, with two forms of ID and the minimum of £2 to open the savings card. They will give you the card straight away.
You are able to check your balance either over the phone or using their online balance checker. It’s not like a “real” debit card so you can never go overdrawn and you won’t get charged any fees, however there is a chanrge of £5 if you lose the card.
Morrisons offer shoppers Savers Stamp which you can collect and spend in store. Each stamp is worth £1 and you add it to your savings card.
As for reward bonuses:
- £49 worth of stamps gives a £1 bonus – 2% bonus
- £98 worth of stamps gives you a £2 bonus – 2% bonus
The maximum you can save on each card is £100 (but you can have more than one card).
With Heron you can save more with their Saver Card. You can collect the stamps at £1 at a time and spend them at any point in the year.
As a bonus:
- £29 in stamps get you £1 in bonus – 3.4% reward
While it’s not strictly a Christmas saving club, the Farmfoods savings card can be used to save here and there.
You just need to add a minimum of £1 and you’ve started saving. You are able to spend it whenever you want, and there are unfortunately no bonuses on this one.
Your local butcher
Other ways to save for Christmas
If you don’t want to try Christmas Saving Clubs, then there are other options to save a bit of cash ahead of December.
Perhaps you could try savings using the penny saving challenge and save a penny at a time. You can save over £650 in a year!
Skim your bank account
Each day, log into your bank account and transfer money over into your savings account that takes it over a whole £10.
For example, if you have £55.10 in your bank, transfer £5.10 over leaving your account to the nearest £10. You’ll be surprised how quickly the money adds up.
Use loyalty points
While millions of us around the country have a loyalty card, there are a staggering £6 billion points that are just sitting there unspent!!
You could use some of these points ahead of Christmas to buy presents or even all your food.
For tips to make sure you spend loyalty points wisely check out the guides on Loyalty Card Points.
Buy in the sales
Starting shopping early is a key way to spread the costs of Christmas. Obviously, the January sales will see lots of Christmas stock come down in price, but then you’ve got the big summer sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Just remember what you’ve been buying (and remember where you’ve stashed them) so you don’t duplicate presents or forget to give them at all!
Set up a standing order
On each payday, get a standing order set up to transfer money over to another account. There are many easy access savings accounts about or look to get saving with a credit union, where you may see a higher interest rate.
You could even try saving with a peer to peer lender to see better returns that standard savings accounts.
Ricky Willis is the original Skint Dad. A money-making enthusiast, father, and husband to Naomi. He is always looking for unique ways to earn a little extra.