Here are tips and tricks to balance your spending ahead of December 25th and help everyone have an affordable and joyous Christmas.
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Instead of doing Christmas shopping at the last minute and panicking about how to pay for everything, you can maximise your budget if you plan from today.
Christmas is undoubtedly an expensive time of the year with extra food, drinks, family and work gatherings and gifts, but a lavish festive period can still be done in a budget-friendly way.
With a bit of forward-thinking, you can stretch out money from the next few pay days before Christmas, so there is less financial burden.
Here are 12 tips and tricks, which include how Tesco is helping the nation spend less this Christmas, that are easy to do to ensure you can balance your spending ahead of December 25th and help everyone have an affordable and joyous Christmas.
1. Set a budget
Many people say they like to get Halloween, fireworks night, or any other occasion out of the way before they start thinking about Christmas. However, planning in advance means you’re less likely to overspend as we creep closer to Christmas.
So, before you do anything, you need to determine what you can afford rather than what you’d like to spend.
Thinking about this a couple of pay days ahead can give you a bit of extra buffer as you can use clever ways to save and shop smart to give yourself a little more in your budget.
2. Get a list and check it twice
If making a list and checking it twice worked for Father Christmas, it can certainly help everyone else figure out how to not go over-budget.
Planning what you need to buy means you don’t miss anything and have a last-minute panic (generally meaning you have to pay more). You have less of an urge to impulse buy and you can tick things off as you shop, so you don’t accidentally buy items twice!
Ensure your list includes what you’d like to eat and drink over the festive period and any gifts you may need to make or purchase.
When you know what you’ll need, you can shop when things are on offer or even in the Black Friday sales to get the best prices.
3. Scrutinise your bills
With only a couple of pay days left, consider how you can make every penny work for you.
To make your pay checks stretch, take a ruthless look at what you pay out for in direct debits and standing orders to see if you can cancel, cut back or even take a payment holiday.
Some gym memberships allow for a payment holiday which can free up money in your budget. You may even see a few subscriptions you don’t really need anymore, which puts more money in your pocket.
When it comes to bills, see when contracts are due to expire and switch to a cheaper provider. From insurance to your mobile phone – you can make a saving.
And with Tesco Mobile, you know you can budget safe for the year without worrying about price hikes during your contract as the prices stay fixed. Clubcard members can also get a discount across home, pet and car insurance from Tesco Bank.
4. Get a discount on your Christmas food shop
With your shopping list in hand, you will likely already use tactics such as branding down (buying own-label foods, not branded) and picking products from the bottom of the shelf (as that’s where the cheaper products tend to be), but there is a guaranteed way to save more.
As a Tesco shopper, with Clubcard Prices, Clubcard members unlock exclusive deals, so plan to shop around the deals available each week. The prices will be reduced as soon as you get to the checkout.
You can even join Clubcard Plus and get 10% off two shops twice a month, with savings of up to £40 a month! There is a month’s free trial, and it costs £7.99 a month after, but you can make the money back with ongoing discounts on your food shop, a discount on F&F clothing and more.
5. Eat smart
Being smart with your food shop is not just about meal planning (which can save you a whole lot of money on your grocery bill).
To save even more money in your weekly budget, which you can use towards Christmas, try to think up new and creative ways to use your leftovers. Tesco Real Food has a wealth of recipes if you need inspiration. Not only will you reduce food waste, but you can essentially create a whole new meal for free.
You could even use a food-sharing app to get free food from other members of your local community. Simply check the app to see what you can get for free near you, then create a meal plan around what you get.
6. Consider gifting differently
While you may want to buy gifts for everyone in your family, times are financially tough, and it can be a real stretch to get something both meaningful, joyous and affordable.
Why not consider doing something different with presents? There are a few options.
If there are a lot of people to buy for, a secret Santa is a great option where a group of family, friends or colleagues plan a gift exchange. Instead of getting something for everyone, you get one gift, and everyone receives something. You can agree a budget and theme in advance to make it more fun.
The four Christmas gift rule is a great idea for kids who think they want everything. It encourages them to choose what they really want based on four categories: something they want, something they need, something they would like to wear and something to read.
Making a DIY gift is also an option and allows you to give something more personalised and thoughtful, whether it’s a foodie gift such as a treat hamper or homemade chocolates, infused oils or even bath salts.
7. Fuel up wisely
In the lead up to Christmas it’s important to think about how you’re spending every penny and ensuring it works hard for you. For example, instead of making multiple trips to buy food and then heading elsewhere to get fuel, stop by a Tesco Filling Station to fill up your tank after your shop, so you use less fuel.
By doing this you can also collect two Clubcard points for every £1 you spend, which you can save up to use towards your Christmas shopping.
Alternatively, you can use your Clubcard points on fuel at Tesco, meaning you have more cash in your pocket to spend on other things.
8. Use your loyalty points
It’s always worth joining free loyalty programmes, even if you don’t shop somewhere often as your points will add up, and you can use them to help you save money. Some programmes offer really great rewards, for example with Tesco Clubcard, instead of using your loyalty points at their face value, you can get up to 3x more value with hundreds of Clubcard Reward Partners.
Exchange your points for experiences and gifts the whole family would love. Why not turn £5 in Clubcard points into a £15 cinema voucher, and add a pack of popcorn to turn it into a hamper for a film buff. Or you could use your Clubcard points towards the cost of a family meal or gift a magazine subscription.
9. Cut back on unnecessary spending
You can add more money straight into your budget if you cut back on your day to day spending, and unnecessary Christmas costs.
It may not be that you need to cut back on your favourite things altogether but look at ways to reduce what you spend.
For example, instead of getting a weekly takeaway, save and cook a fake away from home – it can be a fun family activity too!
Don’t think you can face skipping your on-the-go caffeine kick? Most cafés offer a discount if you use your own reusable cup or join their loyalty programmes which tend to offer a free coffee over time.
It’s about saving with a compromise and then those cuts will all help your overall Christmas budget expand.
10. Start skimming and rounding up
Skimming is a great way to save smaller amounts of money without really noticing, and it can add up fast.
From now until Christmas, at the end of each day, round up and transfer the odd pounds and pennies from your bank account to a savings account. You can do the same with any loose change in your pocket or purse.
By mid-December, you would have saved a fair bit which you can use towards extra treats or perhaps a forgotten Christmas gift.
11. Shop for one thing a week
Instead of doing a large shop right before Christmas, which can be a shock to your bank balance, spread the cost of your festive favourites by picking up Christmas essentials each time you shop.
An extra item here or there shouldn’t have too much of an impact on your weekly food budget, and you can make the most of deals such as Tesco Low Everyday Prices (where prices are locked on 1000s of products until 2023) and Aldi Price Match, where 100s of products, including branded favourites, are matched so you can spend less, but also save time on a separate trip.
Doing this allows you to get frozen food and store cupboard essentials, such as party food, stuffing, gravy, condiments and treats, such as chocolates, well in advance – and at a lower cost.
(And, although it’s tempting, try not to eat your Christmas chocolates too soon, or it’ll end up costing you double!)
12. Have a pre-December clear out
A spring clean in winter is a good idea when you’ll be putting a tree up and need the extra room, but it can also help give you more cash in your Christmas budget.
Whether it’s previous unwanted gifts, old mobile phones, clothes, toys or games, now can be the perfect time to sell them. Other bargain hunters plan ahead and want to pick up deals on their Christmas gifts, so you’d be helping each other.