14 Ways To Save For Christmas 2023
The cost of living crisis is going to have a big impact on many households this Christmas. As energy prices rise and inflation creeps up, we’re all paying more for the essentials — so our Christmas shopping budgets are likely to take a hit.
But it’s still possible to have a great Christmas on a budget. These tips will help you save for Christmas 2023, so you can ensure you have enough cash to see you through the festive season.
How to save money for Christmas 2023
1. Make a budget — and stick to it
The number one way to save for Christmas is to make a budget. Plan out exactly how much money you need for food, gifts, activities, and travel. If you plan this early (autumn or even summer) you’ll have more time to save.
Sticking to your budget can be tough, but it’s essential for keeping costs down. Avoid splashing out on extras or buying more than you need. This also prevents waste and helps you make Christmas more sustainable.
If your budget looks a bit ambitious, figure out what you can cut. While tradition is important, sometimes it’s worth skipping a year for the sake of your financial health. For instance, if you usually swap presents with old school friends, consider a 2022 hiatus to give your bank balance a break.
2. Start saving early
By saving early, you can spread the cost of Christmas over weeks or even months. This makes saving more affordable at a time when bills are going up.
Divide your budget total by the number of weeks before Christmas. Then you’ll know how much you need to save each week to pay for everything.
Let’s say you’ve budgeted £500 for Christmas. If you start saving on 1st September, you’ll need to save approximately £38 a week to have £500 by 1st December.
If you start saving on 1st October, you’ll need to put aside around £56 per week to save the same amount.
3. Start or join a rotating money club
A money club is a great way to plan for Christmas. It helps you stay on-track to meet your savings goals, and enable other people in your community to plan aheadfor Christmas.
In a money club, you and your friends or family (or whoever you like!) contribute a set amount of money each month. Every month, one member of the ROSCA withdraws the entire amount — so it’s a simple way to save money.
A money club is different from a Christmas savings club. Christmas savings clubs are usually run by businesses to help you spread the cost of Christmas over a year — but they often give you your money back in vouchers, so you’re limited by where you can spend your money. In addition, Christmas savings clubs aren’t regulated in the same way as banks, so your money might not be protected if the club goes bust. With a money club, you can choose to save with people you know and trust.
4. Use a high-interest savings account
Rising interest rates aren’t ideal for people with mortgages and credit cards to pay off — but they’re good news for savers. UK interest rates are currently going up, so you can get more interest on your savings if you put your money in a higher interest savings account right now.
Credit unions also offer savings accounts for those who want a community-first approach to saving.
5. Only spend what you can afford
It may be tempting to turn to payday loans and credit cards if you have no money for Christmas this year. But this only adds pressure to an already-stressful time of year, financially speaking.
Having control over your finances is more important than buying expensive gifts — so only spend what you can afford this Christmas.
If you do need to borrow money, look for a credit card with 0% interest rates, so you can pay back just what you’ve borrowed without incurring high interest rates.
6. Sell your unwanted items
Make some extra cash by selling your unwanted items before Christmas. There are lots of places to sell your goods, including Facebook Marketplace and eBay.
Not only can this ease your finances, it also helps others find great second-hand gifts for their own friends and family.
7. Buy second-hand
Second-hand shopping is good for the environment as well as your wallet. Scour charity shops, eBay, Depop, and vintage stores to find the perfect present.
Some luxury brands (such as Apple, PlayStation, and Microsoft) offer approved refurbished items. These come with a warranty, so they can be fixed for free if the product stops working. These usually cost more than buying from unknown sellers on eBay, but it gives you extra peace of mind if you’re buying more expensive presents.
8. Skip the Secret Santa
Secret Santa, bake sales, trips to the Christmas market… Christmas often comes with lots of events that are fun but costly.
If joining in these activities will compromise your Christmas budget, don’t be afraid to opt out. Or, if you want to join in, make sure you’ve accounted for these activities in your budget.
9. Stock your freezer early
Shop the reduced section in your local supermarket to stock up on food for Christmas. That way you can get lots of great food for less.
Shopping at food markets and cash-and-carries can also reduce food costs, especially if you’ll be feeding lots of people. Make good use of your freezer space to save money on Christmas dinner.
10. Book Christmas travel in advance
Buying a train or coach fare in advance can save you a lot of money — so if you’re travelling to see loved ones this Christmas, book your travel in advance.
Advance fares for children cost 50% less than standard fares, and if you have a railcard you’ll save even more. So it’s worth getting your train fare booked at least a month before you plan to travel.
11. Compare prices online
Shopping around is a good way to save money on Christmas gifts. Start with Google Shopping for price comparisons. Simply search for the product you want, and this tool will show you the cheapest online prices.
If you do your Christmas shopping early, you can also take advantage of slower (cheaper) delivery timeframes to save on shipping, while still getting your gifts in plenty of time.
12. Use cashback and coupons
Many supermarkets and shops offer year-round discounts and deals to help shoppers save. As Christmas approaches, now’s the time to make use of them.
For example, if you sign up for a Tesco Clubcard, you can take advantage of their Clubcard prices and money-off coupons. Some banks offer rewards schemes that give you cashback on certain purchases, so check your current account provider and see if this is something you could use.
13. Avoid Black Friday
Many shops and online retailers take advantage of the pre-Christmas shopping season by artificially inflating their prices just before Black Friday — then slashing prices back to RRP on the day itself. That means you might not actually be saving any money on these items.
According to a Which? investigation, only 1% of products were actually at their cheapest on Black Friday — so don’t assume you’re getting a good deal by shopping on these dates.
14. Manage expectations
Sometimes it’s inevitable that you’ll have to make changes to your Christmas traditions to save money. So it’s important to manage the expectations of your family and friends. Maybe it’s time to stop exchanging gifts with people you haven’t seen for a while, or substitute your expensive Christmas meal out with a pot luck party at home.
By managing expectations and talking about the situation with friends and family, you can ensure everyone has a great Christmas — without breaking the bank.
More savings tips this way
Looking for more ways to save money throughout the cost-of-living squeeze? Find more savings tips from Bloom.