Looking to make you money go further this Christmas? You’ve already seen the first batch of mince pies in the shop – the ones with a sell-by date of late October (how does that even work?) and you’ve scraped frost off the car a couple of times already. Yes, it’s that special time of year that means you have to trash your credit card and spend January and February eating beans on toast.
Or maybe not, this year, because there are lots of ways to get more crackers for your cash and avoid excessive credit card debt if you spend smart. Here’s just a few for you to try out.
Make sure you take your loyalty cards everywhere
After all, they are called loyalty cards… Seriously, though, if you haven’t used them much so far this year then now’s the time to rack up some points on them. If you have been a bit slack so far and you’re unlikely to accrue any significant amounts on them, then think about next Christmas instead and plough on regardless. Most chain stores have great points promotions on at Christmas so you’ll get the benefit next year.
If you must use a credit card, get a 0% one
Check out the offers for 0% credit cards to see which ones have the longest interest-free period and make sure you pay the debt down before the time’s up. It’s best, though, to avoid using a credit card at all so that you don’t have the worry in the new year.
When you shop on online auction sites, look for collection-only offers
Collection-only often means that there aren’t many bids, so you might be able to win the auction more easily (and cheaply), especially if you can pick it up promptly.
Always look for a discount
Shopping online can usually result in some great discounts, especially if you use an app that searches for vouchers and offers while you’re searching. You should always spend an extra minute or two looking for offers before hitting buy it now, because if you manage to get a 10% discount on all your presents, then it’s time well-spent and money saved.
Leave some shopping to the last minute
Of course, spreading the cost of Christmas makes a lot of sense, but once you’ve got the main gifts out of the way, you should wait until the last few days. You’ll see prices start to come down from December 20 or so, so hold fire and wait for your optimum time. You should only take this risk with the lesser presents, though, or you could become very unpopular!
Do some serious meal-planning
We often forget how expensive all the food can be over the Christmas period, so make sure you have plans for the leftover turkey or ham for the days after Christmas. Here an idea of my meal plan over the Christmas and new year. This will help you to avoid scrambling through the supermarket and grabbing at anything that catches your eye. Another good idea is to divide your shopping into “must be decent quality” and “we can get away with cheap and cheerful”. Treats for the kids usually fall into the latter camp as their palates aren’t quite as discerning as adults’.