Rent a tree and coach travel – how to save £246 this Christmas
Although many of us love a splurge at Christmas, three out of five people in the UK say the cost of living crisis will ruin their festive plans this year* – and one in five is even considering cancelling Christmas entirely as a result.**
But festive fun needn’t come with a painful price tag. Here’s how to enjoy the season without breaking the bank or losing any of that Christmas magic…
Presents – save £54
When bagging a bargain, identifying the genuine good deals is crucial – Martin Lewis has recently shared a hack to save £250 at Boots.
While price alert websites help you track an item’s value over time.
“Sort out what you want to buy, and how much you can afford, and set up the price alerts,” says Katy Phillips, brand and communications manager at idealo.co.uk. “You’ll be notified as soon as items drop to a price that suits your budget.”
Google extensions like VoucherCodes will automatically apply any discounts at the checkout. And for an even cheaper way to shop, use the Money saving expert’s Local eBay deals Mapper for secondhand items nearby, or Amazon’s outlet and Certified refurbished sections.
If you’re not going to see your loved ones on Christmas day, consider buying your gifts on Boxing day in the sales.
Postage – save £40
If you’re buying online, consider opting for premium postage services rather than paying individual costs for each purchase. ASOS gives customers free next day delivery for just £11.95 per year, while amazon prime costs £8.99 per month, or is free for a 30-day trial.
Travel – save £89
When visiting friends and family, using public transport can save money, with national express and Megabus offering coach journeys from £1. Fancy something a little more lavish? Ticketing app Seatfrog allows users to upgrade to first-class train travel for as little as £5.
If you like to cycle, it’s good to know that trading in your car for a bike can save you thousands per year.
Decorating – save £55
Renting a tree is a budget and environmentally friendly option. With many local suppliers loaning out trees for a fraction of the price, all you need to do is follow the care rules provided and return the tree after the festivities. and to decorate it?
“Don’t buy expensive baubles, hang home-baked cookies on the tree instead,” says greg Fraser, Baking expert and Founder of the Bottled Baking co. “Each decoration could cost as little as 50p.”
Food – save £8
Despite the price of Christmas dinner rising 3% between 2020 and 2021 alone, cooking up a festive feast needn’t cost a fortune. defrost leftover gravy from previous roasts and ask guests to bring dishes for a potluck spread. Most crucially, avoiding the temptation to go overboard is key.
“To save costs, three quarters of the plate should be a variety of veg,” says Ben Ebbrell, chef and co-founder of Sorted Food. If you’re a fan of cheese boards, visit the deli counter at a supermarket to buy in smaller amounts.”
Tools like love Food Hate Waste’s food portion calculator are great for helping you work out what you need, while the olio community app lets users pick up surplus food in their area for free.
And when it comes to the actual cooking, why not ditch the oven entirely? Using a slow cooker to roast your joint or an air fryer to do your roasties can help save costs. compared to an oven which costs £1.04 per hour to use, an air fryer would set you back 59p while a slow cooker comes in at just 12p.
And budget for next year to save an extra £728
Besides making savings where possible, budgeting is another way of managing your finances at Christmas. “Prepare early and get ready for next year now,” says Gemma Bird, who runs the Money Mum official instagram account. “Start on Boxing day. Put away £2 per day (or £14 per week) – that’s £728 saved in one year, which means next Christmas is sorted.”
If the thought of putting money aside is overwhelming, autosaving apps like Plum and Chase are great ways of building savings without even noticing that you’re doing it.
*Sitecore’s Holiday Shopping trends report **RVS Media Survey
Please note: Savings pre-Christmas are approximate, based on typical spend minus the % saving that the tip offers.
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