Thursday, 21 November 2013

Sorted’s top ten tips for Christmas spending

According to new research, the average British adult will spend £488 on Christmas this year. While this is a slight decline from the £526 spent last year, it is still a significant amount of money to club together over the festive period.

On average, we will each spend £336 on presents and £152 on food, drink and entertainment, with women spending more on presents and men spending more on food and drink.

So how do we keep costs down this Christmas without turning into Ebenezer Scrooge?
  1. Set yourself a budget and stick to it. If you buy whatever you see without planning, you will end up spending far more. Work out exactly how much you are prepared to pay for each element: food, drink, presents, entertainment and transport. The Money Advice Service has set up a Christmas Money Planner that might help.
  2. Use discount vouchers, loyalty points and multi-buy deals to stock up the fridge and freezer this year. Even small savings add up, so make sure you check dates and make sure you’re getting the best possible value on the groceries you buy.
  3. Compare prices online. It is often possible to find a better deal by shopping around for the items you want. Remember to factor in delivery costs and to order well in advance so that all of your items arrive on time.
  4. Start making small cutbacks now. Forgo that daily coffee or weekly takeaway, perhaps. Every penny counts, as a certain supermarket would say.
  5. Get others involved. If you are in charge of hosting a big Christmas dinner, ask your guests to bring dessert, wine or even after dinner mints. It will make them feel more involved and help to cut costs for you.
  6. Avoid taking out store cards, high-interest credit cards and – most importantly – payday loans. These can seem enticing and may even help to spread the cost in the short term, but you will end up paying back far more than you borrowed and potentially end up in a cycle of debt. If you do have to borrow money to cover Christmas spending, try to use a credit card that offers 0% on purchases for a few months. Then write out a budget detailing how you will repay this debt in the New Year.
  7. Think about what you’re buying. One thoughtful and carefully planned gift is worth five run-of-the-mill presents. Listen out for hints from those around you and make a note of them. That way, the people you buy for get exactly what they want and you come off as the attentive husband/brother/father/colleague.
  8. Give to charity for free with Care2Save. Ok, this won’t necessarily save you money, but by using this site, you can donate to charity at no extra expense when you shop online. The company has signed up 130 UK brands, so that when you buy from these brands through the site the affiliate fee will be given to charity.
  9. Don’t forget to give to those in need. According to Shelter, 80,000 children in the UK will be homeless this Christmas. Many elderly people will be alone and without heating during the festive period. If you can afford to, a donation could be highly valued. If not, think of ways to help people in your community: volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit someone in hospital or drop off some groceries at a local food bank.
  10. Get yourself Sorted! We couldn’t possibly give you ten top spending tips without encouraging you to buy the gift that keeps on giving: a gift subscription to Sorted magazine. Perhaps you know someone who loves to read and has fantastic taste. If so, click here. Or maybe you want to give a one-off gift to all the men in your life: family members, friends, colleagues, fellow sportsmen, church members and so on. If so, click here to buy one of our bumper boxes of 40 copies for just £50! Money well spent!

Feel free to add your own money-saving tips in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

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