Christmas is just days away, but there are still ways to save ahead of the holidays. It’s also a great time to think about next year too.

There’s no doubt that Christmas is an expensive time of year. From turkeys to crackers – gifts and travel, we spend a lot to be with our families and friends at this time of year and that puts pressure on everyone’s budgets.

With inflation rampant and energy bills getting higher as the weather gets colder, it pays to keep saving money at the front of our minds as we go through the holidays.

But it’s not just this year you should be preparing for – the best time to think about how to make Christmas 2023 more affordable is now!

Here are some ideas to help your money go a bit further.

Christmas 2022

  1. Set expectations

There is understandably a lot of pressure at Christmas to buy lots of gifts, get your loved ones the latest gadgets and generally to spend a lot of money. It has become a highly commercialised holiday.

But this year, more than ever, it’s important to set the right expectations. If you feel like buying lots of gifts for all your friends and loved ones is going to stretch you too far, it’s important to talk to them so they understand why you might want to go more low-key.

Good alternative solutions include Secret Santas, setting price limits for gifts and opting for ‘free’ gifts such as giving each other time together instead.

  1. Use cashback and vouchers

Cashback is an easily forgotten trick to save money when making purchases. Using websites such as Quidco and Topcashback can save you valuable pounds when buying big ticket items at a variety of high street retailers. It can also save money on the Christmas food shop.

There are no catches either, as the retailers are paying the cashback firms to bring them your business.

  1. Don’t overspend your salary

It’s quite common for salaried employees to get their pay early before Christmas. Employers do this as a perceived act of kindness to help people through the holidays.

But this act of kindness can come with a sting in the tail because it accidently lengthens the time in which you have to stretch one month’s pay to the end of January (depending on when you normally get paid).

If you do get your salary early this month, make sure you’re planning for those days in January long after Christmas is over.

  1. Make sure you’re getting a good deal

It’s easy to get sucked into the hype when retailers push big ‘sales’ to shift products. This becomes all the more true the closer Christmas comes and the more products they have unsold.

But these discounts aren’t always as they seem. Make sure you shop around for the best price on the product and use services such as Camelcamelcamel – which can tell you if products on major sites such as Amazon really are a good price.

  1. Look for second hand

With the cost-of-living crisis, the second-hand market for all sorts of products is looking pretty rosy. People are looking to raise a bit of extra cash for their stuff, and there are many great services to match sellers and buyers.

Services such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace are the go-to, but other upstart apps such as Depop and Vinted are soaring in popularity. Be prepared to haggle though, and don’t send any money without being 100% certain you’ll get the item. This is especially true on Facebook Marketplace, where there’s little buyer protection in place.

  1. Don’t overbuy

It’s easy to think you need reams and reams of food, drink, and other consumables over the holidays. Afterall, what is Christmas for but a bit of indulgence? It’s also easy to think that shops will be closed, so you need to stock up as much as possible.

But the truth is that most retailers are open again by Boxing Day, so not overbuying could save you some money overall. A quick trip to the supermarket to top up on the food and drink after Christmas could also yield some big discounts, as shops look to shift unsold items too.

  1. Buy at the right time

Similar to the above – buying in advance can be a counterproductive strategy. As we get closer to the holiday days, shops will put more items on discount as they look to clear shelves.

Just be careful though as this can be risky if things go out of stock completely. This is especially true this year with a turkey shortage on the cards. But, if you have a good selection of supermarkets in your local area, trawling through them can really do the trick.

  1. Do online comparisons

Another supermarket trick people often forget is to do a comparison on the prices of essential Christmas goods. As above, you can trawl around local shops looking for the best prices, but it’s possible to do all that from the comfort of your own living room.

Sites such as Mysupermarketcompare do a great job of showing what items are most keenly priced and where, so do your research and save!

  1. Have a potluck

Christmas dinner can be an onerous task if you’re the host. It costs time and money and burning the pigs in blankets will not help anyone’s stress levels!

Potlucks are a potential alternative idea for Christmas dinner. Popular in the US, especially around Thanksgiving, it involves all the guests at your big dinner doing one dish themselves. This relieves some of the cost (and stress!) of hosting.

Christmas 2023

  1. Christmas in January

Christmas in January?! It’s the best time to start preparing. With the holiday season, crackers that cost £30 could cost £3 as supermarkets offload everything that didn’t shift.

The same goes for things like decorations, toys, electronics and pretty much anything else. Save your money by buying in advance and you’ll be set for the next one before you know it.

  1. Fund your gifts with clutter

It’s a little late to be paying for gifts with things you sell this year, but this is a great strategy to cover costs for 2023. Having a clear-out of items you don’t use or want any more is a great way to raise some extra cash in any event, but that money can be put towards the next Christmas pot to alleviate the costs.

  1. Save a year in advance

One of the best long-term strategies for paying for the costs associated with Christmas is to start early. With interest rates at more than decade highs, savings rates haven’t looked so good in a while.

There are a number of ways to go about saving money for next year. If you have a lump sum, a 12-month savings account can generate a return of around 4.35% at the moment. If you want to save small amounts regularly, an interest-paying current account could be a great option too.

Christmas savings clubs are an option too but come with some risk attached to them – sometimes providers go bust, leaving families without money as these schemes are generally not protected in the same way as normal savings. They can also put limits on where you spend the money, making it quite inflexible.

Generally, then, it is better to go DIY and put the money into a saver that will give you a nice little return for something extra next year.

Any opinions stated are honestly held but are not guaranteed and should not be relied upon.
The information contained in this document is not to be regarded as an offer to buy or sell, or the solicitation of any offer to buy or sell, any investments or products.
The content of this document is for information only. It is advisable that you discuss your personal financial circumstances with a financial adviser before undertaking any investments.
All the data contained in the communication is believed to be reliable but may be inaccurate or incomplete. Unless otherwise specified all information is produced as of 13th December 2022.