As it’s November, we can now start talking about Christmas with no judgement, right? Who’s freaking out? I am! This morning we just paid hundreds of pounds worth of bills and they couldn’t have arrived at a worse time. With two boys who will be writing pretty optimistic and extensive Christmas lists to Santa, now is not the time for a tumbleweed to be drifting through my bank account. My mission for November is to save money in the lead up to Christmas. I don’t usually start my Christmas shopping until December so I have a month to save every penny I can. Need to save some money before Christmas too? Here’s a list of simple ways you can save money before mission Christmas begins.
How to save money in the lead up to Christmas
1. Walk more – If you can walk to where you need to go then gets those boots on and start walking Mama! Petrol is expensive and although the occasional bus trip doesn’t cost much, walking is completely free. The more places you walk, the less money you have to spend on getting around and you can add this extra cash to your savings pot.
2. Make picnics – Picnics are not exclusively for Summer. If you are going on a family day out, make up some sandwiches and grab some fruit from the fruit bowl and maybe a yogurt from the fridge or a packet of crisps from the cupboard. Big family days out can easily cross over into lunch time and bringing your own food is so much cheaper than buying food at the zoo (or wherever you may have ventured). A picnic can easily be made for less than £5, whereas lunch out for a family of four can come to around £20; there’s an extra £15 right there you can keep and put towards Christmas shopping.
3. Use deals websites – It is impossible to have a completely spend free month, we all need essentials and little emergencies can happen that have a knock on effect on your bank balance: the toddler has grown out of his shoes or the kids winter coats have shrunk in the wash. Websites like Latest Deals help you to find the best deals on products you need, there are deals from all around the web for everything from kids shoes to coffee. There are also a great selection of discounted products that would make perfect Christmas gifts.
4. Free family days out – It is tempting to blow a load of cash on a day out to a Santa’s Grotto that puts the North Pole to shame or on trips every Saturday to go ice skating but there are lots of free things you can do with the kids in the lead up to Christmas. Younger children often enjoy the sensory experience of just going to a garden centre and looking at all the twinkly Christmas lights. Quite often local councils put on free Christmas events in libraries and if you have a National Trust membership. many properties run festive trails that only cost a £1. You can go on a walk in the woods and search for elves, find local play groups running Christmas craft sessions or go and watch your local Christmas lights being turned on. It is possible to make lots of wonderful memories without having to spend all your money on tickets to a pantomime or on an expensive trip to somewhere like Lapland UK. Take that 70 or so pounds that you are saving and use it to cover your Christmas food shop instead.
5. Stop going for a coffee – I don’t know about you, but I am terrible at wasting money on coffee. Whenever I am in town I can’t not stop by a coffee shop and waste £3 on a cappuccino. Those £3’s soon add up and I could easily waste more than £10 a week on coffee. Instead of being tempted by a professionally made coffee, I am going to have one at home before I go to town and just avoid my beloved Coffee #1 and costa like the plague. If I save £10 a week for the 4 weeks in November, that’s another £40 I can put towards Christmas shopping – yay!
6. Have a no spend month – Obviously, I don’t mean spend no money at all because that’s impossible, I simply mean don’t buy things you don’t need. For all of November I won’t be buying any new clothes, books, lunches out, magazines, take aways and so on. Those things are not important, they are little treats I can live without and I would much rather have that money to spend on my family and their Christmas presents.
7. Be clever with your food shop – If you are a bit of brand snob, always shop in one of the big name supermarkets or get tempted in by big red labels telling you something you don’t need is on offer, then it might be time to rethink how you do your food shop. We save so much money on our weekly shop because we have swapped to shopping at Aldi, I write a meal plan and we always stick to our shopping list. Food is so expensive and it can be all too easy to chuck things in the trolley and watch the bill tot up to terrifying amounts at the checkout. We save well over £30 a week by shopping at Aldi, if you switched too you could save over £100 in a month! Think how useful that extra money will be when it’s time to hit the shops and do your Christmas shopping.
Are you trying to save money for Christmas too? What tips would you add to this list? I’d love to read your ideas in the comments.
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