You think you have plenty of time until Santa arrives but before you know it, it’s the X Factor final, you’re sobbing at the John Lewis advert and the Coca Cola lorry is visiting your local town centre. Time has a way of escaping us and so with only five pay days to go, it might be a good idea to start thinking about how to budget for Christmas.
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“But it’s summer,” you might protest, “surely I don’t need to start thinking about Christmas until Halloween is done with?” Well, the sooner the better when it comes to that day of festivities – especially if you have kids with a wish list that spans more than three pages.
Here’s a breakdown of what to think about each month in the run up to Christmas, to save some cash and enable you to enjoy your day, without thinking about how much you need to pay off the credit card in January.
July – Sign up for supermarket savings
It’s a good idea to start by first deciding with family who will be doing Christmas this year. If you aren’t cooking, that means your budget can go solely towards gifts, but if you’re doing the hosting you’ll need to think about spreading the cost out to cover the food too.
If you are serving up Christmas dinner and don’t have a reward card for the supermarket you spend the most money in each week, then it’s time to pick one up and start accumulating points. Most chains offer special voucher plans for Christmas and if you’re savvy and spend a decent amount in store you could essentially get your hands on your Christmas shop for pretty much free!
Here are some options:
- Tesco – for every 50 points you accumulate you get 50p/50c towards your Christmas shop at the end of year. Simply head to your Clubcard page and opt into the Christmas saver voucher scheme.
- Morrisons – every time you shop in store, you can buy digital stamps that build up to a total amount for Christmas. Morrisons also offers bonuses, so for every £49 you save, they’ll round it up to £50, every £97 they’ll round it up to £100.
- Asda – pick up a Christmas savings card in any Asda store then you can round up your shopping bill to add to the savings card. Asda also offers a bonus scheme, where they will top up your savings.
- Dunnes – for every €50 spent on groceries in-store you get a voucher to save €10 off your next shop.
- Look out for deals from other retailers in your area.
July is also a good time to put together a list of what you intend to buy people. This way you can keep an eye out for deals in the run up to Christmas and potentially grab things for a cheaper price. Plus, paying for them early on means the cost is already accounted for once December rolls around, meaning any money left can be put towards the dinner or (more importantly) the booze!
August – Start buying non-perishables
Take advantage of late summer deals as BBQ season comes to end and start to buy any non-perishables needed for Christmas day. You’ll find deals on summer drinks such as Pimms, Prosecco and cocktail mixes which will still work for that Christmas meal.
You could also start to buy chocolate and those little gifts for stockings when you’re doing your regular weekly shop. This way you’re spreading the cost early and you’ll have it all ready to go once December rolls round.
September – Look for toy deals
As summer ends, stores start to throw on deals and events on toys – ready for parents to snap up in time for Christmas. If your child wants a toy that’s going to be particularly popular, it might be worth signing up to the toy specific newsletter for stores such as Amazon and Toys ’R’ Us, who will send you updates if the price goes up or down.
The Argos 3-for-2 sale is a big calendar event for many parents, so ensure you follow the retailer on social media and keep an eye out for when this sale occurs.
This article lists the toys expected to be popular for Christmas 2017, so put out the feelers to find out which ones your child is hoping for and keep an eye out for those deals.
October – Start to really cut back
Those little expenses every day, such as a cup of coffee on the way to work or a sandwich meal deal, can start to add up to significant numbers. That’s why, with only two pay days to go, it’s time to really knuckle down and start cutting back.
Use a calculator – such as this clever cash finder tool – to work out how much you’re spending and could potentially be putting away, then refrain from making those small purchases. For example, a cup of coffee at £/€2.70 per day adds up to an eye watering £/€81 a month! Cut this out now and you have an extra £/€162 to put towards Christmas – you could even start earlier and save even more. Easy!
November – Take advantage of Black Friday
You’ll have a fair amount saved by now, if you’ve followed the tips and tricks so far, so it’s time to start spending. Black Friday takes place on November 24th this year, but don’t go lining up outside stores or fighting over a three-year-old telly.
Instead, keep an eye on sites such as Amazon and high street retailer’s online stores, you should be able to browse these and find something you need for a discounted price but you’ll have to be fast on the more popular items! You can usually pick up electronics for a much cheaper price on this big shopping day, so if you have a gadget loving partner or kids then it’s ideal.
If your freezer is big enough, now is also the time to pick up a turkey or any other meat you want to dish up on the big day. The closer you get to December the more likely these will start to disappear from shelves. A frozen turkey may also prove cheaper than a fresh one – just ensure you thaw it properly the day before you want to cook it!
Start now and try out these tips to see how much you could save this year. Merry Christmas!
Do you have any tips on how to budget for Christmas? Please share them in the comments box below.