10 Ways to Save Money this Christmas
21 Nov 2019
There's something about Christmas that just brings out the festive spirit in us. It's very easy to be taken with the emotion of Yuletide, family reunions, seeing old friends, and to lose the run of ourselves with a devil-may-care attitude to spending. Hey, we're only human!
But, it can be sobering if we stop and think that the amount we're spending each year has been steadily increasing. In December 2018 for example, Retail Ireland estimated that households were spending an average of €2,690 in the shops.
So, to help you with saving a little and spending less this Christmas, we've put together a quick guide to help reduce those December bills.
1. Save Towards Christmas.
It's never too early to start saving for Christmas. If you haven’t started already, you should begin to allocate a set amount of money that you can financially sustain for spending at Christmas. If you can't resist dipping into those savings, set up a savings account with your local credit union instead. It's an easy and straightforward process.
But bear in mind that various studies show we spend less with cash verses cards. Tapping a card is too easy meaning you spend more as you do not tangibly feel the money going out of your hands.
2. Agree to Family Gift Spending Limits
We all want to treat the ones we love with something special. But there can be a pressure to spend a lot so you don't appear to be the family miser!
Consider seting a gift giving limit in your household to avoid spending excessively and unnecessarily. Unfortunately, at Christmas it's common to wind up buying presents that are expensive but unrequited. Take the time to find out what your loved one really wants, and then buy them something within your budget. You'll find you become a lot more creative with your gift giving!
3. Don’t Leave Presents until the Last Minute
It’s a common trap even the most prudent of us fall into. Procrastination, busy schedules, and decision fatigue take over good sense. Suddenly it’s Christmas Eve and the gift bag is still empty. It’s in these moments where you can be most likely to act impulsively and spend too much on last minute gifts or groceries. And frequently, all the deals are gone. You're then left paying over the odds for items.
Avoid this headache and get your shopping and gift giving done early.
4. Shop Down (and around) where Possible
Clever Christmas marketing and advertising campaigns encourage people to spend over and above what they usually would. Resist this trap and don't be afraid to 'shop down' at Christmas. You don’t always need to buy the premium brand products either. After all, they come with premium prices. Shop around for presents and groceries. And don’t be afraid of the discount stores.
5. Ditch the Take-Aways
Many of us spend over €100 a month on takeaways! And these figures often drastically increasing at Christmas time. Break out the old recipie books or do a quick Google for affordable Christmas recipies. You can save a heap of money, and cut down on take-away packaging and food waste.
6. Go Easy on the Christmas Lights
You don't need your home to resemble Santa's Grotto or have to fight your way through the abundant boughs of holly decorating your hall in order to enjoy Christmas. Take it easy with the lights and decorations and do your wallet and the planet a favour this Yuletide!
8. Avoid Credit Cards and expensive loans
Do your best to avoid credit cards (and their pretty hefty interest rates) and if you must use them, do not max them out.
High interest loans and moneylenders are another one to avoid completely. If you do need a loan, talk to your local credit union about their very competitive rates. According to our most recent statistics, the lowest APR rate on a credit union Christmas loan was 6.15%. The average rate was 7.44%.
9. Catch up with Friends for Coffee (not dinner)
Christmas is great for meeting old friends you haven’t seen in a while - especially those who might be living aborad. Try to keep a budget in mind for these nights out. If possible, stick to meeting for lunch or coffees which can be a lot more inexpensive than dinners. You don't need a huge bill to accompany your catch up with your bestie!
10. Remember the True Spirt of Christmas
Our final tip is the most simple of the lot. Christmas is about spending time and having fun with family and friends. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to show somebody you care. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time. You just need to spend that time well with the people you care about.
That's the true spirit of Christmas!