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21 November 2017: Clever Ideas to Save at Christmas

Budget 2015



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Clever Ideas for Saving Over Christmas

The Cost – Transport

Transport during the festive period is expensive, whether you’re travelling home or off on a winter getaway. Some prices are even raised as companies know travel tickets will be in high demand at this time of year. But there’s a couple of things you can do to cut the cost.


•    Megabus fares are extremely cheap, and they now travel to hundreds of destinations. Not only do they travel throughout the UK, so that you can get home for Christmas, but also through Europe, for anyone looking at winter holidays!
•    Car shares are another popular idea to travel cheaply. There’s loads of car sharing websites including www.blablacar.co.uk and www.liftshare.com. They charge a small fee per passenger, but this is a huge amount less than trains or similar. As always, do be careful when sharing cars with strangers. Here's some safety tips.
•    If possible, book your tickets way in advance. That way you should avoid heavy price rises as the tickets become in demand. thetrainline.com is one way to book in advance, and they claim you typically save 43% booking train tickets in advance. In my experience it's one of the easiest sites to use and there's always a huge choice.

The Cost – Presents
This is the most obvious cost when it comes to Christmas. But with clever planning and spending habits it won’t be quite as expensive!


•    With this year’s Black Friday coming up fast (24th November 2017) and Cyber Monday (27th November 2017), there will be hundreds of deals on every kind of present. Do your research beforehand to ensure you’re actually getting a good deal, and keep a strict list of what you need to get so you don’t end up buying unnecessary items.
•    You can also save by getting rewarded when you shop for presents. There are lots of cashback sites around now which essentially reward you in vouchers or cash when you shop through them. You could also choose to use a cashback credit card, or a rewards credit card to score extra points. Yoou could be earning 0.5% cashback on all your purchases, or getting double clubcard points in Tesco!
•    Another great way to cut costs is to spend less on the wrapping of presents, and more on the present itself! Classic brown paper is much cheaper than wrapping paper, and can be customised or left simple. You could also make your own designs on the plain back of any old wrapping paper you have lying around. Save bows, gift bags and decorations throughout the year and you will have a stash to use come Christmas.
•    If you find yourself buying unnecessary gifts for those you don’t absolutely need to buy for, it might be time to have a conversation. Most people will be relieved themselves if you suggest not buying presents for each other, and it prevents you receiving lots of things you’ll never use. Choose who you speak to wisely...maybe not one for the parents!

The Cost – Festive Food
The main thing to remember here is to plan ahead! Being smart about how you save for food at Christmas and how and where you buy it can add up to a lot of saving.

•    Supermarkets usually partake in stamps for food schemes. These come in the form of cards or similar, and every time you top it up with a certain amount of money, the supermarket adds on a percentage. This means that you can save throughout the year by topping up this card a bit at a time, and you’ll get a bonus from the supermarket at the end. This one from Iceland gets you 5%! It might also be time to take the plunge and try a discounter like Aldi or Lidl, or if you can't quite face that, maybe Asda!
•    You could also consider using a points and rewards card to do your food shopping, as this will collect lots of points for you to use another time, so you’re essentially saving money for the future.
•    
If you're nominated to cook the Christmas dinner, don't be afraid to ask people to bring a course each to save you doing absolutely everything.

The Cost – Accommodation

Not everyone is able to stay with family over Christmas, and accommodation can be one of the most expensive items, especially during Christmas when hotels put their prices sky high. Try these alternatives to save some money.
Generally, it pays to book early.

•    AirBnB is one of the cheapest and most convenient websites to use. Not only do they offer places to stay in every location, but they’re also great for last minute bookings.
•    Use comparison sites if you do end up needing a hotel, but ensure you clear your browser before checking each site, as the sites will automatically raise the price if they see you looking at other hotels on another site. Trivago is one of our favourites as it compares other comparison sites! Expedia and Booking.com are also great sites with a huge range.
•    A sneaky trick we've picked up is that on some sites, if you abandon your shopping cart just before booking, you may find you're sent an email with a discount code to go  back and complete your booking.



 



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