Christmas is known as the most wonderful time of the year. Unfortunately, for most, it also tends to be the most expensive.
Plan early and get organised, and enjoy Christmas with less financial worry.
If you’re strapped for cash, but still want to celebrate in style, we’ve got five ideas to help raise some extra festive funds.
1. Cash in your loyalty card points
Save up your loyalty card points throughout the year, and use them to skim money off your Christmas shopping. Cash in any unused Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s Nectar card points when buying food and drink for the big Christmas dinner. These schemes also send out vouchers, so save these up and use them during the Christmas shop.
If you’re a Boots Advantage Card holder, use your unspent points to buy gifts — you can even use these in conjunction with their 3-for-2 Christmas gift shop. Use Money Saving Expert’s points checker to find out how much your unused points could be worth.
2. Rethink the way you send greetings
Over the years, it’s easy to get into the habit of sending cards to those we aren’t even particularly close to anymore. If you’re not sure you can afford to send cards to every great aunt, long-lost uncle and distant cousin you haven’t seen in years, then perhaps it’s time to rethink how you send Christmas wishes.
Instead of spending a small fortune on cards and postage to far-flung relatives and friends, try sending festive wishes via e-cards. For a special touch, spend a few minutes crafting a personalised message to send with them. Your recipients will likely appreciate a long, thoughtful message far more than a paper card that was destined for the recycling bin anyway.
3. Bake your own gifts
According to a report by RetailMeNot, the average person expected to spend £473.83 on Christmas gifts in 2016. If that staggering figure is outside your budget, why not try your hand at making your own Christmas gifts? Not only are they much cheaper than shop-bought versions, but a handmade present will show you’ve really taken the time and made an effort.
Try giving home baked biscuits as a gift. Our Christmas recipe guide contains plenty of ideas to get you started. Show the finished biscuits off by presenting them in a clear polythene bag, and tie with a festive ribbon. Not only will baking your own gifts save you some money, but it’s also a festive family activity, so be sure to get the kids involved.
4. Sell unwanted items
Looking to clear some clutter and make some quick cash? Pack up the car, set your alarm clock, and head out to a local boot sale. You can find your nearest sale using Car Boot Junction’s handy map. A boot sale is an especially thrifty way boost your Christmas budget because you can sell items you’d otherwise throw away — even things you thought would never sell may surprise you.
You’ll have more success selling items of lesser value at boot sales, so keep prices cheap and sell anything you think is worth a bit more online. Whether it’s a designer dress you never wear, or a gift from last year you don’t want, pawning unused items online is a great way to raise some quick cash, especially if it’s something you won’t miss. H&T promise to buy almost anything and allow you to apply for a quote online, so raid your wardrobe and jewellery box to see what you could make.
5. Become a mystery shopper
A mystery shopper is paid to fill out surveys about their in-store experiences. If you’re willing to spend a bit of time sharing your feedback, this could be a great opportunity to earn money while you do your Christmas shopping.
During the assignment, you’ll be required to visit a specific store, before filling out a survey detailing your experience. A typical survey will usually ask about aspects of the shop, like customer service or how easy it was to find certain products. If you want to learn more, take a look at our guide to becoming a mystery shopper. You’ll want to do your research to find the highest-paying websites, so shop around.
Christmas doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and there are plenty of ways to boost your cash. Follow these tips, and you should soon see some valuable savings in the run up to the festive period.