So Christmas has come and gone, and you’ve probably spent more than you’d like to think about – but now’s the time to get yourself organised so Christmas next year can be a cheaper, less stressful affair.
By following our guide to help plan your Christmas 2013 in advance, you can spread your spending over the year, save money and spoil the whole family – without getting into the red.
Save money and spoil the whole family – without getting into the red
And remember, with MyFamilyClub’s Savings Pack you’ll get up to 10% EXTRA off at lots of big high street stores.
What’s more, your savings are added on top of any in-store sale or discount. (So you’d get 10% MORE off in the January sales!) Start saving here.
Here are the special offers to look out for throughout the year:
Look out for January sales and stock up on Christmas cards, gift wrap and decorations (all available at knock-down prices during January).
If cash is tight, why not use your Christmas gift vouchers to get ahead for next year?
With a bit of imagination, Valentine’s Day stock can double up as Christmas cheer. Red ribbons, love-hearts and decorations can be turned into festive dazzle, while gold cupids make great Christmas angels.
Shop after 14 February to get great deals, as that’s when shops look to shift their Valentine’s stock!
Now’s the time to buy reduced winter clothes. Soft woollen jumpers and cosy scarves and hats make sophisticated and timeless gifts. It’s also often a great time to bag a bargain for the Christmas party too, so scour the shelves for a party dress.
Look out for post-Easter sales to snap up any discounted cake decorating sets or luxury food items which can be frozen. An un-iced Simnel cake, for example, will freeze well and can then be decorated for Christmas. Dried fruit and nuts will also keep well if you want to bake your own goodies.
The May Bank Holiday is DIY time, so head out to the outlet stalls to look for cut-price tool kits and homeware that will make fantastic and cost-effective family presents.
Camping gear will be discounted as retailers cash in on summer festivals, so if you know any outdoorsy types, shop for cheap tents, chairs or cooking gear.
The summer sales are here! No one will want skimpy shorts or bikinis in December, but you can stock up on reduced jewellery, handbags and children’s toys.
If you’re going abroad on holiday, leave space in your suitcase for presents you can bargain for at local markets. Leather goods, exotic scarves and handmade toys always go down well. And don’t forget duty-free for cosmetics and Christmas tipples.
Check out garden centres and DIY shops for pre-autumn sales. Any green-fingered relative will appreciate a smart new watering can for Christmas.
Use half-term to visit an outlet shopping centre for all kinds of discounts on clothes, picture frames and homeware. Christmas lines will be appearing in the shops and supermarkets already, so keep your eyes peeled for early discounts and 2 for 1 offers.
For a Christmas party that goes off with a bang, buy discount fireworks and sparklers after Bonfire Night. Party food and canapes can also be snapped up now and they’ll be fine in the freezer until next month.
Use the points you’ve been accumulating all year on your loyalty cards to take the edge off this month’s shopping bill – and don’t forget Christmas Eve discounts for that last-minute trolley dash.
Plan your budget
Think about setting up a direct debit to a savings account to save up for a Christmas splurge. Just £30 a month from now will give you £330 – plus interest – come Christmas time.
There are lots of savings accounts around including some special Christmas savers. These accounts let you pay as little or as much as you want in regular instalments, so you can budget and see the money add up in time for the Christmas shop.
Plan your travel
If you’re planning on visiting friends or relatives over Christmas make sure you don’t get stung by last minute travel expenses.
Book your ride now! If you’re going by public transport or flying anywhere, the journey will be a whole lot cheaper if you book well in advance.
Look out for off-peak train fares and be prepared to be flexible with your travel. Trains are always cheaper outside of peak commuting times.
Compare prices online and check out our article on cheap family rail tickets so you can bag the best offers including rail cards that can save you a third on your travel.
Plan your food
The festive feast is a big event and also one that is a big strain on the budget. Supermarkets reveal their Christmas offers and promotions from around November, so once you’ve made your wishlist of Christmas goodies you can start to compare prices to get the best deal.
Spread the cost of those non-perishable Christmas nibbles by buying a few bits each week in the lead up and storing them away.
Plan what you need, write a list and stick to it. Supermarkets can be a tricky business and it can be hard to ignore all those tempting offers. Perhaps buying online is the answer – it’s said that shopping online could save the average family £160!