It might only be November, but Christmas is well and truly rearing its head. The John Lewis advert has been shown on the TV, the mince pies are being cracked out, and you might even hear the odd Michael Buble song on the radio.

But, along with all the fun side of the festivities can come a lot of worry and anxiety, mainly to do with finances. No matter how low key you do Christmas, it does cost a lot of money, especially if you are recently separated, and if you don’t have a lot to start with, it can be a worrying time of year. Here, we look at a few ideas to help you save money this Christmas without cutting down on the fun. 

 

Use a cashback credit card.

 

This is a tip that Money Saving Expert recommends. A cashback credit card gives you a percentage of the cost of your purchase back, usually around 5%, which, without any discount codes, immediately reduces your shopping bill. However, if you do this, make sure that you pay it back in full every month by direct debit to make sure that you do not end up trapped in a debt cycle that ends up costing you more money in interest than you saved in the first place.

 

Look online for voucher codes

 

Before you hit purchase, check to see if you can find an online voucher code to get you some money off. Websites like netvouchercodes.co.uk do the hard work for you and scour the web, looking for all the vouchers and discount codes to help you get your purchases a bit cheaper. It involves a few minutes of research, but when you can save a fortune, it is more than worth it!

 

Get yourself organized

 

Not being organized can hit you in the purse or wallet heavily. If you do not spend some time a few weeks before Christmas writing a list of all the people that you need to buy for, you run the risk of forgetting your Great Aunt Mabel and end up running to the shops two days before the big day and spending three times as much s you originally intended. Sit down and write a list of all the people who you need to buy for, your budget, and some gift ideas. You can then do some research to see where you can pick up the gifts cheaply – perhaps using the online voucher codes that we mentioned in the above point.

 

Set up a Secret Santa group

 

If you have lots of friends or adult family members to buy for, why not consider setting up a Secret Santa group? Rather than spend £20 each on five adults and not really get any of them what they truly want, spend £50 on one person and get them something that they love. You can draw names out of the hat or sign up to a service such as Elfster, which does it all for you.

 

Use loyalty cards

 

Go and get your purse or wallet, and have a good look through it. How many loyalty cards do you have in there? There’s a few, right? Use them! What is the point in having Boots/Clubcard/Nectar cards if you never claim the vouchers or use up the points? Your Tesco Clubcard or Sainsbury’s Nectar points can be redeemed and used towards your big Christmas food shop, and Boots Advantage cards can be used for gifts. Remember, with the former, they can’t be used for part purchases, so make sure that you have enough for your purchases.

 

Take advantage of Black Friday.

 

Black Friday is coming up, and if you keep a watchful eye out, you can get some real bargains, with many big retailers such as Amazon offering huge discounts on top products. However, be aware that some deals are not quite as good as they seem, especially if it was something you didn’t want or need, so check them all out before you buy.

 

Don’t overbuy on your food shop.

 

For some reason, we all go a little crazy when it comes to food and Christmas and spend a fortune on stuff we don’t like or need. A nice cheese board is a great addition to your Christmas table, but do you really want 15 different kinds of cheese, or will five do? Make a realistic shopping list and stick to it!

 

Christmas is always going to cost more than the rest of the year, but with some careful planning and preparation, you can reduce your spending and still have a fantastic festive period.

 

 

 

* This is a contributed post and may contain affiliate links

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