Personal Finance

'I'm a cost-cutting expert – here are 12 ways to slash expenditure this Christmas'


The countdown is on for Christmas and the pressure is mounting to spend…even though most of us know it could put us into annoying debt in January.  

So, apart from going ‘Ba Humbug’ and just avoiding Christmas altogether this year (which quite a few people seem to be doing, by the way), how can you save money creatively this season? 

It’s the question on many people’s minds as the cost-of-living crisis continues to leave British shoppers feeling embattled at the worst possible time.

But there are ways to cut and even avoid altogether some of the costs that people associate with the festive season.

Money Magpie has a cash-saving hack for every one of the 12 Days of Christmas – see our full list below.

The 12 days of Christmas cost-cutting

Day one: Get as much as you can for free

There are lots of free things you can make the most of at Christmas. Some shopping centres and councils offer a free Santa’s Grotto so look on your council’s website and on Nextdoor.com to see what might be around. 

Day two: …or go second-hand 

It’s cool to have second-hand goods now and Gen Zers in particular are mad for preloved. Use sites like Depop, Gumtree, eBay, Etsy and other resellers to buy gifts you know they would like but are too expensive new. Children are particularly good with second-hand. A bike is a bike whether it is new or second-hand so get them used to enjoying and appreciating things that have been used before.  

Day three: Share the cost

If your child would like a big present, talk to friends and family about clubbing together to buy it. Share the burden of the Christmas dinner by getting one person to bring pudding, another to bring cheeses, another to bring drinks etc. Asking directly for money is a bit naff, but bringing things to the table is just friendly and helpful.  

Day four: Give the kids control

If you are on a tight budget and you know the kids would love certain things, explain to them gently what money you have and get them to choose presents that will cost that much. That way they will understand the situation and will feel in control of what they are getting. 

 

Day five: Go neutral shopping 

Have a good clear out of your cupboards and drawers and put as much as you can up for sale online. Then, use that money – and that money only – to buy things for Christmas. That way you can have all sorts for, effectively, no money. 

Day six: Go back to basics with entertainment

Do you have any board games at home? Cards, Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders? Bring them out for cosy winter evenings of fun with the family. When you have friends’ round, play Charades or other parlour games that bring people together and cost nothing to do. It’s also healthy to have some time away from the TV screen.  

Day seven: Save on cards

Use free online ecard sending websites like 123greetings.com or BlueMountain.com rather than sending real cards in the post. Use last year’s cards from other people (if you kept them) as present tags for this year’s pressies. 

Day eight: Go to church

Go to your local church for free carols and kids’ events. Some churches have free events throughout Advent and many are child-friendly.  

Day nine: Have Christmas late

If you really want to be clever, put off Christmas for a few days. Celebrate any time from 27th to 29th so that you can get half price Christmas food, half price decorations and half price gifts to give each other.   

Day 10: Do it all for charity

If you’re really not too interested in Christmas but you would like to help others, tell friends and family that you are not celebrating the traditional Christmas this year but instead you will be raising money for charity.

So instead of giving you something, ask them to donate to your favourite charity. Email friends free ecards telling them about your plan and including a link for donations. Save on festive Christmas meals and decorations and, instead, give a portion of the money you would have spent to this charity. If you’re not sure which charity is worth giving to, we recommend Acts435.org.uk, which is the MoneyMagpie Christmas charity 2023.  

Day 11: Choose your supermarket

The cost of Christmas food can vary widely but the quality doesn’t’ have to. Aldi, Lidl and Asda all offer great products at lower prices. Also, keep in mind the end of line sellers like Approvedfood.co.uk.  

Day 12: Go back in time

Suggest to the family that you have a Victorian Christmas or even a Medieval one. They didn’t have anything like the number of presents given at that time, and the food, on the whole, was very modest. It can be a good lesson for the kids to see just what life was really like for most back in the day and it could make them appreciate more what they have now. It’s also good for learning history!  



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