Christmas Money Saving Tips

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!’

… Said nobody’s wallet, EVER.

For all of its cosy, fairy-tale connotations, Christmas can be a really demanding time. From hosting family members you frankly can’t stand to trying to work out how to cram roast potatoes for 20 people into your tiny oven, the festive season has the potential to bring a whole host of hassle.

Festive finances are perhaps the biggest cause of seasonal stress. It’s fair to say that the ideology of a ‘perfect Christmas’ is often drummed into us through social media.

Over the years, we’ve been led to believe that Christmas won’t be complete without matching family PJs, the finest M&S food, and a log burner roaring away in the corner.

This is not the case. Christmas does not need to be luxurious to be special.

While it may sound cheesy, it’s important to remember that Christmas is largely built on imagination, magic, and memories – all things you cannot buy.

We’ve put together some tips on how to make the most of the season, while reaping the rewards of minimal impact to your savings. Check you out, you festive frugalite!

Moneyless magic

  1. Flour footprints
  2. This age-old trick is sure to enchant the kids. Spread some plain flour on the floor by the tree and walk through it to create ‘snowy’ footprints.

  3. Sleigh Bells
  4. Ever wondered what to do with those discarded Lindt bunny bells? Save them for some Christmas creativity! On Christmas Eve, pop one in the garden where it can be discovered as a fallen bell from Santa’s sleigh in the morning. Not a Lindt lover? You can buy a packet of gold bells on sites such as Amazon for as little as £1.95.

  5. FAO Father Christmas, North Pole
  6. Who recalls the thrill of posting their Christmas list to Santa? Standing on tiptoes to reach the post box, eyes squeezed tightly shut in excited anticipation? In the past, adding a real stamp gave the whole experience an authentic feel, however, we’re sadly aware of the cost of stamps nowadays! Adding a special Christmas sticker is a good alternative (sheets of Christmas stickers can usually be found in shops like Hobby Craft, from around £1).

  7. Love from, Santa
  8. If you’ve got kids, the chances are that you will probably have very little spare time throughout December! If you do find a free window, writing a letter back to your kids ‘from Santa’ and posting it through your own front door will really leave them spellbound. Parents – there could also be something in this for you, too! Want the kids to wash up more, or tidy their room? They might just take notice of the big fella’ in red! Example: ‘Children who tidy their rooms are more likely to get a visit from me.’ A genius tactic? We think so!

  9. Navigate St Nick
  10. For a free, immersive activity the whole family can enjoy, head over to Google’s Santa Tracker. As well as games, quizzes and jokes, there is also a live countdown to Christmas (at our exact time of writing this on 4th September 2023, it is currently 110 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes and 29 seconds until Christmas!). The main event, of course, takes place on Christmas Eve, where live tracking becomes available and allows you to follow Santa’s epic journey across the world.
    You can also track Santa via the Norad Santa site.

DIY decorations

  1. Cheap and cheerful
  2. You don’t need to fork out a small fortune for beautiful decs. Decide on a colour scheme (are you more of a classic red and green or are you fancying a daring dash of pink this Christmas?) and check out pound and discount shops. Bumper packets of things like baubles can also be located on eBay. While it’s important to remember that eBay is a live marketplace and listings and prices are subject to change, we found a 24-pack of brand new red baubles for £3.18, with free postage!

  3. Jolly in January
  4. Come January, many of us have had quite enough of Christmas however, snapping up discounted decorations in the sales is something your future self will most likely thank you for! This may be an especially effective idea for pricier items, such as fairy lights.

  5. Deck the halls
  6. With boughs of holly – literally! Don your gardening gloves and head into the woods to gather some free decorations in the form of fir tree branches, pinecones, and sprigs of holly. These fresh beauties will look absolutely stunning strewn across the mantlepiece or arranged into a wild ‘n’ wonderful centrepiece for Christmas dinner.
    Of course, make sure you’re not hacking down any protected plants (such as National Trust property), or someone’s prized garden shrubs!

  7. Homemade is where the heart is
  8. When putting your tree up, which decorations make you smile the most? Is it the fancy glass baubles, or the wonky salt dough robin your child made several years ago?
    Homemade decorations really embody the everlasting spirit of Christmas and provide an instant hit of nostalgia as the years pass by. The best thing about homemade decorations is that they are totally bespoke – nobody else in the world is going to have that one-eyed angel with the green hair!
    Learn how to make salt dough decorations here.

Economical eating

  1. Say bye to the bird!
  2. Sometimes, it feels as though turkey is the only feasible option for Christmas dinner. Seriously, tell another British person that you’re thinking of having pizza on Christmas Day and watch their face fall in horror!
    Why is this a thing?! While turkey is considered ‘traditional,’ it is certainly not a necessity. For one, turkey is not cheap! Secondly, you end up with masses of leftovers, and there’s only so much turkey soup you can force upon people between Christmas and New Year!
    You can have whatever you want for Christmas dinner. You can have chicken, pork, lamb, a cheese and onion pie, tofu stir fry… Yes, you can even have pizza.

  3. Perfectly portioned
  4. If you do fancy turkey, but you’re not fond of the going rate, could you maybe consider buying packets of sliced, pre-cooked turkey instead?
    This might be something to think about if you are catering for a smaller number of people.
    A medium turkey crown from Aldi costs £19.49, whereas a packet of six slices of cooked turkey breast is priced at £1.69.
    (Prices correct as of 5th September 2023.)

  5. ‘Tis the season for loyalty
  6. Have you got any Tesco Club Card or Nectar points stored up? Why not use them towards your big Christmas food shop to help cut the cost? Most supermarkets have their own loyalty scheme, such as Morrisons More and Asda Rewards. It’s not too late to sign up to a scheme now and start saving for your festive treats.

  7. Make a list and check it twice!
  8. The supermarket aisles are full of temptation in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
    Mini stollen bites? Don’t mind if we do!
    Mince pies? Grab four boxes!
    Reindeer shaped pretzels? Um, YES!
    Christmas pudding? No-one in the house likes it, but it would be rude not to have one in, wouldn’t it?! Even though you know full well that you’ll end up binning it in March, unopened…
    Make a list before you head out to do your Crimbo food shop so you’re not lured in by needless novelties.

  9. Host with the most
  10. Have hosting duties fallen on you this year?
    How many are you cooking for?
    You have our full sympathy!
    Remember though, just because you’re the delegated host, it doesn’t mean others can’t share the responsibilities, especially when it comes to funding the big day dinner. Assign an essential foodie item to each guest, such as the pigs in blankets, a delicious pudding, or even the Christmas crackers, and ask them to bring it along.

Penny-wise presents

  1. Set a budget
  2. When it comes to present buying, it can be hard not to go overboard. Many of us will have experienced that heart-sinking feeling when you spread your presents out on the floor ready for wrapping and suddenly feel as though you haven’t bought enough. Cue a frenzied dash to the shops for a last-minute panic buy. Next thing you know, you’re £100 down with bagfuls of bath bombs, novelty socks, and Lynx Africa sets.
    To avoid this situation, try to write down exactly what everyone wants way in advance, set yourself a budget, and stick to it.

  3. Family fortunes
  4. Better still, why not organise a family secret Santa?! This way, everyone receives a present, while saving money at the same time – winner!
    Got family far away who aren’t able to physically pick a name out? No problem! The free Draw Names app allocates your secret Santa online.
    Some families also cut Christmas costs by only buying for the children.

  5. Savvy Santa

    Giving and receiving presents is undeniably a big part of Christmas for many.
    In December 2022, a survey revealed that Britons expected to spend around £300 on Christmas presents alone.
    Gifting doesn’t need to break the bank to be appreciated.
    Sure, it’s great to unwrap a box of your favourite perfume or aftershave, but what really raises smiles are the personalised presents – the presents someone has clearly put a lot of time and thought into.

    Here are some sweet ideas to give you some inspiration:

    • A scrap book full of photos, quotes and in-jokes. Scrap books can be purchased from shops such as The Works for as little as £3, and the FreePrints app allows you to order up to 45 free photos a month - you just need to pay for delivery, which costs up to £3.99.
    • Homemade cookies, bakes, and jams.
    • IOU tokens. Some top examples include a delicious homecooked meal for your parents in the new year, a promise to cover babysitting duties for friends so they can enjoy a night out together, or even just a solemn declaration that you will be on ‘bin duty’ for the whole of January to spare your partner of the task.
    • A jar of memories. Fill an empty jar (these can be found at Hobby Craft for around £1.50) with folded pieces of paper, each one containing a memory that you are the present receiver have shared together.

  6. Boots points
  7. With a Boots Advantage Card, you will earn three points for every £1 you spend in store and online. These points can be used against purchases, as long the total cost of the transaction is less than the number of points collected.
    Saving points up for Christmas could be a savvy method of seasonal spending. Boots also traditionally offer a 3-for-2 deal on selected items throughout the store, with the cheapest item being free.

  8. Buy ahead for next Christmas!
  9. Again, we apologise for already talking about NEXT Christmas, but taking advantage of the January sales could help to slash your budget when the festivities roll around again.
    Shops such as Boots, Superdrug, and Primark will likely put unsold Christmas gifts into their sales in the new year.
    If you are planning to buy for next Christmas, just make sure that items are non-perishable. Take note of the use-by dates on any food products, and check the expiry date on toiletries.

Cards on the cheap

  1. Merry making
  2. Are you a dab-hand with a pencil?
    Got a secret talent for painting?
    Is your child a whizz at whipping up cute crafts?
    Have a go at making your own Christmas cards instead of buying them. You can guarantee that Grandparents in particular will treasure a special homemade card.

  3. Banish the stamp duty!
  4. Could you save money on stamps by hand delivering your cards instead?

  5. Play your cards right!
  6. We’ve talked about the benefits of the January sales, and this handy hack also extends to Christmas cards. Come New Year, the price of packets of Christmas cards comes right down as shops shed their stock. Grab yourself a bargain and put them away for next Christmas.

  7. Break tradition
  8. Sending Christmas cards can sometimes feel like a chore, and a pricey one at that! There is no written rule that says you have to send cards at Christmas. There are other things you can do to show your friends and family you care. Why not pick up the phone and give them a call instead? Phone calls are a dying trend in the digital age, but you can’t really beat the therapy of a good natter with your bestie, can you?
    You could even take things back to the 2020 lockdown era and organise a virtual Christmas quiz with your mates instead!

  9. E-Card efficient
  10. You can send Christmas cards online for free via various websites and apps, including Kisseo.

Frugal firs

  1. Faux pass
  2. When it comes to Christmas trees, we all have our preferences as to whether we prefer real or fake. The smell of a real tree is divine, but you’ll likely spend half of December hoovering up fallen pine needles. Real trees may also set your seasonal budget back. In 2022, the average cost of a real Christmas tree was approximately £88. Also bear in mind that this tree will only be in your home for around four weeks.
    If looked after, artificial trees can last between 10-20 years (we found this guide to maintaining artificial trees really useful).
    Fake trees can be picked up from many major high street stores and supermarkets. We found some on Argos’s website for as little as £12!

  3. Rent-a-tree
  4. If you have your heart on a real tree but can’t justify spending the money, have you thought about renting a one instead? Do a Google search to locate companies offering this service in your local area.

  5. Substituted season’s greetings

    Not feeling a traditional tree this year?
    Check out these cool alternatives:

    • A houseplant, draped in fairy lights.
    • Bookworm? Google ‘book Christmas tree’ for the quirkiest, most incredible designs!
    • Pop some of your foraged fir branches in a vase and add a few tiny baubles for a tree-replacement that’s both stylish and understated.
    • Christmas cards tacked to the wall in the outline of a tree, with presents arranged underneath.

Costless Customs

  1. New beginnings
  2. Sometimes, our finances can temporarily prevent us from living life the way we’d perhaps like to.
    If money is tighter now than ever before, be open and honest with family. We understand that it can be really tough to admit when you’re struggling, but there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Opening up may help to erase any expectations and alleviate some of the pressure.
    Monetary worries may result in Christmas looking a little different. Rather than beating yourself up about this, try to embrace the opportunity to establish some new traditions.
    For example, if you usually take the kids to the cinema on Christmas Eve, plan a cosy festive film night at home instead:

  • PJs? Check (you can’t wear those at the cinema!)
  • Duvet? Check!
  • Popcorn? Check!
  • The Grinch? Check!

Glad tidings and glad wallets

It’s Christmas Eve.

The presents are wrapped and the fridge is stocked - whether it’s full of turkey or pizza is your business, and we’re not judging you! Although, pizza and a Home Alone marathon on Christmas Day does sound absolute perfection to us!

You’re with loved ones, wearing mismatched pyjamas (matching sets are overrated in our opinion!), tucking into a tin of delicious homemade mince pies. Who needs M&S when yours taste just as good, if not better?!

Elf is on the TV.

The kids are chattering away excitedly, arranging cookies and carrots on a plate for Santa and Rudolph. They’re adamant that they want to stay up late, but they’re already tiring after your afternoon walk around the town admiring the Christmas lights.

THIS is what it’s all about. The true spirit of Christmas costs nothing.

Whether you’re keeping family traditions alive or creating new ones, we hope you and your loved ones enjoy a relaxing Christmas and make memories that you’ll fondly recall in years to come.

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