8 simple ways to save during the festive season
While 'tis the season to be jolly’, the holidays tend to be a time for big spending and as a result, our finances and budgeting skills are often stretched.
In 2018, Deloitte conducted a survey of over 9,000 respondents which concluded that UK consumers are expected to spend 42% more than the European average with spending in many households coming in at approximately £567.
With gifts, food, socialising and travelling high on the expenditure list, The Money Charity has put together their 8 top tips for saving during the festive season. These simple points could help you save more and spend less at one of the busiest and most expensive times of the year!
Don't try to 'keep up with the Joneses'
Avoid festive FOMO by putting together your holiday budget. There is no magic trick to budgeting, it simply comes down to willpower and good planning. But, you might ask, how do you actually set a budget?
Simply look at everything you have coming in, minus your expenditure and what you are left with is your budget for spending. This festive season, check you’ve got enough to make it through; remember that some of your fun and frolics will need to be paid off in January when the bills come through. There tends to be a longer length of time between December and January pay-checks, so you might need to factor this by leaving some wiggle room with your finances at the start of 2020.
Don’t feel pressured into spending more than you can afford during this time (we know there's a lot of social events at this time of year). Be sure to think of your budget as your financial guardrail – keep it updated. Why not start using an online tool to help you get going? Our Budget Builder is a user friendly and easy way to get started.
'I – DEAL - LY' save your pennies and the pounds will look after themselves!
Digging around for deals, special offers and cashback options are all ways in which you can save some dosh. Taking the time to run comparisons on prices of goods and services may take a while but being savvy could save you a lot.
Maximise your student discount! Some will say that Black Friday is their ‘best friend’, as arguably it is the biggest sale leading up to the festive period. But with critics stating that the discounts aren’t always that good and that prices may drop again after... it’s worth bearing in mind that sales may last longer.
Remember to keep an eye on what you can get off with your student discount, which may also work on top of sale prices. However, don’t just buy for the sake of it; take the time to compare goods and always check that it fits in with your budget.
Be loyal babes
What is loyalty? If you know, you know!
Using retail loyalty schemes could be a great way of not spending more cash but instead saving it! Although you would have needed a loyalty card for some retailers for at least a few months to have built up enough points, if you do have one, they are a great way of not physically parting with cash. From Nectar points at Sainsbury’s to taking ‘Advantage’ at Boots, there are lots of different points to spend.
Take a look at the various Apps now available where you can see what points you have to spend and where. And if you don’t have a card for this year, maybe this is a take away for next?
In some cases, students spend a lot of their budget on eating and drinking out at this time of year. And why not? It’s fun and it’s festive! But why not think about the impact this has on your back pocket too?
Have you considered checking which places accept your student discount, whether Groupon has a deal you could use or if cooking a feast at home will help you spend less and save more? Bulk buying and splitting the cost between friends is a big saver and could mean that there’s more grub to go around (and even some leftovers to enjoy over the following days).
Another tip is to keep an eye out for the festive reductions on party foods and dinner party treats; this is a great way to ensure that theres’s a ‘good-to-go meal’ at home!
For many, the holidays are about giving gifts and sharing amongst friends, families and loved ones. Instead of buying individual gifts for everyone, could you avoid buying for the sake of buying and buy one meaningful gift for one person? Aka, Secret Santa!
A limit on what each person can spend means that everyone’s budgets aren’t as stretched and you may get something you really like instead of lots of gifts you don't. Why not try one of the online Secret Santa platforms to get you going? Quick, easy and you can even create wish lists too.
Eco tips 'Yule' love
Help save the planet and your wallet! With the cost of 12 1st Class Christmas stamps at £8.40 (2nd Class £7.32) and a pack of Christmas cards around £4, do you really need to send a card? Could you write and sign joint cards? Maybe you could hand-deliver cards to save on the postage? Or maybe you could you send an e-card and do your own bit towards being environmentally friendly to the Earth.
Could you also cut down on wrapping and packaging? Or opt for biodegradable products too? There are lots of options out there, including where you purchase presents from. Remember to look at the alternatives, keep your budget in mind and shop local.
Coming home for holidays
Travelling home can be expensive at the best of times, especially if you are having to book train and bus tickets. And these prices are only set to go up during the festive season. However, with advance train tickets and their pricing going on sale up to 12 weeks ahead of travel, tickets can be bought up to 61% cheaper so it really is worth planning ahead. Another way which might make it cheaper is buying two singles and not a return – make sure you take the time to compare and find the best deal.
Your student railcard / network railcard will make these train fares even cheaper, so don’t forget to use them when you book your tickets! Also worth a look are the competitions that certain travel operators run during the festive season; hurry before it’s too late!
And to wrap it up...
Make use of the early January sales and winter reductions around the holidays to help buy necessities for the coming year. Often, retailers will start these early to keep us spending and for students you may see increased student discounts on items in certain shops around the time of your Spring loan instalment.
Stay savvy with these; don’t fall for their ‘easy catch’ approach in making you spend unnecessarily. While there may be a bargain to have, always ensure that you aren’t buying for the sake of it, that the deal is a good one and ultimately that you can afford it.
The holidays needn’t be as expensive this year. Making some small changes, starting new, positive financial habits and having oversight of your income and expenditure, can certainly help reduce overall spending.