58 Christmas money-saving tips – How to save money for Xmas 2019
Christmas seems to come around quicker every year, and with so much money thrown around during the festive season, we thought we’d share a few tips for saving money this Christmas in 2019.
From re-gifting to earning cashback, this money-saving guide is sure to save you a fortune, leaving you with a healthy bank balance going into 2020.
#1 – Set a budget, and stick to it!
Over half of UK shoppers expect to go over budget this Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you have to.
Set a budget that includes spending limits on presents, food, drink, decorations and everything else you need and don’t even think about spending more. We know this may not be as easy as it sounds, but it is, without doubt, the best way to save money!
#2 – Start early
The later you leave your Christmas shopping, the more likely you are to ‘panic buy’ – this usually results in buying overpriced, yet somewhat underwhelming gifts.
By starting early, you give yourself plenty of time to find out exactly what you want to buy and who you want to buy it for. Starting earlier will help you spread the cost of Christmas over more months, minimizing the inevitable December struggle.
#3 – Make a note
Continuing the theme of starting early, there’s no reason that you can’t plan for Christmas throughout the entire year.
If you’re shopping with your other half and they spot a perfume or aftershave that they love, pop it in the ‘notes’ app in your phone. That way, when it comes to buying Christmas presents, you’ll never be stuck for ideas.
#4 – Get creative
Homemade gifts are underrated in the modern-day, as they can sometimes be the most cherished.
When making a homemade gift, it is important that you play to your strengths. Love baking? Whip up a cake! An excellent artist? You could paint a picture of a family pet. The possibilities are endless.
#5 – Seeing friends or family after Christmas? Hold off on the shopping!
If you have friends or family that you won’t be seeing until after Christmas, you may be able to pick them something up in the Boxing Day sales.
This can be a bit risky as there’s no guarantee that you’ll find them a suitable gift, but if you do, it’s almost certain to be a lot cheaper.
#6 – Do your Christmas shopping online
The majority of people will already do this, and with good reason.
By shopping online, you’re able to easily compare prices with several retailers, ensuring that you always find the best price.
#7 – Use Christmas saving vouchers
No matter what you’re buying, when shopping online, you should always search for a voucher code before completing your purchase.
Most websites have a promo/discount code text box on the checkout page and they won’t always promote these codes on their site.
You don’t have to be a student to get discount - sites like VoucherCodes and VoucherCloud have hundreds of codes that anybody can use – you can even use some of them in-store!
#8 – Take advantage of student savings
If you’re a student then we’re sure you already know all about student discount sites like UNIDAYS and Student Beans – but if you’re not, then there’s no shame in asking for a helping hand.
If you have a child, nephew, grandchild, godchild, sibling or simply know somebody who is currently studying at college or university, drop them a text and ask if they have a student discount code you can use – they aren’t locked to a specific user and can sometimes save you up to 40%!
#9 – Gift a charity donation
You could argue that Christmas won’t be Christmas without presents, but for some people, this heartfelt gift could go a lot further.
If you know of somebody who has a charity close to their heart or is raising money for an upcoming event that they’re taking part in, it’s almost guaranteed that they’d prefer this to a pair of novelty socks!
#10 – Spread the spend on dinner
If you’re having the family around for Christmas dinner then you shouldn’t be expected to fund it all yourself.
One of our top tips to save money on Christmas dinner is to delegate; ask your sister to bring the turkey, your brother to supply beverages and your parents the dessert. If everybody spends a little, you’ll build up an entire Christmas feast before you know it.
#11 – Pick up decorations AFTER Christmas
You may not be able to make full use of them this year, but by picking up some Christmas decs early into the New Year, you could make some huge savings for Christmas 2020!
Major retailers are keen to get rid of their excess stock and will sell baubles, Christmas trees and more at a fraction of their retail price.
#12 – Try your hand at comping
If you have a bit of spare time on your hands, why not try out comping? Comping entails entering a range of free competitions (like the ones we host on Bobatoo’s Facebook page) in the hope that you get lucky.
If you enter enough of them then you’re sure to win at some point, with prizes ranging from cutlery sets to luxury getaways.
#13 – Shop at discount supermarkets
Since the UK recession more than a decade ago, budget supermarkets have been springing up all over the place – and contrary to popular belief, the food you can buy there is just as good!
In fact, the majority of the food at stores like Aldi and Lidl is identical to that sold at higher prices elsewhere – besides, these stores tend to have some really cool and more unique Christmas food ideas like giant pigs in blankets, Christmas tree-shaped roast potatoes and chocolate baubles!
#14 – Don’t be scared to re-gift
It’s seen as a crime to some, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with re-gifting something that you’ve never even opened.
Presents like candles and gift sets often go unopened throughout the year, making them perfect, free gifts to give to loved ones the following Christmas – perhaps make a note of who gave you what, as you probably won’t want to give Auntie Jane the bath bomb set she bought you last year!
#15 – Save your big spends until Black Friday
We’ve already advised you to start shopping early so this may sound contradictory, but for your big spends (games consoles, computers, TVs, etc.), it’s worth waiting until Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
High-street stores will slash their prices on Black Friday before the focus shifts online retailers for Cyber Monday, so keep your eyes peeled for some great deals.
#16 – Use cashback websites
The money can take a few months to enter your account, so think of it as less of a discount and more of a potential bonus – perhaps you could put the money you save towards next Christmas?
#17 – Scrap unnecessary presents
Martin Lewis (Money Saving Expert) ran a campaign in 2018 to prevent people from buying gifts for unnecessary recipients.
Giving somebody a gift often creates the obligation for them to give you one back, and quite often, this has a knock-on effect on the other people they buy for, too. Keep the gifts to close friends and family and cut back your Christmas shopping list.
#18 – Don’t take your kids shopping
Not only is it stressful, but you know they’ll come home with an endless list of things they simply must have from Santa this Christmas.
Try to leave the kids at home when you’re shopping over the festive period to limit the impulse buying of toys that, in reality, will never be used.
#19 – Complete a ‘decoration audit’
Before rushing out to the shops to pick up new trees, tinsel and fairy lights, complete a full list of what you already have at home.
These decorations are only up for a few weeks at a time, so they should be okay to use again year after year.
#20 – Wear the same dress/shirt twice
You don’t have to buy something new to wear to the office Christmas party every single year, you’re bound to have something at the back of your wardrobe that you didn’t even know was there!
Nobody will realise that it isn’t brand new and, quite frankly, nobody will care too much, either.
#21 – Gift a homemade Christmas hamper
Another one of our favourite ideas for Christmas gifting is to create your own Christmas hamper. This can be filled with previously unwanted presents and cheap (ish) food, drink and other treats that you know the recipient will love.
There are some great Christmas hamper ideas on Amazon, where you can pick up a wicker hamper gift set for just £12.99.
#22 – Spend your loyalty points
You’ve spent the whole year building up loyalty points from your favourite stores, so what better time to spend them than at Christmas?
Triple the value of your Tesco Clubcard vouchers by gifting a trip to one of the UK’s top attractions or use your Boots Advantage points to buy your partner their favourite perfume or aftershave.
#23 – Check your spam folder
Believe it or not, the spam folder on your email account can be a goldmine full of genuine discounts from stores that you’ve visited previously.
If you signed up to their marketing list (whether you realised it or not) then you might receive some great discount codes straight to your inbox.
#24 – Avoid high-end card stores
Less and less people are buying Christmas cards, but if you still do, avoid the notoriously expensive card shops and supermarkets, where they cash-in on the festive season.
Pound stores often stock cheap Christmas cards, and you should also consider buying cards in bulk – if you don’t use them all this year, they can be saved until next Christmas!
#25 – Avoid expensive treats
Sweet treats like chocolate are often a go-to gift at Christmas time, but these bars of dairy goodness are often overpriced!
There’s enough of the good stuff around at Christmas time as it is and, once the festive season dies down, many people are trying to get back into shape anyway.
#26 – Don’t be scared to look abroad
Even with delivery charges, some gifts are cheaper to buy from abroad. Websites like Wish.com sell novelty goods, most of which are shipped from China, at a fraction of the price that you’d get them for on the high-street.
Leave plenty of time for them to be delivered, though – they are coming from the other side of the world, after all.
#27 – Do a family-style secret Santa
Secret Santa is a popular office tradition, but why should the fun be confined to your workplace?
Get together with family members and draw names from a hat; each person only has to buy one gift, saving both stress and money! You can set a budget, too, so nobody feels hard done by.
#28 – Don’t be fooled by fancy gift sets
They’re a staple part of most Christmas shopping lists, but don’t be tricked into overspending on gift sets.
More often than not, you’re paying a premium for the festive packaging and the included items are cheaper to buy separately.
#29 – Set up a standing order
By automatically transferring a small amount of money every week into a savings account, you’ll have a large sum of money to spend on all things Christmas come the end of the year.
Saving £10 a week will leave you with almost £500 at the end of the year, which is more than enough to get at least some of your shopping done!
#30 – Use a credit card when spending over £100
This might not save you money initially, but if you order something which arrives damaged (or doesn’t arrive at all) that cost you over £100, you’ll get extra protection from your credit card provider.
You can find out more about credit card protection here.
#31 – Plan your travelling in advance
If you’re travelling by rail, road or air this Christmas, make sure you plan in advance.
Rail operators tend to offer their cheapest tickets when they first go on sale (around 10-12 weeks prior), while hotel prices will also shoot up as you rush to book something at the very last minute.
#32 – Get a free next day delivery with Amazon
If you don’t already have an Amazon Prime membership, you can take out an Amazon Prime free trial to see you through the Christmas period.
This will give you access to Amazon’s next day delivery service as well as Amazon Prime Video, which is bound to be showing some Christmas classics over the festive period. Cancel your trial immediately after taking it out so you’re not charged when it expires – you’ll still be able to use it until your free trial expires, though.
#33 – Sign up to other free trials
Amazon isn’t the only company that offers free trials – you can reap the benefits of loads more paid services over Christmas without paying a penny.
Get a Spotify free trial to fill your December with festive bangers, a Netflix free trial to cuddle up with your favourite Christmas film or an Audible free trial to indulge in some seasonal audiobooks.
#34 – Get end-of-line discounts at outlet stores
There are various outlet villages dotted all around the country, but if there isn’t one near you, you can still get some great deals on old stock.
Companies like Argos, Currys PC World, Ann Summers and more sell old stock on their official eBay stores, while fashion brands like Superdry and Jack Wills both have official outlet websites.
#35 – Cut delivery costs by shipping online
If sending a parcel weighing more than 2kg, you can save money by using cheap online parcel delivery services instead of Royal Mail.
Courier services like DHL and Parcelforce will ship your gift for a portion of the price, and you’ll be able to track it using their dedicated smartphone app.
#36 – Don’t pay cinema or theatre prices
Whether you’re settling down to watch a festive film or annual pantomime, food and drink on sale at cinemas and theatres is notoriously expensive.
Pick up some goodies from a pound shop en route and you’re almost guaranteed to save at least 50%! Contrary to popular belief, most of these establishments have no problem with you bringing your own food and drink.
#37 – Buy an artificial Christmas tree
Real Christmas trees are great, but they come at a cost.
You can pick up some pretty realistic artificial trees for a decent price on Amazon, which can be reused year-after-year.
#38 – Don’t be stung by international calls
Whether you’re away for the festive season or calling abroad to wish relatives a Merry Christmas, avoid hefty charges for international calls by using Skype, Facetime or other services that allow you to call using just WiFi.
When calling from a foreign country, try to connect to WiFi or check your mobile phone contract to see if you get free international calls.
#39 – Visit a car boot sale
Whether you’re picking up somebody else’s unwanted presents or selling on your own, a car boot sale is a great way to make (or save) some extra cash over Christmas.
Check online where your closest boot sale is located – most cities run them regularly, but you may need to book your place.
#40 – Switch to own-brand
While you’re in money-saving mode over Christmas, why not try switching to your local supermarket’s own-brand alternatives?
These are always cheaper than branded goods and buying locally can help you save money all-year-round.
#41 – Always go frozen
It is almost always cheaper to buy a frozen turkey than it is a fresh one and, unless you’re a turkey connoisseur, you’re unlikely to taste the difference.
Make sure you get it out of the freezer in plenty of time for it to defrost – this will depend on the size of your bird, but it should be stated clearly on the packaging.
#42 – Don’t go overboard on food
When stocking up on 5 bags of roast potatoes for your family of 4 to enjoy, think twice about whether they will actually get eaten.
Remember, the shops are only closed for one day. As long as you have enough to get you through Christmas Dinner, you can always pop out for extras on Boxing Day.
#43 – Reuse gift bags
If somebody gives you a present in a gift bag, don’t even think about throwing it away!
Rip off the name tag (if there is one) and save it to put somebody else’s presents in next year.
#44 – Change up your Christmas traditions
You may have a tradition of going to the theatre at Christmas time, or perhaps going bowling with the children, but while these are great fun, it can be expensive.
Children’s Christmas entertainment can be found right on your door step by simply wandering around your neighbourhood to admire the Christmas lights on show, or even visiting your local garden centre, which are usually kitted out with some great Christmas decorations - just don’t be seduced into buying them!
#46 – Presents are for giving, not keeping
We’re sure you’ll be getting plenty of presents from your loved ones, so don’t waste money by buying stuff for yourself.
Not only is this a huge annoyance to anybody that is scratching their heads wondering what to get you, but it’s also money that you don’t need to spend. Add it to your list and, if you’re lucky, it might appear under your tree on December 25th!
#47 – Don’t forget your shopping bags
We all know how bad plastic shopping bags are for the environment, but they’re no good for your bank account either!
Remember to always take your ‘bag for life’ with you when hitting the shops – plastic bags might only cost 10p, but every penny counts in the build up to Christmas.
#48 – Don’t let FOMO ruin your Christmas
Most people have a number of Christmas gatherings throughout December, be that with colleagues, friends or family, but don’t be scared to say ‘no’.
If you genuinely can’t afford to go out, there’s no reason to be embarrassed – Christmas is an expensive time of year and sometimes, there are other expenses that come first! Once the FOMO (fear of missing out) passes, you’ll be grateful. Why not invite your friends over for a cheaper night in?
#49 – Christmas holidaying
Just because you’ve always spent Christmas abroad, it doesn’t mean you can’t have just as much fun in your own home.
Circumstances change and, some years, you may not be able to afford a Christmas holiday – stick around your home town instead and you’ll be surprised how much a little Christmas spirit can change your perspective.
#50 – Advent calendars are small treats, nothing more
It seems that some advent calendars have gone from daily, heartfelt messages to expensive, over-the-top alternatives in the past few years!
Even branded advent calendars cost as little as £1, so there really isn’t any need to spend in excess of £50 on one – unless that’s instead of a gift on Christmas day, of course.
#51 – Christmas pyjamas, do you really need them?
One of the most common UK Christmas traditions is to have a fresh set of pyjamas every year, but when you think about it, it’s not really necessary.
Instead, why not have a set that you put away every year? That way, you get the excitement of whipping out your Christmas pyjamas without needing to splash out on a new pair.
#52 – Scrap the stocking fillers
Many children open their stockings before getting to their main Christmas presents, but what started as a bit of fruit in a sock has now got a little out of hand.
Why spend a fortune on pointless novelty gifts that you know are just going to be thrown away? It’s terrible for the environment and not great for your finances, either. Go back to basics with a pair of socks and some snacks, or scrap the stocking fillers all together.
Want a clever hint? Stock up on excess Halloween goodies at the beginning of November and fill a decent sized stocking for just pennies!
#53 – Combine your online orders
Most online retailers will offer free shipping when you spend over a certain amount, so while you shouldn’t overspend just to get that free shipping, you should certainly be wise with what you’re buying.
Why make 2 separate orders of £15 (plus £2.99 shipping) when you can make one order of £30 and benefit from a ‘free shipping for orders over £25’ deal – that way, you’re saving yourself almost £6!
#54 – Homemade isn’t always cheaper
Specifically with things like cakes and puddings, it usually works out more expensive to make them yourself instead of picking them up at the store.
By the time you’ve picked up all of the ingredients, there won’t be too much of a price difference, but if you enjoy baking then feel free to bake your own cake, but don’t do it just to save money!
#55 – Don’t buy just because its cheap
If you see a great deal for something you need to buy, excellent, snap it up while you can; but don’t buy it just because its cheap.
No matter how much you’re saving, you’ll still be spending some money on it if you put it in your trolley.
#56 – Recreate your favourite festive drinks
Rather than spending £4 a pop at your local café, why not learn to make your own festive hot chocolate or latte?
You can pick up instant hot chocolate and coffee sachets of all flavours from most supermarkets – throw in a few marshmallows and you’ve got the perfect hot drink for a night in front of the TV, or a catch up with friends.
#57 – Ditch the turkey
Okay, we know you’re mad at us for even suggesting this, but if you only have a small family then buying a turkey crown or swapping a turkey for a chicken (or other meat) can save you money by avoiding the hefty Christmas mark-up.
If you are buying turkey, why not avoid a whole one and pick up some turkey breast steaks or fillets instead?
#58 – Avoid expensive Christmas crackers
The contents of a Christmas cracker is never really the highlight, is it? As long as you have a tacky joke and paper hat, that should be enough!
Luckily, these Christmas cracker must-haves come in even the cheapest of products, so there really is no need to go all out.
Whatever your plans are this Christmas, the team at Bobatoo hope you have a very merry one!
And if you need more money-saving tips and advice for Xmas 2019, check out our related articles below.