Suggest Secret Santa

Picking a present for just one family member could also be an option for some.

“Although many of us would only think about Secret Santa for co-workers or large groups of friends, Secret Santa is an ideal way for the adults of the family to give gifts,” Ms Laidlaw suggested.

“If a maximum price is set in advance this can be an effective way of keeping costs down and you can focus your time on getting one perfect gift. It also means you’re more likely to receive a present you truly need or like, rather than lots of little stocking fillers.

“There are a range of sites online where you can get great discounts on experiences for two – meaning you can enjoy the gift for yourself too!”

Switch for a better deal

“Many of us obediently pay our bills throughout the year and not give it a second thought. However, checking to see if you’re still on the best deal or switching to a different provider could make all the difference this Christmas,” Ms Laidlaw pointed out.

“Look into switching energy provider, broadband, TV package, gas and electric company or even your gym. If you’re happy with your current provider but see a better deal being offered somewhere else, don’t be afraid to haggle.

“Keep an eye out for any bank switching incentives, with several banks now offering a cash incentive to attract new customers. This bonus can be as much as £175 and could go towards present buying or be a personal gift to yourself. Alternatively, you could lock it away in a savings account to save spare cash for next year’s Christmas fund.”

This week, the Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis told Warm Home Discount recipients to make a simple check before switching energy supplier.

Make travel plans in advance

Whether a person is driving home for Christmas or taking the train, planning ahead could help with sticking to a budget.

Ms Laidlaw said: “When it comes to travelling home to families for Christmas, train ticket prices can rocket during the height of the festive season.

“Tickets for December are already out so book now to save yourself a small fortune. The price of a ticket could more than double between now and then, so it is worth being organised.

“If you end up leaving it until the last minute because you aren’t sure of your plans yet you could carpool with a group of friends heading in the same direction and split the cost of petrol.

“If you’re flying home to see family in the UK, there are ways to save here too. Booking hold luggage will bump up the price of your flight but sending your belongings ahead with courier companies before flying can be a much cheaper alternative. This could come in particularly handy if families are travelling together or you’ve got students coming home for Christmas.”

Dine in for less

From the turkey to the cheese board, Christmas dinner can be expensive, however there may be ways to lower expenses, as Ms Laidlaw pointed out.

“Stocking up on food well before Christmas and freezing it might save a few pounds and prevents you having to put yourself through the Christmas Eve free for all at the supermarket.

“Embrace the own brand wonderland that is discount supermarkets which could save you a significant sum of money. They have some seriously good buys on the food and presents front.

“Getting the drinks in for the festive period can cost a fair amount all on its own. It’s worth having a look online at what’s on offer and where to guarantee the best deals.”

Think about next Christmas

Many may have had more than enough of shopping by the time January comes around, however with sales often being hosted in this month, it could be a good opportunity to bag a bargain.

Ms Laidlaw said: “While it might seem very premature to start planning for next year’s Christmas while this one isn’t even here yet, some of the best bargains can be found in the January sales so why not make a start on shopping at least as soon as your tinsel comes down.

“Buy Christmas gifts for others and/or items for yourself that you know you will need and make a wish list to ensure you aren’t distracted from all the bargain prices. By starting early, you could save hundreds by the time Christmas 2020 comes around.

“You could also consider putting away a little bit of spare cash into a savings account each month. By the time Christmas comes around it will have accumulated into a sizeable sum.”


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