Dreaming of a tight Christmas

Christians Against Poverty with Julian Berkeley. It’s that time of year when the mounting hope for snow reaches its peak (if you’re under the age of ten, that is!). But what with the […]

Christians Against Poverty with Julian Berkeley.

It’s that time of year when the mounting hope for snow reaches its peak (if you’re under the age of ten, that is!).

But what with the pressure to make the presents mount up too, we’ve compiled some tips on how to save the pennies for that snow-induced heating bill… and a merry Christmas all round!

1. Set yourself a budget: It’s tempting to ‘collect bits’ as and when you see them, but people tend to overspend as they forget what they’ve bought. Writing a list and setting aside a couple of dates on which to go Christmas-shopping will also help you stick to your budget.

2. Be honest with your friends: Tell them it’s been a tough year and suggest that, instead of presents, you all have a nice meal together where each person brings a dish. Quality time together is something money can’t buy.

3. Buy shared presents: If you have several children of similar age, consider buying a bigger present that they can all enjoy. And if you buy second-hand you could save hundreds of pounds.

4. Food saving stamps: In the lead up to Christmas, buying saving stamps are a great way to save up for your festive food.

5. Avoid the post box: Why not save on stamps by hand-delivering cards to people in your area? Remember to keep the ones you get to recycle into handmade cards for next year.

6. Try own brand: Supermarkets have come a long way in making own brand food that tastes as good as the named brands, and it’s plenty cheaper (Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert fame is a keen fan of this!).

7. Agree to buy just for the kids: Money is tight for everyone at the moment so most people you know will appreciate a deal like this.

8. Make chocolate truffles: These are quick, easy, and can be mass-produced whilst looking like you’ve put in loads of effort! It’s also a great activity to involve the kids in. Check out a simple recipe.

9. Recycle an outfit: Rather than splashing out on a new party dress, customise an old one: remove sleeves, make it shorter, add a belt and some sequins… Or swap with a friend; that way you’ll have something new without spending a penny.

10. Make candles: Reuse leftover candles and tea lights to melt into new ones for thoughtful (and cheap!) presents or to adorn the house (use a low heat). You can make them even prettier with ribbon or by adding glitter to the wax.

If you’re struggling with debt or have money worries, check out capuk.org or call 0800 328 006 for more information; you don’t need to face it alone. They also run free money management courses to help you budget those bills and save for the future. Visit www.capmoney.org to find one near you.