8 quick ways to save cash for Christmas
So who better to give tips to save money before Christmas? As well as me, of course ;-), there are plenty of firms out there that earn money from saving consumers money.
I like these tips from money saving specialist Gareth Robinson who heads up www.discountvouchers.co.uk, a site that offers discount vouchers and impartial money saving advice. Here are his top 8 tips on how to save cash in time for Christmas Day, with of course, a few of my own comments.
1. Go online
Get into the mind-set that you don’t need to pay full price for anything. If you see something you want, note the brand, the name, the barcode – then get online and search until you find it online somewhere cheaper. You may find a free delivery code, or a code for 10%, 20% or more off. Users of discount code sites save on average £1200 a year.
Mrs BH says: This is a golden rule, thanks Gareth. I don’t buy without checking for a discount code, especially on high ticket items.
2. Make your own lunch
A bit of forward planning with your lunches can really help you to cut costs and you don’t have to be an aspiring chef to make this happen. Every time you nip to the deli or supermarket at lunch time and pick up the ready-made sandwiches, salads and expensive coffees you are paying a premium. Home-made soups are really cheap and healthy. Buy fruit and vegetables in bulk, blend them and take them to work.
Mrs BH says: I only have bought in lunch once a week and at £7 – 8 from M&S for a wrap/salad/sushi, sarni, cake, crisps, I am so glad I make my own the other four days.
3. Cash not card
One of the easiest ways to fritter away your money without even realising is by paying for everything on your debit card. Most places don’t have a minimum card spend anymore so it’s easy to keep swiping your card for those small purchases. Add those up over the course of a month and you will be shocked at how much you’ve spent. Start withdrawing a set amount of cash from your bank account after pay day and budget how much you want to spend from now until Christmas, and then leave your card at home! It’s not as easy to hand over real cash instead of plastic each time you make an impulse buy and you’ll be surprised how much you save.
4. Stop wasting food
According to a recent report on food waste, an average family is wasting around £700 a year on food they simply throw away. We all like a ‘3 for 2’ and ‘buy one, get one free’ offer but don’t be swayed into buying food you didn’t really want or need as it will just end up in the bin. Fresh food is the main culprit, so avoid multi-buy promotions on large packs of bagged salads and fruits.
5. Look good for less
You don’t have to let your looks suffer this festive season to save. Most cities have a walk in hairdressers which means you can pay £10 for your cut and blow dry instead of £50. Find your hair and beauty salons on Facebook and Twitter – most run special offers directly through their social media sites, so you can still look fabulous and save money. Your next cut could save you an extra £40 to go into your Christmas kitty!
Mrs BH says: and don’t forget your local colleges for cheap beauty treatments.
6. Say no to week day wine time
If you enjoy a large glass of wine every night of the week, you could be spending over £56 a month, based on a £7 bottle of wine.
Mrs BH says: guess there will be plenty of parties, so I will still get my intake even if I give up the weekday wine in the run up to Xmas.
7. Stop smoking
Quit smoking and start saving! According to ash.com (action on smoking and health) a 20-a-day smoker of a premium brand will spend almost £3,000 a year on their habit.
Mrs BH says: it’s a toughie but a great bit of advice. I have asked a friend to write me a post about savings made from giving up…coming soon.
8. Get an app for that!
Yes, you do need an app when saving! There are lots of mobile apps that can help you save money. Have a look on your mobile app site and download the (free) apps that let you keep a mobile record of how much you are saving by giving up your vices. Be honest and input all your expenses and you will soon have proof of how much cash you are totting up, which will encourage you to save even more.
If you haven’t done so already – download a messaging app that lets you talk on your mobile for free. Whatsapp, BlackBerry Messenger and Viber are just some of the popular mobile apps that avoid the cost of a text message and let you chat to your contacts for free even if they live outside of the UK – just make sure you’re in Wi-Fi zone and start typing.
Mrs BH says: I have Viber, it’s cool and great when you are abroad.