Christmas is just a few weeks away which means that many people will already be in the process of buying presents for friends and family members. This winter, however, the cost of living crisis means that everyone’s bank balances are feeling a pinch.
The festive period is often a costly time for families, but this year’s pressures will make it an even bigger worry. According to a survey by the Salvation Army, two thirds of adults are worrying whether they will even be able to afford a Christmas dinner.
There are plenty of ways to save money and still have a merry Christmas. With that in mind, Martin Lewis has shared a number of useful money-saving tips in his latest newsletter.
Get a free letter from Santa
The Royal Mail provides free letters from Santa for children (and possibly adults!), but time is running out. To use the service, get your little one to send a letter with their full name and address by Friday, December 9.
Drop the letter into an envelope with a stamp, and send it to: Santa/Father Christmas, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ.
Choose cheaper delivery options
If you need to deliver a gift, MSE says you can normally save money by getting the retailer to deliver it straight to the recipient. This cuts out the middle man of you having to send it.
Consider Amazon Warehouse
Amazon Warehouse sells items that have been returned or slightly damaged goods at discounted prices. You’ll get an idea of an item’s condition before buying – so whether it is “like new” or “acceptable”. If you’re not happy with what you receive, you can return it within 30 days.
Give free gifts
You don’t have to spend money this Christmas – MSE suggests gifting someone your time. MSE has printable Christmas gift cheques that let you pledge to do something nice for someone else.
Find free activities to take part in
MSE also has a round up of free things you can do with the kids to bring the magic of Christmas.
A couple of suggestions include driving or walking through streets to view Christmas lights, or simply watching a Christmas film together.
Donate to charity
If you want to donate to charity, rather than give presents this year, there are plenty of catalogues out there that can show you how to make a difference.
It could be donating vaccines or mosquito nets. Check out the MSE charity catalogue guide.
Buy your supermarket shop online (if you’re a new customer)
Supermarkets will regularly offer deals to new online customers – for example, Sainsbury’s offers £15 off a £60 shop for newbies. Make sure your chosen store still has Christmas delivery slots available.
Keep an eye out for Xmas deals
MSE tracks the latest bargains through its Christmas Deals Predictor. Currently it is expecting deals at M&S, John Lewis and Ikea to land in the next few weeks.
Volunteer at Christmas
Give your time this Christmas to those who need it most. For example, you could help out at a food bank, or gift presents for children in need.
Another free thing to do with the kids is to track Santa using a free website called NORAD. You’ll be able to watch Santa as he starts his journey from the South Pacific, all the way to South America.