30 Best Ways to Save Money at Christmas 2024

Cut the cost of Christmas in 2024 with this bumper selection of top tips to help you make the most of your Christmas budget!

Pink piggy bank wearing a red and white Santa hat. It is standing on on a snowflake covered surface

Cut the cost of Christmas in 2024 with this bumper selection of top tips to help you make the most of your Christmas budget!

I absolutely love Christmas, but there’s no getting away from the fact that the holiday season can get very expensive very quickly. And this year, more than ever, most of us will be looking for ways to keep tabs on our Christmas spending.

So if you’d like to spend less on Christmas time than last year (and who wouldn’t?), I’ve assembled a whole host of tips to give you a helping hand. I’ve got tips to help you prepare, ways to cut the cost of Christmas presents, and cost cutters for your Christmas food and drink.

So take a look through our list, and if you have any great Christmas money-saving tips to share, I’d love to hear them!

The Key Takeaways

  • Getting organised early is the key to saving money at Christmas time.
  • If your budget doesn’t cover all your planned expenses, you can either cut costs or try to bring in some extra income.
  • Look for imaginative ways to reduce the cost of big expenditure areas like food and drink or Christmas gifts.
  • Shop early and look around for great deals online.
  • Start planning now for Christmas 2024 – it’s never too early!

Planning and Preparing

One easy way to make sure that you don’t overspend on the festive season is to make sure you plan properly.

That means making budgets to work out how much money you can afford to spend and using lists or planners to keep track of your holiday spending.

But don’t worry, we’ll be here to help you get organised!

A middle-aged woman sitting at a table, looking at a laptop and making notes in a notepad

Start planning early

Your first step is creating a Christmas plan to cover all the items you need to buy. The sooner you get started, the more likely you are to spot bargains, plus it gives you longer to save up for any big ticket items.

So even though you might not want to start thinking about the Christmas season in July, mid-summer is a great time of year to start your Christmas planning.

The earlier you can start planning, the better!

Check out our Get Ready to Christmas series for 12 weeks of Christmas planning tips!

Set a realistic budget

It’s easy to feel the temptation to plan a perfect Christmas straight out of the glossy magazines. But this is the quickest way to burn through your money and burn yourself out with stress.

So first, create a Christmas budget that sets out exactly how much you can afford to spend on Christmas this year. How many pay days are left before 25th December, and how much of each month’s money can you put aside for your Christmas budget?

Next, you need to plan how much you’re going to spend on Christmas. That doesn’t just mean the gifts, but also the food, the drink and all of those little extras that are easily forgotten. If there’s a shortfall between that and how much you can put aside, you’ll need to work out ways to raise some extra money or cut costs.

That might all sound daunting, but don’t worry, we’ll be here with help along the way with some great advice and tips.

Click here to learn how to plan a simple Christmas budget that you’ll find easy to stick to!

Make a Christmas list (and check it twice…)

List-making is one of your best friends when it comes to getting Christmas done on a budget, and it also helps to ensure that you don’t miss anything out.

So first make a list of all the people you want to buy presents for, and what you’d like to get them. Now that you know what you’re shopping for, you can look out for the best discounts. Remember, a discount is only a saving if you would have bought it at full price.

When you’re shopping for food and drink, plan every item right down to the last cranberry to give yourself the best chance of sticking to your budget.

A brunette woman lying on the couch and writing her Christmas list at home in the living room

Make small cuts for big savings

If you have a shortfall on your Christmas budget but don’t want to trim your Christmas spending, you need to make up the difference somewhere.

I know we’re all having to watch our outgoings at the moment. Making small cuts in several places will generally be less painful than cutting out a major item from your budget.

For example, if you usually pick up a coffee on your way to work every day, maybe switch to making coffee at home instead. If you can save £1 every working day, that’s an extra fiver into your Christmas box every week.

Sell what you don’t need

Cutting down on your expenditure is an excellent way to raise funds for Christmas, but you could also earn more money by selling the things you don’t use at home.

You could try eBay or Facebook – look for local groups on Facebook where you can sell unwanted items quickly and with no fees. Vinted is also popular for selling unwanted clothes.

Keep your eyes open for great deals

Always look out for great deals when you’re out shopping or browsing online.

You can find some great discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and it’s always worth looking around for free shipping or discounts for signing up to a mailing list. You can unsubscribe again after you’ve used your discount code!

Websites like MoneySavingExpert are great sources of information on the latest discounts and other ways to raise extra income.

A pair of hands wrapping a gift box, surrounded by gift boxes, packing tape, rope, paper rolls and decorations

Saving on Presents

It’s natural to want to splash out on friends and family members at Christmas, especially after all the stress in recent years.

But if you want to stick to your Christmas budget, limiting your spending on expensive gifts is essential.

Here are a few great ideas for ways to reduce the cost of buying the perfect present:

Limit present buying

Of course, you want to buy for those closest to you: your children, partner, parents or grandparents. But the list of people we feel obliged to buy for seems to get longer every Christmas. There’s your circle of friends, the whole family, colleagues at work, neighbours…

At a time when finances have been stretched to their limit for many, the pressure to buy thoughtful gifts for so many people can be overwhelming. The best gift you could give might be the removal of that obligation.

So, it might be worth having a chat about putting a limit on present giving. It might surprise you how many people are happy to lose the obligation to spend a lot of money at Christmas.

If the idea of not buying holiday gifts doesn’t go down well, perhaps you could agree to set a reasonable amount of money to spend on each gift.

Do a Secret Santa with a £5 or £10 limit

This is the best way to cut the Christmas present bill for a circle of friends or colleagues. 

The names of all the people involved are put into a hat, and then each person draws out a name. You only buy for the name you picked, rather than having to buy gifts for lots of people. 

Add in a low budget limit, say £5 or £10, and you’ve got a great way to keep the cost of Christmas down. An online Secret Santa generator like Elfster or Drawnames makes setting up a Secret Santa even easier.

A cup of hot tea in knitted cup holder with a Christmas tree cookie on the side.

Make your own homemade gifts

Everyone loves tucking into some indulgent treats over the Christmas period, so why not make some home-made foodie gifts to give away?

Some recipes, like home-made mincemeat, jams, chutneys, and infused drinks, can be made well in advance. You could make one single gift like a Kilner jar filled with the ingredients for a batch of muffins or combine them in a gift hamper. These homemade gifts are also handy as a last minute emergency gift – we all need one at some point!

Make your own gift cards

You don’t need to spend a fortune on gifts at Christmas, it’s the thought that counts.

Why not make your own gift vouchers to give to your loved ones, and let your imagination run wild. You could pledge to cook your partner’s favourite meal, babysit for your best friend, or let your kids have a sleepover with their friends.

Buy a combined gift

If you’re planning to buy gifts for several people in a family, it can work out more cost-effective to combine your budgets to buy one big gift.

You could fill a hamper with everything they need for a family movie night, give them a basket full of home-made goodies, or buy something gorgeous for the garden.

Try comping for Christmas gifts

Why not try winning your Christmas gifts this year? You can find plenty of competitions to enter on websites such as Loquax, Prize Finder or Competition Database and in comping groups on Facebook. And we always run some great Christmas giveaways here on The Christmas Guide in the lead up to Christmas.

Of course, you aren’t guaranteed to win, but it can’t hurt to give it a try!

A young couple sitting together on a sofa. They are smiling as they look at a tablet and the woman is holding a credit card ready to go internet shopping

Find Savings Online

Doing your Christmas shopping online is really convenient and can be a great way to stick to your Christmas budget. But it’s easy to lose track of your spending when you’re clicking around the Internet. 

And if you’re using credit cards, sometimes it doesn’t really feel like you’re spending money, does it? That is until the credit card bills start arriving in January!

So here are our best tips on how to cut costs and make great savings when you’re shopping online for Christmas.

Use comparison sites to find the best bargains

Save yourself time and money when buying Christmas gifts by using comparison sites to find the best deals and cheapest products.

Google Shopping searches a wide range of retailers to find the best prices, including some of the big names in shopping like Amazon, John Lewis and Tesco as well as smaller stores.

Save money on high-end perfume

Department stores have a great choice of perfumes and aftershaves, but you could save money online.

Specialist online retailers like The Perfume Shop, The Fragrance Shop and Fragrance Direct sell a wide range of scents with prices as much as 50% lower than the High Street prices. They also sell gift sets, scented candles and more.

Find local bargains on Facebook and eBay

Items for sale on eBay and Facebook often come with a ‘collection only’ policy. This cuts down the number of people interested in buying them and removes postage costs, so there are some excellent bargains to be found.

When you search on eBay, try setting your search to items within a short distance of your home and work, and see what savings you can find.

Gifts wrapped in old newspaper and tied with red ribbon, next to a basked filled with red Christmas tree baubles and pine needles

Boost your budget with cashback

Cashback sites like Quidco can be a great way to add extra cash to your Christmas budget. You sign up for free membership and then click through to sites when you need to buy something. The comparison site gets paid a commission for referring traffic to the retailer, and some of that is passed on to your bank account.

Check the terms carefully though, because often your purchase only counts if you haven’t visited the site before. If so, clear the cache on your PC before you click through to place your order.

Don’t always assume that the site with the best cashback is the best offer, though. It’s essential to check all the pricing thoroughly to get the best deal at this time of the year.

Snap up a bargain at online outlet stores

Many High Street retailers now have online outlet stores where you can find some fantastic end-of-line bargains.

Some may be found on eBay (like Lakeland), and others like Clarks have their own outlet websites. You can also find online outlet villages like Brand Alley, which sell several retailers’ products on one site. They’re a great place to find Christmas gift ideas at cheaper prices.

Don’t lose out on goods from abroad

Online marketplaces like Aliexpress let UK shoppers buy direct from abroad, and there are some fantastic bargains on Christmas gifts and stocking fillers.

Order well in advance, as many orders are shipped by sea which can take up to six weeks. You may need to add VAT and customs charges to the price, so do your sums carefully to make sure you don’t break your budget.

Christmas dinner place setting with Christmas tree visible in the background

Saving on Food and Drink

Food plays such an important part in a celebration, and a large chunk of your Christmas budget will probably go on food and drink for the festive season.

But you can do plenty of things to keep the cost of Christmas food and drink down.

Try to limit food waste

If you’ve hosted Christmas before, you have probably gone through the horrible task of throwing out the leftovers afterwards. Limiting the amount you buy will help reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill, as well as the amount you spend on it.

And if you shop carefully, you can freeze some of the unused or leftover food to use in January.

Plan a festive menu

The most important thing you can do to reduce the size of your Christmas grocery bill is to plan a menu for the festive period.

Plan what you will cook for the main days: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, plus New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Eve. The days in between can often be catered with leftovers from Christmas dinner, with a few lighter meals as a break from all the feasting. 

Planning your menu will allow you to write a holiday shopping list and plan a food budget to keep your Christmas spending under control.

A group of friends clink champagne glasses to celebrate Christmas or the New Year

Find deals on wine and fizz online

If you’re planning a Christmas party, buying wine by the case can net you some fantastic festive savings. Check out sites like Waitrose Cellar, M&S Wine and Laithwaites to get a great price on your Christmas drinks.

It’s also worth watching the supermarket sites from early November, as many have really good wines and some excellent pre-Christmas deals.

Buy own label products

It’s easy to be seduced by the Christmas advertising and splash out on the luxury version of everything from chocolate biscuits to the celebratory fizz. But quite often the own brand goods are just as good, if not even better.

After all, the important thing is sitting down with your loved ones to share a meal, not whether the fizz in your glass is cava or Champagne.

Boost your budget with supermarket savings

Supermarkets often run Christmas savings clubs to encourage you to save for Christmas throughout the year. You can add a little to your account each time you shop, and you’ll get a payout in voucher form shortly before Christmas. They’ll even give you a little bonus to boost your Christmas shopping funds!

Check out the Asda Christmas savings account or Tesco Clubcard Christmas Saver as a start.

Saving for Christmas by putting a coin in a piggy bank

Other Christmas Savings

We’ve already covered the main parts of your Christmas budget, but there are a few other places where you can make savings:

Book train tickets in advance

Will you be travelling by train to celebrate Christmas or buying train tickets for a student to travel home for uni?

If so, it’s a good idea to buy your tickets early. They are usually available around 12 weeks before the date of travel, and you’ll usually get the best price just after they are released. If you use the Trainline app to book your tickets, it will send you an alert when the price is likely to increase.

Boost your Tesco vouchers for more spending power

If you shop at Tesco, it’s worth checking out their Clubcard reward partners rather than automatically spending them on your Christmas food shopping.

Spending this way can double or triple the value of your Tesco Clubcard points on things like homewares, travel vouchers or restaurant vouchers.

A woman's hand can be seen posting a pile of cards into a bright red post box

Post early for Christmas

If you’re sending Christmas cards or gifts by post, keep an eye on the last posting dates for Christmas.

Posting early means you can send your cards 2nd class rather than paying extra for 1st class stamps. You’ll also be able to take advantage of slower, and cheaper, parcel services.

Cut delivery costs online

But don’t assume Royal Mail is the cheapest way to send your parcel. If it weighs more than 2kg, you may get better rates using an online parcel courier site.

Try checking couriers like DPD before you head to the Post Office.

Get Christmas crafty

Get crafty and make your own cards, decorations and wrapping paper to help keep the cost of Christmas down. It’s also a great way to entertain the kids and involve them in the Christmas preparations.

There’s lots of inspiration available on the Internet and in Christmas magazines.

A wooden block calendar displaying the date as 1st January with festive background and Christmas lights

Prepare early for next Christmas

Hopefully, these top tips will help you have your best Christmas ever without breaking the budget.

But if you don’t come across this guide until the last few weeks before Christmas, it’s probably too late to take full advantage of them. So why not promise yourself that next year will be different with our final money-saving Christmas tips.

Start saving early to spread the cost

According to the Bank of England, a typical family spends over £700 more in December compared to other months, and that has probably gone up since 2022. It’s safe to assume that most of that goes on festive spending!

I know money is exceptionally tight for many people right now, and Christmas isn’t going to be a priority. If you are lucky enough to have disposable income available, you could start saving a small amount each month from January to pay for Christmas next year. Even a tiny amount of savings will help to make next Christmas more affordable.

Grab end-of-sale bargains

You can find heavy discounts on wrapping paper, your Christmas tree, decorations and cards in January.

So why not pick some up and stash them away, ready for next year? Just remember to add them to next year’s Christmas planning file so that you don’t end up buying more later on!

Those are our top money-saving tips to help you get ready for Christmas. Do you have any money-saving Christmas tips to add to the list?

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