CHRISTMAS blowouts will start with Black Friday shopping next week – and this year’s festive period is set to be more costly than ever.
Many families are planning an extra-special Xmas after it was scaled back last year by lockdown restrictions.
We will splash an average of £1,275 each over the Yuletide period on presents, food, drink, travel and decorations, a Vouchercodes.co.uk study with GlobalData Retail showed.
The Bank of England said: “Our spending habits change in the run-up to Christmas, with Black Friday seeing shops tempt us and households spending £740 more than average in December.”
Some families will struggle to pay festive costs amid increasing prices for food, gifts, petrol and energy bills. But there are ways to slash your spending this Xmas.
Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at Vouchercodes.co.uk , said: “Christmas is the most expensive time of the year for many people.
"And after Christmas was cancelled last year, people across the UK are planning to spend more on it this year.
“To keep costs down, set a budget and stick to it. Work out how much you can afford to spend in total, then break it down by category.”
We show you how to have a very merry time for less . . .
SAVE £400 ON £739 GIFTS
HOW TO CUT COSTS: Bag Black Friday savings next week, especially on pricier items including electronics, toys, jewellery and clobber.
Experts suggest drawing up a shopping list of targets before Black Friday, so you know exactly what you want to buy.
Agree a pressie price limit with family and friends, or do a Secret Santa – each person in the group buys one present for one other person, with a spending limit agreed beforehand.
Grab second-hand deals via sites such as eBay or at charity shops. Some of the biggest savings on pre-loved items are for kids’ bikes and tech. And young children will love presents just as much, whether they are new or not.
You can even get free second-hand gifts from sites such as Freecycle.org.
SAVE £150 ON £355 FOOD & DRINK BILL
HOW TO CUT COSTS: Shop at a cheaper supermarket. A medium turkey costs around £11 at Aldi and £14 at Morrisons – but £28 at M&S. You can also save on those fancy pigs-in-blankets and other festive extras.
If you want to stick with your normal supermarket, swap branded products for own-brand ones to trim the bill. Many of us like a Christmas booze-up – and some shops’ plonk is cheap but still tastes great.
Vouchercodes.co.uk said: “Most people overspend on food and drink to try to make Christmas special. But stick to your budget – and check out award-winning alcoholic drinks at Aldi and Lidl for far less than other supermarkets.”
If you are struggling, contact your local food bank, who will help out with free essential grub.
SAVE £20 ON £51 DECORATIONS
HOW TO CUT COSTS: Six foot-tall real trees often cost more than £50. Renting one is sometimes cheaper – and better for the environment. Search for tree rental companies near you.
Decorations can be expensive. But pine cones, holly and berries are free – and will look super in your lounge.
Making children’s festive decorations only costs a couple of pounds for the materials, and they are more special than anything you will buy.
And paperchains are not only for little ’uns – check online for adult festive crafts. You can even make your own wreath.
If you can wait for decorations, buy them in the days just before Christmas, when prices are slashed as shops do not want to be left with unsold stock.
SAVE £50 ON £130 TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATION
HOW TO CUT COSTS: Petrol prices are at record highs – but you can trim the cost by avoiding pricey motorway service stations and filling up at the cheapest garage in your area. Find the lowest fuel price on a site like petrolprices.com.
Book train tickets in advance to save. Many routes are already open for booking over Christmas.
Consider a railcard if you do not have one. You can cut a third off the fare for your journey, and even save the price of an annual railcard in just one long trip.
Check out National Express coach tickets, and for real bargains, try megabus.com.
For accommodation, squeeze in with family, relatives or friends.
If you need a hotel, use a price comparison website such as hotelscombined.co.uk.
TOTAL: CUT AVERAGE £1,275 COSTS BY £620
We buy and sell to keep the cost down
LUCY BARRY is planning to keep her festive present- buying costs down by snapping up second-hand gifts and looking for new products in the Black Friday sales.
The HR consultant and mum of three has previously helped fund extra expenses at Christmas by selling baby items she no longer uses.
Married Lucy, 40, who has a five-year-old son and boy and girl twins aged three, will also give her children some practical gifts, such as clothes.
Lucy, from Wandsworth, South London, said: “Christmas can be expensive but there are ways to keep the costs down.
“Last year was cost-neutral as we sold all our old baby stuff on eBay and then paid for extra things in December.
“This year, there will be some second-hand presents from Father Christmas, for example a bike, and I think savvy Santa will also get some presents in the Black Friday period.
“Anything else our children receive will be presents that have a use, such as clothes.
“We’re going to France for Christmas itself, so have already booked the Eurotunnel.”
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