Red and white glittery Christmas baubles

11 weeks to Christmas, 11 ways to save

Save time and money this holiday season with these 11 money savings tips.

It might seem early but the countdown is officially on. It’s only 11 weeks until the big man in red comes to visit for another year and it’s time to start thinking about how you can save some extra cash over the next few months.

With the cost of household essentials on the rise it’s important to start managing your Christmas spending now so you don’t get caught out. Here’s 11 money saving tips to put into action over the next 11 weeks…

1. Set your Christmas budget

Before you even start to think about buying gifts, a Christmas tree or tinsel you need to work out how much you can afford to spend this Christmas.

Look at your income over the next few months and deduct any essential bills such as rent/mortgage, travel, utility bills, phone bills and your weekly/monthly grocery shop. Then you can work out how much you can afford to spend this festive season.

It is also a good idea to categorise your budget and break it down into individual items such as gifts, decorations, food etc. You can then track your spending against this budget to make sure you stay on track and don’t over do it.

2. Make a list and start gift shopping now

Sit down and make a list of who you need to buy gifts for and any gift ideas you may have. This will stop you buying any unnecessary gifts as you’re shopping. You can tick off each gift as you buy them so you know that person has been bought for.

It’s also handy to start your gift shopping as early as possible to avoid any last minute madness. Keep in mind, there’s often more choice further out from Christmas, with more stock available, and early Christmas sales.

3. Keep an eye out for seasonal sales and discounts

Christmas is often the time of year when retailers put on their biggest sales. Sometimes these sales can start as early as the end of October so it’s worthwhile keeping an eye out to save yourself some cash early on.

There will be plenty of two-for-one deals and buy-one-get-one-free offers over the next 11 weeks so you’ll have plenty of choice. But always remember, if you only need one item, don’t buy multiple to save money as you’ll just end up spending more.

4. Check to see if your store cards offer discounts or benefits

If you use store cards regularly you could be in for some extra savings come Christmas time. For example, if you use your Dunnes loyalty card for your weekly shop throughout the year, you could have potentially earned enough points to get yourself a free Christmas turkey, or at least subsidise the total cost of your Christmas food shop.

5.Compare in-store and online prices

People often think there are better prices to be had when shopping online, but add on the price of postage and sometimes it pays off to shop in-store instead. However, in saying that, there are usually some very good online discounts available which can include free shipping that might be worthwhile checking out. The best way to save some money is to write a list of items you need to buy (whether it be gifts, food, decorations etc.), check out how much they cost online before comparing against in-store prices. Then you can make the best decision for your budget.

6. Plan your postage and delivery

If you have family and friends that live far away or overseas it really pays to plan your postage in advance. Make sure you organise your gifts early and get them posted well in advance. This will help avoid a last minute rush to get the gifts sent in time for Christmas Day and having to pay for expensive express postage.

The same goes for placing your food orders online - order what you can in advance to avoid missing out on delivery before Christmas.

7. Make the most of the pre-Christmas sales

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great events for getting amazing deals on Christmas gifts, decorations etc. We know it can get a bit crazy on these days with millions of shoppers all trying to snag a great price online, but there’s a way to make this process a little easier.

A few days before the sales, sit down and pick out the items you want to buy and make a list (include the link to the specific product web page if you can). Then on the day simply open the links on your list and be taken direct to the product you want to buy.

8. Avoid using credit to pay for Christmas

The last thing anyone wants is to head into the New Year with debt leftover from Christmas. If you budget correctly you should be well placed to cover the cost of the festive season without having to rely on credit. If you do find yourself slightly over budget try looking at other ways you can cut back to cover the costs.

However, if you do find you need that bit of extra help, look into applying for a credit card with a 0% introductory rate offer on purchases. But do remember to make sure you pay off the balance before the introductory period ends.

Compare credit cards

9. Use online discount sites for ‘experience gifts’

If you’re looking to gift someone a special experience for Christmas take a look at websites such as Groupon, Treatwell or Vouchercloud for discounted prices. These websites often have promotions, offers and discounts on experiences and treatments that make great gifts - this can sometimes be cheaper than going direct through the merchant so it’s always useful comparing the two options.

10. Check the cupboards for last Christmas’ essentials

You might be surprised how much you can save by checking your home cupboards for items left over from Christmas last year before you shop. If you have spare wrapping paper, unused gifts and decorations in good condition already at home, use these before going out to buy more. Otherwise you’ll end up with more than you need and spending unnecessary money.

11. Book your travel as far in advance as possible

With so many people looking to travel around the festive season, you need to plan ahead and book your travel as early as you can. This will not only reduce the stress of trying to find flights, trains and ferries last minute, but it can often save you quite a bit of money. Websites such as Skyscanner and Irish Rail allow you to compare fares across selected dates and times to help you get a better price.

Save yourself a little bit extra by switching

Why not switch your energy tariff to give your wallet a bit of an extra boost? If you switch now you could save up to €290 over the next year - just in time for next Christmas!

Switch and save now