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Save 200 before Christmas!

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Piggy bank with a santa hat on
There's less than a month until santa comes, but there's still time to save some money before the big day! Start saving now and you'll be doing yourself a big favour and taking the stress out of Christmas spending.

There's no denying that it's a tough time financially and we're all feeling the pinch to some extent, but money worries don't need to spoil your Christmas. See saving money as a challenge and you'll be amazed what a difference you can make.

We've teamed up with our sister magazine, Woman's Weekly, to come up with easy ways for you to save. The trick is to cut back without making major changes. Follow these tips and you'll have made some good savings before Christmas. 

How to save on your Christmas shopping

  • By planning ahead, you can make the most of the free 2-to 3-hour parking at the supermarket nearest to where you'll do most of your shopping, rather than paying car park costs, to save around £3 a week.
  • Shopping online can be quicker and cheaper, but how can you avoid the delivery charges that quickly mount up? Average delivery is around £5 so go for companies offering 'free' delivery like play.com for CDs and DVDs or go to myvouchercodes.co.uk for online vouchers to cut the cost of delivery.
  • Shop on eBay. It's ideal for cut-price Christmas presents. We found the Great British Bakeoff: How to Bake cookbook for just £8.75 (plus p&p), compared with £20 RRP.

Saving

3 months to go: £36 - based on £3 per week saved on parking.
2 months to go: £24 - based on £3 per week saved on parking.
1 month to go: £12 - based on £3 per week saved on parking.

Credit card savings

- Avoid paying interest on your credit card debt by getting a 0% balance transfer deal to another credit card, which means you get around a year to pay off the balance without incurring interest. Or, if you can't get a 0% deal, go for the lowest long-term rate you can - typically around 5%.

According to moneysupermarket.com, 46% of us don't pay our credit card bill in full every month and 64% have never transferred an existing balance. But swap to an interest free card and you'll save on average £279 over 12 months - based on the paying off the average balance (£1,765.36) at the average rate (18.17%). See our feature on which credit card is right for me for more advice on the best credit card - Virgin and Barclaycard both recently released new interest free cards.

- Don't use storecards - unless you're sure you can clear the bill each month; some companies charge up to 30% interest - that's £150 on every £500 each year.

Saving

3 months to go: £134.25 - based on £37.50 saved on storecard interest + £69.75 saved by transferring to an interest free credit card.
2 months to go: £71.50 - based on £25 saved on storecard interest + £46.50 saved by transferring to an interest free credit card.
1 month to go: £35.75 - based on £12.50 saved on storecard interest + £23.25 saved by transferring to an interest free credit card.

Supermarket savings

- Downshift your brands Simply by switching to the next brand down (say from a brand like McVities to the supermarket's own brand, or even the supermarket's basics brand) you'll save on average 15% on your shopping bill. Over a year, this works out at £800 for the average family, according to moneysavingexpert.com. The product is usually just as good, just without the fancy packaging. For example, you can save 89p on Asda Own Brand chocolate digestive biscuits (86p) - compared with McVities (£1.75).

If you shop online, mysupermarket.co.uk has a built-in price checker which shows you the latest offers and cheaper options. It also price-matches your trolley load across the supermarkets so you can switch to the cheapest one for delivery.

Also, don't miss our guide to your weekly shop. Every week we compare the price of an average weekly shop at 4 supermarkets and tell you which is the cheapest.

- Don't pay for your cash Never pay money to take cash out of your account. Some cash machines will charge you - often those found in garages, train stations and corner shops, for example. Instead, get your cash out as cashback at the till when you shop, or go to a different cash machine.

- Make the most of discounts and cashback deals. You can often get offers like £10 off your online grocery shop or £2.50 cashback on your shopping. We keep an eye on the best offers for you on our discount vouchers and cashback deals pages.

Saving

3 months to go: £200 - based on 15% off the average weekly bill for 3 months.
2 months to go: £133 - based on 15% off the average weekly bill for 2 months.
1 month to go: £66 based on 15% off the average weekly bill for 1 month.

Car cutbacks

- We've seen petrol prices rocket over the last couple of years; save up to 10p a litre by checking out the cheapest petrol in your area by visiting www.petrolprices.com. Type in your postcode and it works out the cheapest petrol within ten miles - it can save you £5 on a small, 40-litre family car, every fill. Just make sure you're not wasting petrol by driving miles and miles to get a better deal!

- When you're driving, turn off the air con, empty the boot and take off the roof rack - a lighter car uses less fuel.

- Check your tyres as under-inflated tyres mean you use 30% more petrol.

- Reverse into your garage or drive before you switch the engine off at night. Reversing on a cold engine could cost you around 40p a day in fuel, according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists. You could easily save over £150 a year.

Saving

3 months to go: £97.50 Based on £5 weekly petrol saving for 3 months + 3 months 'green' driving saving £37.50.
2 months to go: £65 Based on £5 weekly petrol saving for 3 months + 3 months 'green' driving saving £25.
1 month to go: £32.50 Based on £5 weekly petrol saving for 3 months + 3 months 'green' driving saving £12.50.

Pennies not pounds

- Post your Christmas cards second class and save £4.50 in postage for every 50 cards.

- Collect your small change. Money website moneysupermarket.com claims that we could save £1.91 a week.

- Don't be too generous! Regularly shelling out for family and friends can dent your bank balance. Last year we each handed over £898.52 without getting it back, according to PayPal, the online payment service.

Saving

3 months to go: £27.42 - based on £4.50 saved on stamps and £22.92 from 3 months' small change.
2 months to go: £19.78 - based on £4.50 saved on stamps and £15.28 from 2 months' small change.
1 month to go: £12.14 - based on £4.50 saved on stamps and £7.64 from 1 months' small change.

And the rest

- Settle bills by direct debit. You can save over £200 a year doing this.

- Read your bank statements. Cancel anything unnecessary - such as gym memberships you don't use or insurance policies you no longer need - and you could save £150 a year.

- Switch to Freeview. If you're paying for a Sky subscription but don't watch all the channels, change to a Freeview set-top box for around £20 with around 30 free channels. Compare that with the cheapest Sky deal at £20 a month and you save more than £220 a year.

- Check mobile bills. Many of us either pay for calls and texts we don't use, or we go over our usage and get hefty bills. According to Billmonitor, the average save made by switching to the best deal is a massive £195 over a year! So call up your provider and discuss the best deal for you.

Saving

3 months to go: £191.25 - based on 3 months savings paying by direct debit (£50) + 3 months not wasting money (£37.50) + Sky savings (£55) + 3 months' mobile call savings (£48.75).
2 months to go: £126.50 - based on 2 months savings paying by direct debit (£33) + 2 months not wasting money (£25) + Sky savings (£36) + 2 months' mobile call savings (£32.50).
1 month to go: £62.75 - based on 1 month savings paying by direct debit (£16) + 1 month not wasting money (£12.50) + Sky savings (£18) + 1 month mobile call savings (£16.25).

Overall savings

With 3 months to go: £686.42
With 2 months to go: £439.78
With 1 month to go: £219.14

Continued below...


Where to next?

Supermarket savers: The best deals in the supermarket each week
Discount vouchers: Don't miss these for a great deal
Cashback deals: Earn money while you spend

All pages in this article

  1. 1. Save 200 before Christmas!

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