Money expert shares 10 clever methods to save £300 by Christmas

It’s Bonfire Night which means that Christmas is just 50 days away – not very much time at all.

And, if you’ve left saving up until the last minute – or just had some extra expenses that drained your pot – you might be worrying about where the cash is going to come from.

From food to presents and everything in between, the festive period is costly!

Chartered Accountant Oliver Atkinson from Atkinsons commented: “ Christmas is not only an incredibly busy time of year, but it can also be extremely expensive.

“However, there are ways to reduce your spending and save money in the build up to the big day.”

As there’s just over seven weeks until Christmas, Atkinson shared its innovative methods to reduce your spending and save money in the build up to Christmas.

Take a look at the advice below:

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Bring your own lunch every day – save up to £175

On average Brits spend just over £6 each weekday on lunch and although this may not seem like much, this can add up to over £1560 per year!

In the build up to Christmas, Oliver advises to avoid spending money on lunch and instead bring in leftovers or make lunch at home.

“If you avoid buying lunch every weekday until Christmas Eve, you have the potential to save £180,” Oliver advises.

Envelope method

If you would like to save a larger amount of money, then the envelope method has grown in popularity in the last year.

“The envelope method is seen as a fun way to save,” Oliver explains. “As there are 51 days until Christmas, begin by getting 51 envelopes and label each one from £1 – £51. Draw out an envelope for each day and place that amount of money into the envelope.”

Of course, this method may not work for everyone, for example if you wouldn’t be able to save the larger amounts on consecutive days, however with this method you can save £1326.

However, Oliver advises you can be creative with this method “putting away smaller amounts, or perhaps only saving every other day or twice a week, will still result in substantial savings.”

“Little and often” method

One of the most common problems for those trying to save money, is finding the spare cash to be able to spare.

“Many people who get paid weekly, or simply can’t afford to put bigger amounts of money away to save every month, struggle with saving regularly,” Oliver explained. “However, you don’t need to put away lots of money to see saving results.”

Oliver continued: “The little and often method requires putting aside small amounts every day.

A straightforward method is to gradually increase the amount you save each day of the week.

Begin by saving £1 on Monday, then £2 on Tuesday and so on, until you get to saving £7 on Sunday.

Repeat the £1-£7 each week and by Christmas you will have saved just under £200 and hopefully not noticed the amount saved each day.”

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Downshift method

The downshift method can help save up to £1000s on yearly supermarket food shops.

“The idea of downshifting is to simply buy a supermarket own product rather than the same branded version,” Oliver explained. “By doing this on all your food shopping throughout the year, you can save up to 30% on your food bill, which can result in huge savings.”

This method is particularly useful during Christmas, where people tend to overspend on their Christmas food shops.

“Research shows that both branded and non-branded food products taste almost identical, but the price difference can be enormous, which means by purchasing unbranded products you won’t be losing out of the taste,” Oliver confirmed.

Search for cheaper Christmas presents

The price of popular Christmas presents, including tech gifts and toys, can fluctuate throughout the year, but particularly in the lead up to Christmas.

“Unfortunately, due to inflation many popular products will increase in price around Christmas, sometimes even as early as mid-November,” Oliver explained. “By getting your Christmas presents early you can avoid overspending.”

Oliver continued: “As a general rule of thumb, I would advise to begin doing your Christmas shopping in early November, as prices tend to be the lowest at this point.

“Avoid making big purchases around mid-November, as some retailers can hike their prices up just before Black Friday which occurs in the last weekend of November.

“Utilise Black Friday sales and use this time for any last minute shopping.”

Turn the thermostat down 1 degree

It may not seem like a lot but turning your thermostat down by just one degree can not only help the environment but help reduce your gas bill.

“Studies show that turning the thermostat down by just one degree can save you up to £80 per year,” Oliver explained. “Another perk of doing this is that you won’t be able to tell the difference between that one degree, meaning you can still be as comfortable at home, without needing to spend unnecessary money.”

Turn off unused electric devices

It is estimated that the average UK household unnecessarily spends £30 a year due to leaving devices on standby.

“Although this may not seem like a lot, it is still an unnecessary expenditure when you can easily just switch off the appliances left on standby,” Oliver advised.

“Look for appliances which you normally leave plugged in and switched on and switch them off whenever they aren’t in use. The main offenders are TVs, desktop computers and chargers.”

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Switch broadband providers

At this time, with gas and energy prices increasing, it is not recommended to switch gas and energy providers before Christmas, however there are other switches you can make to help save money.

Many broadband providers can provide cheaper deals for new customers, and some can even throw in free welcome gifts, such as gift cards or even TVs!

“Shop around for the best deal for you, and you could save up to £143 per year,” Oliver advised.

Check second-hand sites

Although many may avoid using second-hand sites to buy Christmas presents, you can find both bargains and brand new items which people don’t want.

“If you have an idea for a gift, try searching online for a second-hand alternative, as you may be able to get the exact same product for a fraction of the cost,” Oliver advised. “In fact, it is estimated that you can save up to 50% off the brand new retail price!”

Sell unwanted goods

Research suggests that the average household has over £1500 worth of unwanted goods, so by clearing out your cupboards you have the potential to make a profit on things which would otherwise just collect dust.

“Using online sites to advertise your products for free is an easy way to sell, as you can speak with potential buyers before and answer any questions,” Oliver explained.

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