With just a couple of months to go until Christmas, the end of the year can be a time when the need to make our money go just a little further becomes more pressing. My children might believe that money grows on trees, and that Santa provides presents for free, but sadly this isn’t the case! At this time of year especially, I find myself trying to find ways to save a little here and there, plan ahead and help make that big Christmas shop a little easier on the purse strings! From smarter shopping to secret shopping, here are my tips for how to take care of the pennies and make your money go further.
1) Meal planning
Deciding what meals you are going to cook for the week before doing the grocery shopping can make a big difference to your bill, plus reduces the amount of food that ends up being wasted. There are lots of different apps available to help with meal planning. I love using the Avocado meal planner app, which creates a shopping list from the recipes entered into the weekly meal plan. It might take a little time initially to input recipes, but after a few weeks this becomes easier as fewer new recipes need to be entered into the app.
2) Smarter shopping
Shopping online and sticking to a list helps to reduce the likelihood of being tempted by offers and buying on impulse. Avoiding shopping on an empty stomach is also good advice whether shopping online or in store – those biscuits are easier to resist when you’re not hungry! Switching to own brands when grocery shopping, shopping around for deals and buying things in sales ahead of time where possible will also help make your money go further.
3) Earning money from the comfort of your own home
There are various ways of earning a little extra money from home – taking part in online surveys, being paid to watch videos or even becoming a secret shopper. Amber Arch specialises in mystery shopping services and provides thorough training to prospective secret shoppers. As well as visiting restaurants and businesses, mystery shoppers can also evaluate web enquiries and mail orders.
4) Selling unwanted items
Most of us have items around the house that we rarely, if ever, use. Having a good clear-out in the run-up to Christmas and selling unwanted items on eBay or Gumtree, is a great way of making a little money as well as freeing up some space for the influx of Christmas presents later on!
5) Saving the pennies
Making lunch for work instead of buying a ready-made sandwich, skipping that takeaway cappuccino, reading the news online instead of buying a newspaper – little savings here and there can add up very quickly over time. Putting aside small amounts each month and spreading the load of the Christmas spend over the course of the year can make a big difference. I also try and empty the smaller items of loose change from my purse every few days and put them in a piggy bank – by the end of the year that usually covers at least one Christmas present.
What tips do you have to make your money go further in the run-up to Christmas?
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.