8 Ways To Scrimp In Autumn To Allow A Splurge At Christmas

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Saving for Christmas? Put more away this year with these top tips on how to save in the lead up to Christmas.

Everyone knows that once the leaves start to change colour, the end of the year is not far away. While months might sound a like a long time, it never feels like enough time to spread the impending cost of Christmas. Christmas costs money whether it’s big families and lots of gifts or parties and entertaining costs, the festive season abounds with extra expenditure for even the savviest saver. So to make it a bit easier on your budget, here are some great ways to save money in the lead up to the happiest time of the year.

Supermarket savings

Supermarket savingsAll the major supermarkets run Christmas savings schemes – you purchase stamps throughout the year, and get a payout in December. The Moneysavingexpert.com has a good guide which helps you choose a scheme to suit . They warn shoppers though that “no two schemes are alike, and some are more Scrooge than Santa. Ensure you make a careful note of the timings.” They rate ASDA, Tesco and Morrisons as being the best in terms of generosity. Look out, too, for shopping incentives where repeat custom between now and Christmas can net you ‘free shops’ or in-store savings.

Use the ‘Drop down’ approach when food shopping in Autumn – wherever you’d buy luxury, buy a brand’s standard line, if you buy a brand, try store-own, and if you buy store’s own standard, try the ‘value’ range. You’ll soon learn where you can afford to save cash without losing much in terms of quality. Keep an eye out for pre-seasonal bargains on fresh produce and booze that you’ll need for Christmas, and fill up the freezer and drinks cabinet now.

Forage food for free

Autumn is a time of seasonal abundance, so get out and about and eat for free! If you’re mushroom-hunting, go with someone who knows what they’re doing or download an app like Common Choice Edible Mushrooms. Blackberries are everywhere, easy to gather and very versatile. Many edible leaves and herbs are found all over, even in urban areas, as are sweet chestnuts. Always exercise caution and if in doubt, don’t eat. The Wild Edibles app allows instant identification and provides recipes.

Stay in shape

Woman doing Yoga

Save money and earn yourself a decent calorie deficit so you can indulge in rich food come December. Check out local news websites and library and cafe notice boards for details of free local fitness classes and taster sessions, or train with a friend who’s into a particular sport. Libraries have a good selection of fitness DVDs available for a small hire charge, or you can download videos to a tablet. Bright autumn days are perfect for long, brisk walks that don’t cost a penny.

Raid the pantry

It’s amazing how much you accrue without even knowing it in your store cupboards and freezer. You can find tips for how to stock a cost-effective larder on Fugal Living UK Blog. Challenge yourself to make meals without shelling out for additional ingredients. When it comes to autumn eating, dried pulses, pasta and grains come into their own, forming the base of hearty suppers simply jazzed up with tinned vegetables or canned fish and sauce from a jar or packet. Using up what you’ve already bought saves money for Christmas – and creates vital shelf space for all those incoming seasonal goodies!

Pack in lunch spending and pack your lunch

Healthy Lunch In A Box

Stopping spending on a daily lunch can add up to a fortune for the Christmas fund. Instead of grabbing a gourmet sandwich or going to a restaurant, pack something warm and filling to take to work or eat when you’re out and about. Invest in a Thermos flask and rustle up a batch of hearty, healthy soups or stews which you can eat with a roll for a nutritious lunch. Keep it interesting so that you’re not tempted to top up with expensive snacks. The Cheap Gourmet recommends recipes like sausage and beans soup, saying what’s “great about this sausage and bean soup is you can make it with just about any type of sausage. Mild or spicy Italian pork sausage, Chorizo, chicken or turkey sausage, or even breakfast sausage works well. The same holds true for the beans. I like to use 1 can each of dark red kidney and white cannellini, but have also used pinto, navy, and even butter beans.”

Stagger your spending

The cost of a big festive shop can be staggering. Instead of waiting until winter to start, work out your budget now and stagger the shopping so that there’s a little more room to manoeuvre come Christmas. Affording yourself the luxury of time means you won’t be held to ransom when prices are at a premium. Start to shop around now, keeping an eye out in discount retailers and pound shops for a great range of stocking fillers, books, decorations, nibbles, gift-wrap and Christmas cards.

Post-summer purge

Over the summer months, you’re likely to have built up a collection of holiday items, kids’ activity materials, clothes and entertainment items that you could really do without. Get the family to do a clear out, then assess what you have that’s of saleable quality. You can list and sell items via eBay, at local car-boot and table-top sales, or through posting adverts in local newsagent windows and supermarkets. You can also get cash for old electronics and more at CEX and Cash Converters.

Get the house snug to cut energy bills

Do an in-house energy audit to start cutting the running costs of your household now and right through the winter. Put draught excluders round doors, check window seals are tight, and hang heavy curtains to minimise heat loss. Place sheets of aluminium foil behind radiators to reflect heat back into the room and replace summer-weight duvets with higher-tog versions.

It’s tempting to switch the heating on at the first sign of chilly weather, and by turning the thermostat down even a single degree, you can make significant savings. Investigate low-energy cooking methods like slow-cookers and pressure-cookers, which can be pressed into service for effective batch-cooking at Christmas. Visit the Energy Savings Trust website to get your free home energy check-up.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://photodune.net/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://photodune.net/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://photodune.net/
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://photodune.net/

Jessica Bourne loves to write about home, health, fitness and personal finance and in the lead up to the silly season is full of good advice on staying out of debt. You can read more of Jessica’s helpful budgeting tips in the eccount money blog and a variety of other websites, magazines and newspapers in print.

Article written by

Richard is a full time professional, husband, father and blogger juggling all the responsibilities of life and running a blog. Richard enjoys writing about life and online money matters.

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