1. Make a budget and stick to it
This is the simplest, yet most effective tip to help you control your Christmas spending. By writing down how much you plan to spend on presents, food etc, it becomes much easier to resist impulse spending on unnecessary extras. Find out more: how to plan an effective budget – our step-by-step guide Subscribe to Which? Money Weekly A free newsletter from Which? Money Compare offering unmissable news, deals and money-saving tips delivered to your inbox every week. Register here
2. Book your train tickets soon
If you’re planning to visit friends and family by train over the festive season, you’ll save loads of money by booking them soon. Advance train tickets cost far less than those bought on the day of travel, and the cheapest tickets typically go on sale 12 weeks before the day of the journey. This Sunday marks the 12-week countdown until Christmas Eve. Find out more: how to find cheap train tickets – our top 10 tips
3. Use 0% credit cards
A 0%-on-purchases credit card is a useful tool for those who want to spread the cost of Christmas over a longer period. These cards charge no interest on purchases for an initial period, which in the current market could be as long as 32 months. We’re certainly not advocating borrowing money to fund your Christmas spend. But if you do want to spread the cost for a little longer, make sure you pay off the entire balance before the 0% period ends, as the APR will rocket thereafter and you’ll have to pay interest on any remaining debt. The Which? Money Compare credit card tables let you search hundreds of cards from providers large and small to choose a great deal based on quality of service as well as cost and benefits. Which? Money Compare: 0% purchase credit cards – hundreds of deals compared
4. Utilise cashback credit cards
Alternatively, if you don’t feel the need to borrow money to pay for Christmas, you might prefer to shop using a credit card that rewards you for spending. Cashback credit cards reward you by crediting a percentage of spending back onto your card. Other reward cards will let you build up points that can be exchanged for retail vouchers or air miles. Again, it’s vital to pay back what you’ve borrowed at the end of the month, otherwise the interest your spending accrues may wipe out the rewards you earn. Which? Money Compare: cashback credit cards – our tables are updated every day
5. Look for retailers on cashback sites
Before you purchase festive goods online, check whether the retailer is listed on a cashback site like Quidco or TopCashback. If you click through to the retailer from these websites, it’ll reward you with cashback (usually a specific percentage of your spending). The best way to ensure your cashback website referral is tracked correctly is to delete your internet cookies before clicking through the retailer. You may also be able to earn cashback from retailers through your bank account. Read our story on the latest cashback deals offered by some of the UK’s biggest banks. Find out more: cashback sites – tips to maximise your rewards
6. Find the cheapest deal online
Pricerunner.co.uk allows you to compare the price of items at hundreds of shops, while camelcamelcamel.com shows you the history of an item’s price on Amazon and alerts you if it drops. Make use of both of these websites.
7. Scour the web for discount codes
You can avoid paying full price for online goods by hunting for discount codes. One simple way of doing this is searching for the retailer’s name followed by “discount codes” on Google. Alternatively, download the Google Chrome plug-in ‘Honey’, which will scour the web for discount codes and alert you when there is one available for the retailer you’re browsing.