How to spend wisely this Christmas

Top tips on getting the most from your festive spending

Marcus Webb – Virgin Money Living Mentor

by Marcus Webb | Independent Money Mentor

Editor of Delayed Gratification and independent journalist

Christmas: joyful, heart-warming, uplifting… and fiendishly expensive. But it is possible to have a fabulous festive time of it without breaking the bank. You don’t need to go full Scrooge and start making tinsel out of old pan scourers or switching the turkey for the family budgie – just make sure to budget well in advance and then follow these tips on spending your Christmas money wisely.

1.  Make a list, check it twice

If you plan your Christmas shopping in advance you can cut down on expensive spur-of-the-moment purchases. Once you’ve got a good handle on what you want to buy and how much it will cost, do a thorough check to see if it fits with your budget – and whether there are any items which can be downgraded, dropped or replaced with a better-value option.

2. Find out who’s naughty and nice

Doing your research on retailers before buying things on your list will make a world of difference to how far your money goes. Consider doing an online search for a discount code or signing up for email newsletters to receive discount codes directly to your inbox: finding a ‘nice’ promotion can save you a fortune. Also make sure to check in to money saving sites like which direct their followers towards the best bargains as well as featuring fantastic tools like an IOU generator which promises your gift recipient a specific present to be bought more cheaply in the post-Christmas sales.

3. Get rewarded

Wherever possible try to use cashback sites like Quidco and Topcashback which earn you money for everything you buy. You just sign up and then visit online retailers as normal but you’ll be racking up rewards along the way which you can then plough into more presents. And of course don’t forget to use your loyalty cards wherever possible – the amount you’ll spend in the run-up to Christmas should leave you with some treats in store for January.

4. Save on postage

If you can group all your purchases from one online store together you’re likely to save on postage costs – or even get your P+P for free.

5. Share the shopping

When you hit the high street, make sure to go with friends or family members so you can make the most of 3-for-2 offers on staple Christmas gifts and supplies. And don’t be afraid to haggle – if you’re indulging in some group retail therapy you should be able to benefit from some collective negotiation on prices.

6. Keep a cool head on Black Friday

When the annual day of consumerist free-for-all arrives, make sure you don’t get tempted by any last-minute fripperies that aren’t on your list: approach the event with single-minded efficiency and only get what you need. And don’t get caught in the stampede for the flat screen TVs when the doors open – it’s not worth it and you’ll only end up being featured on the evening news.

7. Go homemade

Making a jar of homemade jam, whipping up a box of delicious fudge or writing a personalised poem can all be winning ways to treat your loved ones without having to spend too much. In the hurly-burly of present-opening on Christmas Day it’s all too easy for the impact of expensive gifts to get lost in the commotion – but it’s often the ones created with a personal touch that stick in the mind.

Before making financial decisions always do research, or talk to a financial adviser. Views are those of our mentors and customers and do not constitute financial advice.