Twelve Ways to Save Money and Stay Out of Debt This Christmas

Twelve Ways to Save Money and Stay Out of Debt This Christmas

Christmas is many things to many people, but one thing it is for nearly all of us is expensive!

So today I thought I’d share a selection of tips and advice on saving money while still enjoying the festive season and not having to face a mountain of debt in the new year.

1. Declutter for Cash

Chances are you’ll be planning to tidy up anyway before putting the decorations up, so why not take the chance to get rid of any bits and bobs you no longer need but someone else might want? You can then put the money to good use for Christmas. You could sell the items on eBay, your local Facebook sales page, or the new ‘boot sale’ app Shpock. Or you could sell them at a real car boot sale, of course!

2. Buy Discounted Gift Vouchers at Zeek

Zeek is an online marketplace for buying and selling gift vouchers. If you know where you want to do your Christmas shopping, you could buy a discount voucher for that store at Zeek and get up to 25% off. Both physical and electronic vouchers are available. See my blog post about Zeek for details of how you could get an extra £3 off your first voucher purchase by joining Zeek via my link!

3. Make Good Use of Cashback Sites

These pay a proportion of your money back when you click through a link on the cashback site and make an online purchase at the store in question. In the UK the two best known are Quidco and Top Cashback. You can read more about cashback sites in this blog post.

4. Get Free Delivery at Amazon

If you’re planning to do some of your Christmas shopping on Amazon – and let’s face it most of us do nowadays – remember that if your total order value is over £20, delivery is free of charge. If you’re just under the £20 threshold, it can make sense to buy a small item to bring it to the magic £20. Before I joined Amazon Prime (see below) I often bought a pen for this purpose.

If you can’t find a small item for the right price, visit Filler Checker. At this website you can enter whatever price you require to bring your order up to the free delivery threshold. It will then display items you can add to your order to achieve this.

5. Consider Joining Amazon Prime

Okay, this does require an annual fee, but for this you get free next-day delivery of millions of products on Amazon (and same day delivery in some major cities). There is a growing range of additional benefits for Prime members as well, including instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows, free borrowing of thousands of e-books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and secure, unlimited photo storage with anywhere access. If you’re a regular Amazon customer – or planning to do a lot of your Christmas shopping there – it’s well worth considering Amazon Prime, especially as you can try it free for 30 days.

6. Make the Most of Black Friday Sales

Black Friday is a US tradition that in recent years has been imported into the UK (though not without some controversy at first). Officially Black Friday is Friday 24 November this year, but in practice many retailers are starting their Black Friday sales earlier than this. Many high street stores are running Black Friday promotions this year, with big discounts available on their websites too. Just beware of being swept up by the hype. Check that the discounts on offer really are worthwhile and not just reductions of prices that were artificially inflated before.

7. Consider Part-Time or Short-Term Work

Okay, this won’t appeal to everyone, but there are all sorts of seasonal opportunities on offer right now with companies from Amazon to the Post Office. Many stores also take on temporary staff for the Christmas season. Take a look also at my recent blog post about Viewber, a company that needs people with a bit of time available in the day to show prospective purchasers around houses. You can earn from £20 a viewing for this, plus expenses.

8. Abandon Your Shopping Cart!

When shopping online go as far as the checkout page and then close it. The stores will see this and many will send you a discount voucher or other incentive to try to persuade you to complete your purchase.

9. Use Live Chat to Haggle

This can be another effective tactic for getting money off when online shopping. Don’t go straight in with a request for a discount, but ask a few questions first. You’re unlikely to get a massive discount this way, but you may be offered 10-20% off, or a free bonus.

10. Check for Discount Codes

If you know where you want to shop, it’s always worth checking whether any discount codes are available for the store in question. Voucher Codes UK is a great place to start. When I checked just now, some of the top offers included 40% off online orders at The Body Shop and 25% off all orders at Habitat.

11. Use This Free Service to Get Price Drop Alert Emails

A website called Love Sales lets you add items from hundreds of online retailers to your ‘wish list’ and name the price you’re willing to pay, or ask for an alert when the price drops.

You first have to register on the site. Then when you’re browsing a particular item from one retailer, add it to your list. After that, the wait is on for the price to fall and the email to arrive in your inbox.

12. Check out this Christmas Deals Predictor

Finally, you can be ahead of the game with the annual Christmas Deals Predictor on Martin Lewis’s Moneysaving Expert website. Based on previous years (and any other info they may have), this tool predicts the likelihood of certain offers being made in the run-up to Christmas.

At the time of writing they are predicting a £20 discount on Amazon Prime membership (see above) next week. So if you are thinking of buying this, it may be worth waiting a day or two to see if it happens as forecast.

I hope that by following these tips you will have a very happy Christmas and a debt-free new year!

If you have any comments, questions or additional suggestions for saving money at this time, please do post them below.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post in association with Creditfix. Click here for information about Individual Voluntary Arrangements for people in debt.

If you enjoyed this post, please link to it on your own blog or social media:
Planning Your Finances in Retirement (Infographic)

Planning Your Finances in Retirement (Infographic)

Today I am pleased to share with you an infographic from Ireland-based insurance company Easy Life Cover (shared with their permission). This covers various aspects of finance in retirement, which is of course a core theme of this blog.

One of the most interesting facts shared in the infographic is that 7 out of 10 pre-retirees say they plan to carry on working in retirement. This represents a sea change from the old days when most people worked till retirement, took their pensions, and lived off that for the rest of their lives.

Nowadays retirement is increasingly done in stages, with many people choosing to work part-time in the run-up to retirement, perhaps switching to a different job or role within their organisation. The concept of semi-retirement would have been barely understood fifty years ago, but is increasingly becoming the norm now. I am 61 and regard myself as semi-retired, incidentally.

And even in retirement, many people choose to continue doing some work, part-time or short-term. As the graphic says, 80% do this because they want to rather than have to. Important reasons might include using (and passing on) skills they have built up over many years, keeping physically and mentally active, and providing a source of engagement outside the home. Many older people do voluntary work, while others do paid work to help supplement their pension.

Thank you to Easy Life Cover for an interesting infographic. You can read more about their mortgage protection insurance here (not a paid or affiliate link).

As mentioned above, the nature of retirement has changed dramatically in recent times. The old certainties are long gone. Retirement is undoubtedly more challenging than it used to be, but with people on average living longer, healthier lives, there are many more opportunities to enjoy this period of life as well. But this does mean it is more important than ever to plan carefully for retirement in order to enjoy it rather than merely survive it.

If you are retired or semi-retired, I do of course regularly list opportunities on this blog to generate extra income. They include home-based opportunities such as matched betting and part-time work in the gig economy, such as supervising property viewings for Viewber.

As always, if you have any comments or questions about this post and the points raised in the infographic, please do leave them below.

If you enjoyed this post, please link to it on your own blog or social media: