ADVENT has begun — sparking a fresh wave of frenzied shopping.
Festive spending will rise by a fifth this year as we spend an average of £660 in the build-up to the big day, according to wealth manager Hargreaves Lansdown.
But there are ways to cut costs. Here’s Mr Money’s advent calendar of festive spending tips.
DECIDE your Christmas budget and how you’ll pay for it.
The average spend is £325.70 on presents, £145.60 on food and drink, £121.30 on going out and £67.40 on extras so it pays to plan ahead.
IF you plan to spend on a credit card, get a 0 per cent purchase one.
The Capital One Classic Complete is a good option for poorer credit scorers.
APPLY to Royal Mail to get a letter from Santa.
Post your letter to Santa with a stamp – 70p for First Class, 61p for Second – and include your kids’ full names and address. Deadline is December 6.
BOOK any travel tickets you have yet to organise. The earlier you book, the cheaper the tickets will be.
Compare prices by going direct to nationalrail.co.uk plus Raileasy and Trainline.
AGREE a spending limit with adult family members to avoid pricey presents, (eg, £5 or £10). Or do a Secret Santa.
Martin Lewis even suggests not buying any gifts.
BOOTS is today reducing its hugely popular Soap and Glory “Sweet Tin-tations” gift set from £60 to £30.
FROM today, Amex cardholders can get £5 cashback when they spend at least £10 at participating local businesses (not chains).
See the Offers section of the Amex app.
SCOUR Facebook groups and Gumtree for preloved toys for younger kids.
They’re unlikely to worry or care about their gift being secondhand.
FINALISE a list of gifts that you still need to order and see where they are cheapest using Google Shopping.
Leave items in your digital shopping bag for a few days, as you might get a discount.
DO some admin. Check your loyalty points with shops such as Boots, Tesco or Sainsbury’s and can you claim back any cashback you’ve earned?
Use these to offset festive costs.
FLOG old toys and any unwanted household items to make some cash and clear space for new stuff you’re hoping Santa brings.
Sellers on Facebook don’t pay fees.
TEACH your little ones about the real meaning of Christmas by buying a pressie for a child in need.
See The Salavation Army for details of how to give or the Met Police’s appeal, which closes today.
GET £10 to £40 tickets for top London shows from the Official London Theatre website’s New Year sale, launching today.
A great Christmas pressie for theatre lovers.
JOHN Lewis normally discounts decorations by 30 to 50 per cent at this time, so watch out for sales.
Also grab some pine cones and holly for some natural festive cheer.
WITH the kids about to break up from school, today is a great day to get them to make a homemade card for their teacher and baking biscuits as a cheap, thoughtful pressie.
PLAN your Christmas food shop on my supermarket.co.uk to see which retailer works out cheapest for your needs.
THIS was the last day to order Christmas deliveries for some retailers such as Boots and M&S last year.
Make any last-minute online orders now and don’t forget to grab cashback.
TIME to get your Christmas cards in the post.
This is the last day you can send them second class to arrive before the big day.
AIRLINES like BA, Virgin Atlantic and easyJet launch sales for next year’s flights.
Last year Virgin offered a return from Manchester to New York for just £278 per person.
NOW begins the supermarket price war on fresh turkeys and veggies.
Look out for deals, such as 19p for a 1kg bag of carrots from Lidl and Aldi.
IT’S Super Saturday – where retailers slash prices in a final bid to attract Christmas shoppers.
Last year Sports Direct cut prices by 90 per cent. Great for last minute gift-buying.
KIDS bored already?
The Crayola website has free festive colouring print-outs – or take youngsters out to see other houses’ twinkly decorations.
SAVE cash by filling the kids’ Christmas stockings with stuff they will need anyway, like pjs, socks and stationery.
CHECK noradsanta.org to watch the progress of that famous sleigh on Christmas Eve. Kids will love it.
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