Last minute Christmas saving tips
Are you stressing out because Christmas is around the corner and you haven’t planned, bought anything nor saved any money yet?
Don’t worry I got your back! In this blog post which is part of a 4-blog series, I will give you simple and actionable last minute Christmas savings tips.
Are you ready to learn some new money habits and have some fun?
1- Have a plan
You know the expression, “if you don’t have a plan, you are planning to fail” so grab a piece of paper and a pen or even better my debt-free Christmas planner to help you with that.
In the "What do I need to do" section, write down all the things you know you need to do. This will help you feel a bit more in control and stress less.
First, prioritise your list by writing a number in front of each task.
Second, come up with your action steps to make it happen.
Lastly, set your Christmas budget.
Once you know what you need to do and how you are going to do it, everything will fall into place.
2- Save some cash fast
You are reading this post because you haven’t saved any money for Christmas so we need to do something quick to change that.
There are several ways to save money but not all will be suitable for you.
So please pick wisely.
Open a new bank account with a sign-up bonus.
Some banks will offer a cash bonus for joining. That could be a quick way to add cash to your Christmas fund. Now, please make sure you read the fine print.
Don’t open an account that will charge you monthly fees as it will cost you more money in the long run.
Sign up for a cashback credit card.
We have one and again we use it wisely: we use this card for everything (paying our bills, grocery shopping etc.) and we make sure it is always paid in full and on time each month. Thus, we are keeping a good credit score and we are not going into debt.
The key here is to live within your means and use the benefit of the card to your advantage.
Again, look at the overall picture (not just for Christmas) and understand the long-term consequences before joining anything. Check monthly fees, interest rates etc...
Start a saving challenge
I recommend this to everybody.
They are my favourite and there is a lot to choose from.
On my Etsy store, I have a bundle with over 14 challenges, so you can do one each month next year. You will be amazed at how fast you can actually save.
The one that will help you the most right now will be a “No spend day” , “No eating out”, or “No Coffee fix”.
If you use cash you can start the $5-note saving challenge too.
Saving challenges are fun ways to create new money habits. You can stack some savings very fast with them, plus the trackers will keep you motivated as you can see your progress as you go. I love them and this is why I’ve created some using psychology techniques to help you have fun doing it.
The Etsy store also has a sinking fund tracker which can be helpful too.
3- Earn money while you shop
Nowadays, it is crazy to think that you can get paid for shopping.
So be smart when shopping online by using the right websites or apps to earn some money while Christmas shopping.
Here is a list of apps that can help you earn some cashback.
Sometimes, you can use several of them for the same purchase so imagine how quickly you can accumulate your earnings and top up your Christmas fund.
Some of the apps below are referral links or affiliate links.
Rakuten is my favourite, you must know this by now. I use the website but they have an app also. I have earned a lot of money using this site.
Receipt Hog offers cash-back on receipt. You can also play on the app which gives you extra points. You can redeem Amazon gifts card or cash to a Paypal account.
Coinout is a receipt scanning cash-back app.
Fletch is a receipt scanning cash-back app too.
ReceiptJar is so easy to use. It will give you cash or gift cards.
I wish all those apps were available here in New Zealand also.
Disclaimer: I use the apps on purchases I know I need to get. I don’t buy stuff just so I can use those apps and have cashback. Spending money is not saving money.
Those apps serve a purpose on your debt-free Christmas journey so please spend wisely and stay on budget.
4- Find the best deals
If you don’t have much money saved it is even more important that you get the best deal for your gifts.
How do you do that in an easy and fun way?
Again, thank you technology because with one click and in my pyjama, I can find out which shop has the best deals.
No more going into one shop, then jumping in the car to go to the next shop. Wasting petrol, time, money and my sanity.
Comparison sites will be your best friends.
I gave you a list of them in the “ 5 Best saving tips” blog.
Something I haven’t mentioned on that blog:
Honey is a browser extension that will help you find coupon codes.
Then, here are some Apps you will love too:
Flipp. You can search for the items you want and it will give you the best price in your area and online.
ShopSavvy. Not the best reviews, but if you are already in a store and you want to make sure it is the best price, you can scan the barcode and it will tell you if it is or if the shop next door is better.
If the shop you are in is not the cheapest, you may be able to show them your phone screen and get it at the cheapest price if they price-match.
Those apps and websites can save you money for Christmas and every other day as you will know where you can shop for the best deals.
Plus imagine if you got given a gift card for that exact shop, yay that means you got your gift for free.
5- Don’t give presents
Don’t get mad at me but who needs more stuff in their houses?
What if this year, you tell your adult friends and family members: “let’s get together for Christmas, share a drink and nice food. Your company will be the best gift this year”.
I sometimes would rather share some quality time with my family than have another gift.
Again that is just me and there is no right or wrong way to go about it.
This is just a suggestion which will save you money and help you build stronger relationships.
For example, last year we had a shared lunch on Christmas day. That means that everybody invited brought a dish or 3 to share.
Last year I was in charge of the salads and I also made a chocolate cake just because we need more chocolate in our life :-).
After lunch, we played a game called Secret Santa ($10 gift). That is fun!
The way my family plays is simple.
Every person buys a gift with a maximum value of $10. All presents are wrapped and put in the middle of the room and you sit around it.
To pick who will start, you can write everybody’s name and put it in a hat. The name you will pick will start, then it goes clockwise.
- The 1st person will pick a present from the middle and open it. (I don’t like being first).
- The 2nd person has 2 choices, they can pick from the middle or take the present from someone else (person 1).
- If the 2nd person chooses option 2, that means that person 1 has no present anymore so that turn is not finished until person 1 choose a new present from the pile in the middle and open it.
- The 3rd person has 3 choices. They can choose from the middle, or take it from person 1 or person 2.
Again, if person 1 or person 2 get their presents taken from them, they must pick from the middle again.
- Now a present can only be stolen 3 times.
Here is an example:
Person 1 got their present taken by person 2 - 1 move
Now let’s say person 4 takes it from person 2 - 2nd move
Now person 5 takes person 1’s present which means that person 1 can choose to steal somebody’s present or pick from the middle pile again.
But here person 1 decides they really like the 1st present they picked at the beginning of the game and decides to steal it back from person 4 - 3rd move.
Now that present is safe with person 1.
Not only do you have a good time with people, you get to play a fun game and have a little souvenir to take home.
If you are in Australia those apps here have good reviews to find deals for food to spend quality time with family.
YWaste helps you find heavily discounted retailers food at the end of the day.(instead of throwing it out, you can get it for cheap and reduce food waste)
Shop Fully is to keep an eye out on shop catalogues so you can snag a bargain (good for grocery and house furniture)
Eat Club will help you find last-minute restaurant deals near you.
Please let me know if you have food apps like those for the US and New Zealand.
6- DIY your Christmas gifts
Are you someone really creative? I am not, I paint like a 3-year-old, shocking.
I have watched a few DIY projects on Youtube but sometimes, I wonder if all the equipment costs more than buying a gift pre-done.
Again if you like doing this, please do, but keep this in the back of your mind especially if you are trying to save money.
As I am not creative those are the gift ideas I came up with:
For a Movie lover gift ideas
- A movie voucher for a night out or
- Movie night at home with "Movie in a box" (a gift certificate from Amazon video or Google play, microwave popcorn, great movie snacks...)
Food’s lover gift ideas (that is me)
- Good books from 2nd hand shops
- iTunes vouchers for your friend who prefers digital copies
- Book swap and enjoy each other's books for free
Busy CEO friend, bring the Spa to her home
- Beautiful homemade bread or cake
- Beautiful spreads
- Cheese and don't forget some chocolate :-)
You see what I mean. You don’t have to go crazy with gifts. The best gifts are the mindful ones.
7- Set a budget and stick to it
Super, super important. If you are a giver like me be careful not to overspend.
I will say it again, you don’t need to go broke to show your family how much you love them.
I have explained on this blog "how to budget for Christmas and track your spending" so check it out.
Don’t forget to get the Stress-free and Debt-Free Christmas planner with a mini video training.
There is another app that you must have and it is Stocard.
This app is great. You can store all of your loyalty cards in one place so at the shop I don’t have to go through your wallet to find the right card. Put up your phone and scan. Voila.
I hope you are now feeling confident and ready for Christmas.
First, you have to make a plan and create your budget.
Then you can have fun saving money with some saving challenges.
Remember to keep your receipts and earn money by using those great apps.
Plus make sure you go through the right websites to find the best deals and get some cashback.
You don’t have to give presents this year if you can’t, just cherishing your time with your family could be enough.
With Covid around now more than ever we should build better relationships and support each other.
If you are talented, please DIY your gift this year: be creative and have fun.
Christmas is only one day so don’t overspend because you don’t want to start a brand new year with debt.
Again, thank you for reading.
Let me know which tip you found most helpful!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.