With cuts to Universal Credit, furlough ending and increasing energy costs, Christmas this year will be hard for some people. Contact us for information and advice on local support and provision – don’t panic, we can help! Follow our tips and advice to plan for Christmas.
A typical household in the UK spends just over £2,500 in a month. But in the run up to Christmas our spending habits change. We spend on average almost £740 more in December, which is 29% more than in a typical month.
It’s difficult to pay for Christmas out of December’s pay packet alone, so it makes sense to save up as much as you can beforehand.
The earlier you start saving, the less you need to put aside each month. Even a small amount over a few months can make a big difference.
To start a plan; use our template to list your Christmas expenses and allocate an amount for each item e.g. gifts, cards, food etc. Use our Christmas budget planner template.
To make a cheap Christmas dinner for less than £2.50 per head for a group of four, buy value or frozen ingredients. A whole chicken or turkey works out cheapest pound for pound. Here’s how you can make Christmas dinner for 4 people for less than £15 (based on prices from Tesco.com and Adsa.com):
Here’s a shopping list to make a filling, tasty and cheap Christmas lunch this year:
4 chicken breast fillets (£3.65) – if you’d prefer turkey, it could cost a bit more
85g sage and onion stuffing pack mix (£0.32)
75g cranberry sauce (£0.50)
40g bread sauce mix (£0.65)
2.5kg Perfectly imperfect potatoes (£0.89)
3 carrots (£0.12)
1kg sweet potatoes (£0.89)
2 parsnips (£0.26)
2 onions (£0.20)
500g Brussels sprouts (£0.78)
290g tinned peas (£0.40)
12 small, ready-made and frozen Yorkshire puddings (£0.62)
50g gravy granules (£0.10) – quantity needed may differ depending on which brand you buy
7 tablespoons of vegetable oil (£0.20)
Salt and pepper (£0.04).
This isn’t just a tip for saving money at Christmas, but most people do spend more on shopping during the festive period than at any other time of the year.
When you shop via cashback sites like Quidco and TopCashback, they’ll give you a certain percentage of your total spend back. This essentially amounts to a discount off the product, and all you have to do is make sure you visit the cashback site first and go through them.
Some sites like Quidco also offer cashback at selected high street stores, so you can also take advantage of cashback offers on the highstreet and online in some instances.
Know your new consumer rights
It’s worth understanding what your new customer rights entitle you to before you buy, particularly if you are shopping for expensive items that you haven’t bought before. Visit citizensadvice.org.uk for more information.
Be smart about your Christmas cards
Cards longer than 25cm, wider than 16.5cm, thicker than 5mm or heavier than 100g need a costlier large letter stamp. If you use the wrong stamp the recipient may have to pay a surcharge for incorrect postage. If sending cards in coloured envelopes, write the address on a white label.
Be careful buying from online sellers
If you’re buying from an individual seller on an online marketplace, many of your consumer rights don’t apply. Items should be as described, but a private individual has no legal duty to inform you of any faults or to offer a cancellation period. Read the product description and the seller’s return policy carefully.
Fair terms not hidden in the small print
The Consumer Rights Act states that terms and conditions must be prominent, so important terms hidden in the small print may not be compliant. Check for hidden extras or any additional costs in any credit agreement or contract. Check for information on delivering goods or missed deliveries of goods.
Protect your items
Prevent damage in transit with padded envelopes or bubble wrap. Send valuables with insured services like Royal Mail’s Special Delivery service so you can claim compensation if your item is lost or damaged. For more general items up to £20 request a free Certificate of Posting from the Post Office.
Send second class
Second class post is more cost effective and has a better delivery record at Christmas – if you plan ahead second class is far more likely to be delivered in three working days than first class is in one working day.
Return faulty goods within 30 days
The short term “right to reject” enables you to return goods to a trader within a 30 day period for a full refund if your core rights have beenbreached. The burden of proof will be on you to prove that the goods are not satisfactory, fit for purpose or as described.
Returning online gifts
You can return most goods that you order online for up to 14 days after you received them for a full refund. You’re allowed to handle andinspect what you’ve bought before returning, but the trader may deduct some money from your refund if you’ve used the product.