We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
Saving money at Christmas time sounds like a contradiction. Luckily, our favourite money-saving guru has come to our rescue, cue Martin Lewis’ Christmas saving tips.
Christmas is an expensive time of year, with the costs mounting up for decorations and food. Then there’s the biggest expense – present shopping.
Martin Lewis’ Christmas saving tips
Shelling out £10 here and there on gifts for friends, cousins, teachers and family soon adds up. One of Martin Lewis’ top Christmas saving tips is to do away with presents altogether.
‘The season of goodwill has been perverted by advertisers and marketeers into becoming a retail festival,’ he writes on the Money Saving Expert blog. ‘We feel forced into buying unnecessary gifts for friends and family because they’ve bought for us.’
‘Let’s be honest, we’ve all bought something for someone we knew they didn’t really want or need, just to tick them off the list.’
So instead the Money Saving Expert suggests making a No Unnecessary Presents Pact, or a NUPP. ‘It’s an agreement with friends that you won’t give gifts this year, or at least that you’ll cap the price,’ Martin Lewis explains.
If you think Martin Lewis is starting to sound a little like a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge, he points out: ‘For those thinking “what about the gift of giving?”, well, you may give to someone who’s struggling financially thinking it’s generous, but it actually often simply obliges them to buy back for you at a similar value.’
In fact, Martin Lewis seems to have embraced his inner Tiny Tim, instead suggesting that you spread the festive spirit with personalised gift vouchers.
‘If you are giving presents, they don’t have to equate to big bucks,’ Martin explains. ‘One easy idea is to give personal gift cheques.’
Why not make a booklet of vouchers promising to use your Mrs Hinch-honed skills to help your friend clean their house. Or offer to make a family roast dinner for the whole extended family?
If you are a handy DIY-er, why not offer your services to help build IKEA flat-pack furniture or repair things around the house?
‘This is far closer to the original meaning of the season of goodwill – doing something nice for others, rather than just flashing the cash,’ explains Martin Lewis.
Will you be trying out your own no unnecessary present pact this year?