Four ways you’re wasting money this Christmas – and how to avoid it

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  • Our tip on how to buy the right amount of food is especially genius

    Is it just us or is money tighter than usual this Christmas? It does it explain why the high street is awash with huge reductions, hoping to tempt us to part with our hard-earned cash. It’s not just the long lists of gifts to buy that leaves us out of pocket – it’s the extras, from table decorations to travel tickets. Even the cost of stamps these days makes our eyes water!

    Related: How NOT to get burgled this Christmas – a reformed criminal reveals his tricks

    But fear not, with our tips, you can save yourself a packet – even at the last minute. We’ve flagged the biggest wastes of money and some clever ways to cut back.

    1. Gift wrapping


    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    It’s easy to spend a small fortune on wrapping, tags, bows and the like. But completely unnecessary. You can pick up decent paper in Poundland or Primark for a quid, and make your own tags for free using last year’s Christmas cards. Or, for a coordinated look, wrap everything in brown paper from your local Post Office, then use string to tie them up and ‘garnish’ with offcuts off holly and ivy from the garden.

    Alternatively, make your choice of wrap part of the gift. A fancy tea towel can be used to present homemade cookies, fudge or chocolates. Or a pretty shopping bag could be used to present a bottle of bubbles.

    2. Postage stamps


    Image credit: Simon Whitmore

    FIVE POUNDS SIXTY?! Sorry, but we can’t help but baulk at the price of a box of 10 second class (SECOND CLASS!) stamps these days. And don’t even talk to us about first class. Save yourself money by hand-delivering cards wherever possible. Or, if your friends and relatives are further afield, sort your cards by area and post batches to people who can distribute them for you.

    An even more eco way to save is to use Paperless Post to send your festive greetings over the internet.

    3. Buying too much food


    Image credit: TI-Media

    The shops might only be shut one day, but that doesn’t stop most of us from stockpiling food like we’re preparing for a natural disaster. So before you pick up that third bag of potatoes, stop and check out the Love Food Hate Waste portion planner. It will tell you exactly how much of everything you need for Christmas dinner, from the right weight of turkey to the number of sprouts.

    4. Spending too much on presents


    Image credit: Dan Duchars

    Oh but it’s just so THEM. It’s easy to get carried away – especially when the shops are slashing prices. But it all adds up, and before you know it you’ve spend £100 on Aunty Jean… and all she’s got you is talc.

    While we know it’s better to give than to receive, you don’t want to put yourself in debt in the process. Always set a strict budget, or better still, go Dutch on a gift with friends or family. If you’re buying online, use a cashback credit car, or a cashback website like Quidco, and receive a little money back every time you spend.

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    Feel free to spend the money you’ve saved on the Michael Bublé Christmas album and a mint Baileys!

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