With Christmas around the corner, what feels like countless events, rising energy costs and darker, colder nights your finances can feel the chill during the winter months. Our winter savings tips will help you prepare for the costly season ahead, so your finances don’t get left in the cold.
Save money before Christmas
Whether you squealed with excitement or groaned with dread at the mention of Christmas, there’s no denying that the festive season is a huge drain on our finances.
From Christmas parties to presents and food, you’re guaranteed to spend more money during the festive season. In fact, the average household spends around £740 more during December alone!
To avoid a big bill and consequently getting in debt in January, try and save a bit of money each month in the lead up to Christmas. And be sure to set a Christmas budget; from gift budgets to food budgets, put limits on how much you can afford and try your best not to go over.
Black Friday: To buy, or not to buy
It’s not long before we start seeing those ‘best sale ever’ banners plastered everywhere for Black Friday. In fact, the US-originated shopping event has turned into a month-long consumer festival with every retailer getting in on the fun. But be careful with those must-have Black Friday bargains and consider: one, is it really a ‘must-have’ and two, is it really a bargain.
Always evaluate whether you need what you are purchasing and also whether it is really a good saving.
Save money on energy costs
Of course, rising energy costs are currently dominating the news and many UK households are reporting feeling the squeeze, especially since the end of the Universal Credit uplift.
While it is difficult to avoid rising energy costs altogether, there are things you can do to stay warm whilst also cutting energy bills.
Draft proof your home.
Check all vents are closed on windows, see if you can have any gaps filled in or invest in a draft excluder.
Check your usage
Can you turn some of your appliances off, even turning an appliance from standby to off can save you valuable pounds. Meanwhile, turning your thermostat down by just one degree can save you £80 a year!
Make the most of daylight
With darker nights, it can sometimes feel as though there’s barely any daylight during the winter months. Make the most of it by keeping blinds up and letting as much natural light in as possible during the day; it’ll do wonders for your mood as well as your electricity bill!
Renewable energy sources
Switching to a renewable energy source, such as a heat pump, could also be a way to save money. These energy sources are typically cheaper to run than traditional gas and electric boilers. Meanwhile, the government is offering a monetary incentive to those who switch to certain renewable energy sources through the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). However, it’s worth doing your research first as installation of these new systems can be quite costly and more than the government’s incentive.
Check if you’re eligible for benefits
The Warm Home Discount could give you £140 off energy bills so it’s well worth checking if your household is eligible.
For more information on higher energy bills, read our guide to rising energy costs.
Food prep, food prep, food prep
The cold, dark nights of winter can get you crying out for some comfort food. To avoid reaching for the takeaway menu, plan your meals and prep your food in advance. That way you’ll spend less at the supermarket and be less tempted to treat yourself to a takeaway.
Coughs and sneezes rise expenses
Coughs and colds always run rife in the winter months and buying medicines can run up a pretty hefty bill. Instead, opt for non-branded cold and flu products to try and save yourself some money.
It’s also worth trying home remedies such as honey and lemon in boiled water to try and chase away those milder bugs.
Trick or Treat
Halloween seems to get bigger, and more costly, each year with celebrations starting earlier and earlier.
Before you head to the shops, see if you can refresh last year’s outfit or use some items around your house to avoid spending a fortune on costumes. And, when it comes to buying those Halloween treats, opt for non-branded sweets or non-Halloween themed sweets as supermarkets often put the price up on these items: more of a trick than a treat we’d say!
There are also loads of great, free online activities to do with kids for Halloween such as ‘spooky’ autumnal walks, Halloween coloring and crafts.
Remember, remember limit spend on the 5th November
Bang, just as you get Halloween out of the way bonfire night arrives. While we would not advise firing off that organised display for your own (safety first!) it is always wise to take your own treats with you to a bonfire event. From toffee apples to hot chocolates, the price of bonfire night can soon rocket so consider taking a flask and a bag of treats to cut the cost.
As you can see, winter can be a costly season with one expense cropping up after the other. In fact, 24% more people contacted Citizens Advice worried about their finances in January 2019 than any other month of the year showing that the winter months are a frosty time for our finances.
If you are worried about your finances this winter and are struggling to make ends meet, try our free online debt advice tool to see if our debt solutions can help.