How to save for Christmas: we spoke to shoppers in Wales about their plans

How to save for Christmas

Last updated: 15/12/2022 | Reading time: 4 minutes

Are you a super-organised Christmas saver and shopper, who prepares months in advance? Or do you just wing it and spend what you can in the festive season?

At a time when people’s finances are under pressure - and many are cutting back - we wanted to find out how the people of Wales were planning financially for Christmas.

We took to the streets of Merthyr Tydfil and Pontypridd to chat to the locals about whether they save for Christmas, and how they go about it.

“Little and often”

“Save a little bit regularly”, advised one Christmas shopper. Another added: “Do it every month. Start as early as you can, little and often”.

Saving regularly is great, simple advice: if you can, try and set aside some of your monthly income into a savings account. You could even take the popular 1p savings challenge: you save one penny on day 1, then 2p on day 2, followed by 3p on the third day and so on. After 365 days you could end up with savings over £650.

“Don’t overpay for things” was the advice from another shopper in Merthyr we spoke to. It sounds obvious, but in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to get sucked into what you think is a deal. Try and allow yourself time to find the best prices available and resist those impulse purchases!

If you’re on a particularly tight budget this year, then it can help to make a list of people to buy for and set a budget for each. As one shrewd shopper commented, “I always try to set an amount for each person and I try to stick to it.” 

To find out more, read our tips for Christmas shoppers on avoiding stress and debt.

“I started saving in August”

So how early should you start saving for Christmas? The answer is, if you can, get started as early as possible. This could ease the pressure come December. 

“I started back in August, for Christmas, so I’m very early”, said one saver we spoke to. Another said he aimed to start planning in September.

Of course, many people won’t be quite so organised; one shopper said she gave into “a last minute panic”. No doubt, many people can relate to that.

But you could turn over a new leaf in 2023 and get ahead. You could aim to save a little each month and keep the money aside until Christmas. Our Christmas 2023 Regular Saver Bond is a great way to do that.

“You just don’t know what’s around the corner”

Over two-thirds of British adults are planning to cut back on festive spending this year due to a worsening cost of living crisis, according to a survey published in October. And many of the shoppers we met on the streets of Merthyr Tydfil and Pontypridd were no different.

Asked whether he’d cut back this year, one shopper said: “I think you’ve got to. You just don’t know what’s around the corner do you?”

Another passerby we spoke to was planning to reduce the number of people he bought gifts for: “Cut out some of those wider family members,” he suggested. Could you do the same thing? If you speak to the people you love, they’re likely to understand if you need to cut back on gift-giving this year.

Other tips for saving on gifts include buying second-hand; a third of adults will change their plans to buy from charity shops this festive season, according to research from the British Heart Foundation.

If you haven’t managed to save much this year, now could be a good time to work out how much you can really afford to spend this Christmas, and then prioritise how you want to spend it. Even though it might mean cutting back on some treats and traditions, it could mean less financial stress in the new year.

Click on the buttons below to read more content about saving money:

Christmas shopping: tips for avoiding stress and debt
How to master your Christmas budget
10 fun and free Christmas activities

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