Woman who saved £61,000 for Christmas presents shares tips | Personal Finance | Finance

A Christmas savings expert who managed to amass a staggering £61,000 for last year’s festivities has shared her top 10 tips for 2024.

Clair Brading, 38, dubbed ‘Mrs Christmas’, starts saving in January and sets aside money throughout the year to accumulate enough money – and more – to cover the festive season each year.

The mum of four from Southampton is such a diligent saver that she not only saves for herself but also helps friends and family members manage their savings, too.

Now, around six months before Christmas, Ms Brading has revealed her top saving tips to help more people ensure a stress-free December.

This comes as Park Christmas Savings research shows half of UK adults (49 percent) don’t start saving for Christmas until September, despite the average family of four spending £730 on last year’s festivities.

A little goes a long way

Ms Brading said: “No amount is too small to save. By putting aside £7 a week between now and December 25, you can save over £150.”

Budget and track spending

Setting aside a certain amount of money per month is a simple but effective way to budget and save. Alongside this, Ms Brading added: “Track your spending to ensure you don’t overspend.”

Cancel unnecessary subscriptions

Whether it’s fitness apps, magazines or streaming services, Ms Brading said: “We all sign up for services that we end up forgetting about. Double-check your subscriptions every few months and cancel the non-essentials to save vital funds.”

‘No spend’ weekends

When affordable and feasible, people are urged to try a ‘no spend’ weekend. Ms Brading said: “Instead of splashing the cash, enjoy free activities like walks, movie nights, board games and museums. Using up any extra food or leftovers can also help your money go further.”

Buy own brand

Buying a supermarket’s own-branded products can result in “huge savings” over time, according to Ms Brading.

She said: “Most supermarkets provide their own cheaper alternatives to name brand options, with little difference in taste and considerable difference in cost.”

Sell, sell, sell

Ms Brading urged households to check if they can sell any items they don’t need anymore. She said: “We all have items lying around that we don’t need anymore so why not sell them on to someone who does? Apps like Vinted and Depop are ideal for selling on clothes while you can use platforms such as eBay and Facebook marketplace to sell almost anything.”

Use a trusted savings club

People can also use savings apps to help them stay on track for their goals. Ms Brading said: “Save with a trusted partner, such as Park Christmas Savings, which helps you set a goal and squirrel away throughout the year to achieve your goal. I couldn’t do what I do without Park.”

Meaningful gifts

Birthdays and special occasions can drain bank accounts when it comes to gift buying. However, Ms Brading said: “A financially savvy alternative can be to create something original and authentic from the heart, rather than trying to impress with a big price tag.”

Apply Pay – go away

Removing debit cards from instant payment services such as Apply Pay can put a halt to easy overspending, Ms Brading said. She added: “Avoiding contactless payment services in general can make avoid frivolous spending.”

Set goals

Finally, Ms Brading’s “simple but effective” tip is to set a tangible savings goal. She explained: “Start by thinking about what you want to save for this Christmas. Then estimate how much money you’ll need and how long it might take you to save it to work out a week-to-week plan.

She added: “It’s never too late to start saving, and if you haven’t yet, then now is the time.”

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