CHRISTMAS can put a huge strain on household budgets – but Martin Lewis has revealed his top money-saving tips for the festive period.
Brits will be keeping a keen eye on their finances this Christmas as they battle rising energy bills and soaring inflation.
Because of this, you’ll be wanting to know how you can save money.
MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis has been sharing his top pieces of advice to save households some cash this Christmas.
The Sun has rounded-up six tips from MSE website and weekly newsletter and The Martin Lewis Money Show on ITV.
Reduce your energy bill
Martin Lewis says that “focusing on energy efficiency” is the best way to “get your house in order” and save money.
In an episode of the Martin Lewis Money Show, he warned that tumble dryers could be pushing up energy bills.
He said “£1 pound a load typically [that will cost]. So really expensive to run.”
The money saving expert suggested minimising your use, maximising your load and putting it on for less time.
He also suggested getting a dehumidifier as it uses a lot less wattage.
A dehumidifier can help dry clothes by absorbing moisture in the air, though it will be slower as it’s combined with air drying.
But if you don’t have one already, of course you’ll have to cover the cost of buying one first.
You can pick one up for as little as £45 but they can run into hundreds of pounds, depending on the type you buy.
You’ll still have the cost of running the device too, but it could work out as less than a tumble dryer.
Martin also gave more tips for saving cash on energy bills.
Many water companies offer free water-saving devices that shave pounds off your bills too.
Contact your supplier or check out savewatersavemoney.co.uk.
He also suggested reducing your thermostat temperature from 21 to 20C.
This could save up to 10 per cent on your heating bill, with 18C fine for healthy adults, according to the World Health Organisation.
Martin also suggested checking your fridge temperature regularly, as wll as your central heating, could also save you money.
Here we explain more of Martin Lewis’ tips for reducing the cost of your energy bills.
Book Christmas food delivery slots early
Christmas is the busiest time of year to secure a delivery slot so you will want to get in early, according to MSE.
Most supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, have now all released their slots.
Lots of them have been snapped up already, so you won’t want to hang around if you’re keen to get one secured.
The Sun has put together a guide on the exact dates Christmas delivery slots are to be released.
Plan your spending
MSE say that its important that shoppers calculate their budget first before they start planning their presents.
It can be tempting to make sure everyone gets all the gifts they want, but it’s not worth blowing your budget.
The experts at MSE say that being unprepared is a “recipe for ending up broke”.
There are many free budget planners online – with Citizens Advice and StepChange all offering free tools.
The Sun recently spoke to budgeting expert Lucy Wallington, who explained how to get started and how to keep your finances on track.
Plan your Christmas travel
The first set of train tickets for the Christmas period have now been released and Martin Lewis is urging travellers to snap them up as soon as possible.
Advance train tickets are released 12 weeks before the date of travel and are generally cheaper than other types of fare.
They are only released in limited numbers for each service and once tickets are gone they’re gone.
Advance tickets are available now covering you for the whole of the festive calendar up until January 20, 2023.
But if you leave it until the last minute, you could face paying an extortionate amount.
Find the cheapest place to buy presents
Martin Lewis’ MSE say shopping online is usually cheaper than buying on the high street – and there are even more ways to secure the best deals.
Price comparison websites can be really helpful if you want to check what something costs across a range of retailers.
They’re not only useful at Christmas or on huge sales days, but if you’re looking to save on your weekly food shop too.
Comparison tools like Google Shopping and PriceySpy can all help you to find bargains.
They cover different retailers such as Amazon, John Lewis and Tesco, scouring the web for the best deals.
In his podcast, Martin Lewis suggested using price tracker websites, such as camelcamelcamel, which shows you how much something has sold for on Amazon across a specific time frame.
He said: “Amazon often lists the discount, but that doesn’t mean six months ago it wasn’t an even bigger discount.
“So you can see in reality how the price on many things that you’re buying has actually moved.
“So you can check out whether it’s actually a bargain or a bit of blag to try and get you to buy.”
And if you want to track a specific product, Martin recommended Love Sales.
On the website you can enter how much you want to pay for a specific item, and if and when it reaches that price, you get an email telling you.
Don’t miss out on cashback
Cashback websites, apps and cards can net you hundreds of even thousands of pounds.
TopCashback, for instance, reckons its average user makes £345 a year.
Cashback websites like Quidco and TopCashback are the first place to start.
But MSE say its important to never let the cashback dictate where you spend.
It said: “Focus on the cheapest deal, then see if cashback’s available.”
Here, The Sun revealed how Brits are saving money this Christmas, from “present prenups” to ditching turkey.
Plus, Ricky and Naomi from the successful Skint Dad website share their top tips to make your cash stretch until the big day.
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