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In association with Experian's United For Financial Health Programme

How to have a Merry Christmas without breaking the bank

We’ve rounded up some ways to spend less this holiday season to help stay in the green.

Association from Experian's United For Financial Health Programme

It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most expensive for many. The idea of sticking to a budget through the festive season can feel like mission impossible, so we’ve rounded up some ways to spend less this holiday season to help stay in the green.

Shop second-hand 

There can be a huge temptation to buy everything brand new when Christmas comes around, yet it can be the perfect time to give once-loved items a second chance at a new life. The plethora of charity shops stocked with new and barely used items across the country – especially those in cities – can uncover a whole host of preloved gifts for family and friends. Whether you’re looking for unique accessories, vintage homeware or a novel to get lost in, charity shops not only support great causes but help reduce waste and save some pennies.

Even if you’re looking for a specific item or a luxury present, you no longer need to rely on shiny department stores for your shopping. Thanks to the rise of reselling platforms, you can find pre-loved designer items on sites including Vestiaire Collective and Vinted, as well as discovering unopened items on eBay and Depop, amongst other sites.

Regift and recycle 

Admit it or not, we’ve all had a gift that never made it out of the box which we’ve rewrapped and regifted. Although it might feel a bit rude at first, rather than allowing an unused gift to gather dust, Christmas can provide the perfect opportunity to pass items on to those who will appreciate them. 

“Regifting shouldn’t be something we’re afraid of, it’s a great way of reducing waste and being sustainable, by giving something a second life,” says Micaela Lindsay, founder of small gifting business That Counts. “If a gift isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll surely know somebody who would love it, so why not gift it on?”.

Of course, there’s some key etiquette to keep in mind when it comes to regifting.Take care to check that you don’t return a gift to the original sender if you want to an awkward situation, and make sure that the item you’re regifting is in excellent condition before you consider passing it on to someone else. After all, regifting shouldn’t be a way to clear out your cupboards but an opportunity to give someone a gift they will truly enjoy.

Get crafty for Christmas

Discovering your artistic side isn’t only reserved for school children, and there’s no better time of the year to make use of your creative skills than Christmas time. Whether you’re a future Bake Off winner and can whip up edible treats in the kitchen or you’re at home with an easel and paint, make the most of your talents to bring homemade gifts to life this year. It may not be more time efficient, however DIY presents can help you to spend less money and add an extra special touch to your gifts.

Get crafty with your presents this year. Photo from Pexels

Add more plants to your plate

Whether you’re a fully-fledged plant eater or dipping your toe into the flexitarian way of life, there’s no denying that reducing your meat consumption is one sure fire step towards cutting both your carbon footprint and your food costs this Christmas. By shifting your focus away from meat and focusing on vegetables and plants this year for festive feasting – in particular, buying produce grown in the UK – you can see hefty savings on your food bill.

Is it really worthwhile saying no to Turkey this year in favour of a more environmentally friendly alternative?  According to Hanuman Dass, Founder of Social Action NGO Go Dharmic, the impact of switching to a plant-based Christmas dinner can be substantial.

“A plant-based Christmas meal is likely to have contributed 6 times less carbon emissions than one with animals. A plant based diet is one of the biggest acts of kindness you can do this Christmas for yourself, for animals and for our planet.”

Rent your party outfit

Party season is here and after a couple of years without festive fun, it’s set to be a month filled with tinsel and Christmas songs on repeat. The pressure to buy a new outfit for every occasion can pile on at this time of year, 

Clothing rental isn’t a new concept, although for many years it has been reserved for one-off occasions and expensive items alone. Fast-forward to recent years and everyday fashion rental is on the rise, with rental platforms emerging to allow users to borrow items from others, or rent directly from brands themselves. 

By giving renters access to new and in demand items for a number of days or weeks, rental services are aiming to tackle the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry, as well as providing a way to wear expensive items without breaking the bank.

Support small business

There may be some brand new presents on your shopping list so this year, remember the power that you have with your pounds and the difference you can make when you choose where to spend. Tempting as free next day delivery may be, think about how you can shop savvier and support a small independent business this year.

At The Big Issue Shop, you can use your spending power for good. With a carefully curated selection of products and brands on offer, the shop helps you to discover gifts that put the planet – and people – first. The Big Issue Shop makes shopping with a social echo easier than ever before.

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For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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