Christmas can be an expensive time of the year for families and we’re all on the look out for a bargain, or a money saving tip to help us through the festive month, and of course the even tougher January!
I for one save my money off vouchers until the big festive supermarket trip, and where my shocking memory allows, try to spread the cost by buying bits and pieces throughout the year.
But how much money are we bypassing or ignoring? the loose change from down the back of the sofa, the odd coins rescued from the hoover pipe and the washing machine filter.
A recent survey has revealed just under 70% of households have loose change lying around their home that never make it to a savings jar, equating to £60 a year per household on average and a shocking accumulative £1.5 billion in the UK!
And £60 a year can make quite a dent in your Christmas bill!
Or maybe save it up for a holiday trip? In the past we have saved our pennies all year and cashed it in at the beginning of the school summer holidays and it’s been our “picnic fund” so we can enjoy days out as a family and afford an ice cream or maybe a visit to the gift shop while we were out!
Sarah Willingham, money saving champion, who is supporting the “Dust off your Pennies” campaign launched by Coinstar, says: “You’d be surprised how much loose change you have lying around the house on dressing tables and down the back of the sofa! Popping your coins into a piggy bank is so easy and is a great way to get your kids into the saving habit too. They will LOVE collecting up their spare coppers and finding out how much they have managed to save, especially when they can turn their pocket money into goodies! Coinstar is a great way to find out how much you’ve managed to save!”
Sarah has put together a helpful list of money saving tips for this festive season as well!
1. Have a Secret Santa amongst the adults if you are having a large family Christmas – we do this and it saves LOADS as you buy for one person and set a limit on cost and you can have fun guessing who bought what. With kids, don’t give into peer pressure. Set a limit and STICK TO IT!
2. Make sure that you get gift receipts if you are buying anyone clothes so that they have the right to exchange the goods after Christmas. Most shops give you a longer ‘cooling off’ period during the festive period but make sure you check. Don’t feel bad about taking things back if you don’t like them
3. Don’t be tempted by all those pre-packaged Christmas foods – they’ll cost you way more than cooking from scratch and probably won’t taste as good. Mince pies can be made and frozen and you can make your Christmas cake well in advance. I’ll have done mine by the middle of November so I can keep feeding it with rum!
4. Look through your bank statements and cancel all those non-essential direct debits, such as gym membership and magazine subscriptions. The sums may not be massive, but every penny saved counts. I realised that I’d been paying out £20 a year for a dry cleaners that I hadn’t used in years! It is always good to have a bank statement spring clean every 2 to 3 months
5. In the build -up to Christmas, take advantage of any savings you’ve built up in jars and piggy banks. If you bring them with you to the supermarket you can exchange your coins for a voucher to spend in store when you take them to a Coinstar kiosk.
And if you’re feeling flush this season you penny jar can make a huge difference to a charity! the money you put in the coinstar machine can be donated to a host of national and international charities – think what a difference that £60 from your household could make!
This post is written in collaboration with Coinstar.co.uk
Piggy bank Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net