Money-saving expert and mum-of-three Lynn Beattie – aka Mrs Mummypenny – reveals how you can give your finances an overhaul in time for the New Year.
Putting aside £16 a day in December might seem daunting but if you follow Lynn’s tips there are plenty of painless ways to save cash and earn a bit extra on the side, too.
Ditch lockdown direct debits
Direct debits can add up without us noticing.
Lynn, who has three boys aged 14, 12 and nine, told Fabulous: “We all started adding subscriptions during lockdown to make life easier.
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“But no one needs Amazon Prime, Netflix and Disney Plus. Keep your favourite and cancel the others.
“It could save £20 a month or more.”
Lynn recommends a thorough check of all regular expenditure.
“Be ruthless,” she advises. “If you don’t use it, ditch it.”
Write a Christmas budget
The Bank of England estimates we spend £700 more than usual in December compared to other months.
“Save money and prevent costs spiralling by writing a budget and sticking to it,” says Lynn.
“I choose a maximum amount I can spend on Christmas presents, decorations, food, socialising and travel.
”Booking train travel in advance can save hundreds.
”My Christmas tickets cost £120 – that could have been £300 or more full price.”
“Don’t panic purchase Christmas decorations,” says Lynn.
“Use the brown paper your online purchases arrive in to make gift wrap.
”Keep ribbons and tags, or make your own.
”Send festive greetings online, and you’ve saved on stamps and cards.
”Savings will quickly add up to £40 or more.”
In December, we get tempted by big brand names.
Lynn suggests: “Stock up on a bargain supermarket gin like Morrisons’ London Dry Gin, and infuse it with clementines in smaller bottles for a special gift.”
Go small – or artificial!
Don’t turn your nose up at a fake tree, says Lynn.
“Mine is 12 years old, and looking great.
”I invested £100 in it, and by year four or five I was started to make savings on what I’d have spent on a real tree.
“But if you’re set on the real thing, remember you could save £30 or more if you chose one half the size.
”It will still look and smell gorgeous!”
Use cashback sites
Buying through a cashback site will ensure a nice lump sum at the beginning of January, says Lynn.
“You typically get six per cent off.
”Once it’s cleared, you can transfer to your savings account, or change it to shopping vouchers to get double discounts.
”If you’ve spent £200 on presents, that’s £12 or more.”
Save money at the start of the month
“Set up a direct debit at the start of the month,” Lynn says.
“Make a list of outgoings and work out what you can afford to put away each month.
“You can add to that total by generating cash.
”Sell the clutter in your home on Facebook Marketplace and old CDs and phones on Music Magpie.”
We have an average of £127 lying around the house in outdated tech.
Money saving challenges
Setting aside one lump sum can be a challenge, Lynn says, but there are other ways to boost savings
Use a round-up app
Always buying coffees on the go? You can use an app like Plum to round up what you spend to the nearest pound, and then get interest.
Stroll and save
Reward good behaviour – walk 10,000 steps, transfer £10 to your savings account. The more you walk, the more you save!
Check reward points
Check how much your store loyalty card has saved you during a shop, and transfer that to your savings account immediately. If you pay with accrued points, put aside the pounds saved.
Save into pots
Modern banking apps like Starling let you save into pots such as holidays, car repairs or clothes. Save £5 each week into each one.
For more of Lynn’s money saving tips, see Instagram @mrsmummypennyuk and www.mrsmummypenny.co.uk
Also, here’s how to save £100K so you can buy a house for your kids when they turn 18.
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