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Worried about frugal festivities? Here’s how to save £40 as Christmas costs start to soar

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woman in sweatshirt and jeans holding a gift box
woman in sweatshirt and jeans holding a gift box

For hundreds of thousands of homes across the UK, Christmas has never felt so tight.

The cost-of-living crisis coupled with rising energy costs – just as temperatures plummet – means consumers are tightening their purse strings instead of loosening their belts in the run up to the festive period. ­­

Data shows that even as Brits make their way through advent, consumer spending isn’t increasing, as results suggest retail sales growth lags far behind inflation rates.

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It’s hardly surprising given soaring food prices will mean that Christmas dinner this year will be nearly 22% more expensive than 2021’s festivities.

Rocketing energy prices have been dominating the news, to put it into perspective for households this December, a Sony PS5 played for 5 hours a day over the school holidays could cost an additional £7 in energy usage.

Personal finance experts, Quotezone.co.uk, share their three R’s to help people cut spiralling costs over Christmas: Reduce, Re-use, Rethink.

  • Reduce: the use of electronics over the festive period.
    • Sony claim the PS5 uses 199W per hour of HD gaming, pair that with a 55-inch Sony OLED television (84 watt/hour) and it will cost 10p an hour for gameplay
    • Try to use the immersion heater less often, electricity is usually more expensive than gas (typically three times the price) so it’s usually cheaper to use gas or oil to heat your water
    • Why not organise a secret Santa for family members and friends, this will reduce the number of gifts that have to be bought this Christmas and add extra festive fun to present giving
  • Re-use:
    • Food inflation is at record levels, so only buy what you can use. There are lots of recipes for clever ways to use leftovers or donate surplus to your local food bank
    • Regifting is no longer a taboo, don’t stick unwanted presents in the back of the cupboard, find a more suitable recipient and use up old gift bags before splashing out on wrapping paper
    • Reuse clothes as much as possible this festive season to try and cut down the volume of washing and the use of the tumble dryer
  • Rethink: how we use energy and what can significantly reduce your December bill.
    • Microwaves or air fryers actually cost less to run than a standard oven, if yours is gathering dust, try to make these energy efficient appliances front and centre for cooking over the holidays – unless you are catering for large numbers, in that case an oven is often ideal
    • Swap your standard lights for LEDs to save £11 on energy costs this month – Christmas lights should already be LEDs so you can feel free to enjoy without worry
    • Keep your clothing cool and avoid hot wash programmes – switch to 30 degrees and save 40%
    • Maybe trade in hot starters and desserts for cold, to reduce the use of kitchen appliances

Quotezone.co.uk energy saving expert, Jack Ferguson, comments: “With everyone in the house all day, the heating will be turned up and the oven will likely be in frequent use creating festive snacks, which could increase end of year bills by at least 10%.

“The cost-of-living crisis is incredibly serious and while the government is providing support, there are a variety of approaches households can consider to help reduce costs this December. A typical oven is 30p per use, so switching to colder options just twice a week can save the average home £1.20 during the Christmas fortnight. Next up is the central heating – most homes in the UK use natural gas which cost 10p per kWh, so a typical home with a 24kW boiler could use up to £2.40 per hour so reducing your heating by half an hour in the morning and evening could save you £33.60 over a two-week period.

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“Finally tumble dryers are known to be one of the more costly appliances in the home – at £1.53 per cycle, reducing usage by two loads a week could save you £6.12 in a fortnight, bringing the savings to just over £40 for these three changes alone.  From making these frugal decisions with energy usage plus adopting some of our simple tips in the run up to the big day, some of these measures could become second nature and help long-term savings beyond.”

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