Start Now, Download Oval. App Store Google Play

Discover tips and tricks on how to save and invest money by Oval Money

Got some last minute shopping to do? Having a panic about the standard seasonal pub sesh? Fear not. We’ve got some tips for you on how to keep costs down in ‘emergency’ situations this Christmas!

The Xmas Eve Pub Visit

It’s one of the best nights of the year. Everyone is finished with work, they’re all looking forward to the next day, it’s festive, it’s cheerful and the pub is the place to be. However, it can also be one of the most expensive.

Try and go at Happy hour. Also, don’t participate in rounds. It’s so tempting, but you can end up spending loads more (and drinking loads more) than you planned. If you’re in control of your own drinks you are also in control of the cost. You could also try mixing up your drinks a bit. Every alternate drink you could try and buy something non-alcoholic like tonic water or a soda.

Finally, look for the beers on tap, and check if they have any house beers. Usually they’re a fair bit cheaper than the rest.

The last minute present panic

Christmas is busy; you’re still working, you’re attending Christmas parties, and your evenings are spent mulling everything you can get your hands on. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to buy presents, and suddenly it’s December 23rd and you’re still present-less.

SO. What’s the answer? Discount Gift Cards. They’re the answer. Stores like cardyard or giftcardgranny are worth checking out. You can buy gift cards (personal favourite gifts of mine) at discount prices. Ie. you buy the card for £8.50 but the card value is £10.

It’s a win-win.

The contribution to Xmas dinner

Not every family is the same, but usually it’s nice to bring something to contribute to Christmas dinner. ‘Tis the season and all. Anyway, a bottle of wine or fizz is pretty traditional. Around Christmas there are usually some good deals on and it’s simple to just buy it and be done with it.

However, if you’re on a shoestring there’re cheaper, and (potentially) more thoughtful options. Making something is always nice, whether it be a cake or a plate of cookies. It helps you out on the cost front, and people always appreciate effort. Even if your cookies taste as bad as mine.

Another simple little idea is to pick up a few packets of chocolate coins. They’re usually around £1 each, and they can be a really nice touch just scattered across the Xmas table. People can help themselves to them over coffee, or with their dessert, and they add a little extra touch of decoration too.

The ‘oh my god I forgot about my sister-in-law’ disaster

If in doubt, edible gifts never let you down. Think wine, posh olive oil, nice chocolates, etc. You can grab them last minute from the supermarket, put a nice bow on them, and bob’s your uncle.

Alternatively, they’ll always have something interesting in their festive aisles that'll be fitting to give someone you only see a few times a year. How about, scented candles, DVD’s, or maybe a Christmas puzzle or game that the whole family can enjoy on Christmas day! Crisis averted.