Hi, I’m Jess Pursglove, Saffron Walden Branch Manager at Saffron Building Society.

I’m delighted to announce that we have launched a new monthly column, where we’ll share our personal finance hints and tips.

So, with one, maybe two more pay packets to go before Christmas, we’re sharing our top 10 festive savvy saving tips.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Jess Pursglove, Saffron Building SocietyJess Pursglove, Saffron Building Society (Image: Saffron Building Society)

1. Set a budget…and don’t budge on it! Christmas is marked as a time for giving but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. So, make a budget in advance and commit to it. Keep track of your spending too.

I like to create a spreadsheet so I can tally up my spending and see it at the click of a button – it also helps you to see that a handful of ‘oh it’s only a fiver’ purchases soon add up.

2. Choose the humble chicken. The rise in food costs has been well documented, especially over the last 12 months.

The average cost of Christmas dinner increased by nearly 22 per cent from 2021 to 2022 so it’s safe to assume that figure will continue its upward trajectory this year.

One way to bring the cost down is to make a cheaper choice when it comes to your poultry, and we think the modest chicken is just as easy to jazz up as its pricey, festive counterpart.

3. Coupons and vouchers. Always remember to check your loyalty reward, coupon, and voucher schemes. I’d also remind people to look at HOW you use them.

So many of us put them towards our Christmas food shop, but some supermarkets allow you to double your points with certain retailers – meaning you get MORE for your money.

4. Discount and offer events. Keep a look out for planned retail events like Black Friday, which takes place on Friday, November 24. Many of the offers run until Cyber Monday on November 27.

5. Plan your travel. Speak with your family and friends now and make your travel arrangements – train tickets are often much cheaper when you book in advance.

6. Pre-Christmas selling spree. In my house we have a rule - if we haven’t used it since last year then we sell it and add the money to this year’s kitty.

7. Secret Santa. It’s an oldie but a goodie, and what’s more, it works to reduce your overall gift spend.

Embrace those conversations with friends and family. If money is tight, I can almost guarantee you won’t be the only one in your social circle feeling it.

8. Say it with an e-card. Sending e-cards is not only more environmentally friendly, but it also saves on the overall cost of the physical cards and postage.

9. Save some gift-giving for January. January is often regarded as one of the most depressing months of the year, with people typically citing ‘the Christmas Come Down'.

Why not extend the festivities into the New Year and pick up a bargain gift in the sales, too? Not only will it combat the January blues, but it'll also ease the pressure felt on your pocket.

It may even mean you can shop the Boxing Day sales for some gift purchases and make the most of yellow-stickered items in the food aisles.

10. Start planning ahead for Christmas 2024. Create a savings habit now that will help ease the pressure for Christmas next year.

Simply come into branch and my team can talk you through the options we have to support you and your savings journey.

If you have a question for our next column, please email us at askjess@saffronbs.co.uk and include your name and confirm your local Saffron Building Society branch.