WITH just 100 days until Christmas we've got some ideas for how you could save cash to help pay for the festive period.
Save £5 each day for 100 days from this Wednesday (September 15) until, and inclusive of, Christmas Eve on December 24 and you'll have £500.
Equally, if a fiver is too much, you could put aside £1 a day and you'd have £100 to spend on Christmas Eve.
If you don't want to have a last minute dash you might want to consider saving £10 everyday for 50 days and you'd have the same £500 but by an earlier date of November 4 if you also started on September 16.
Again, by the same theory, save a fiver over this time frame and you'd have £250 to put towards your Christmas shop on November 4.
Obviously you can adjust the savings to suit your budget. These are just suggestions to help get your savings pot set up.
Remember to stash cash in an account that pays interest - that way you'll earn extra dosh for free and your money is kept safe as long as the provider is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Money saving challenges
IF you'll struggle to save a fiver a day for 100 days before Christmas, why not give a different savings challenge a try instead?
Here's a rundown of some of the most popular schemes:
- Weather saving challenge - Save the amount equal to whatever the highest temperature was that week. £1 = 1C.
- 1p challenge - save 1p a day for everyday of the year, but it increase the amount by 1p each day. So day one you save 1p, 2p on day two and 3p on day three. When you reach 100 days you start adding a £1 coin each day too, while this increases to a £2 coin each day plus pennies at 200 days, and £3 each day on top of pennies at day 300.
- 20p a day challenge - Start by putting 20p in savings, then increase the amount by 20p every day. For example, the first week will look like this: 20p, 40p, 60p, 80p, £1, £1.20, £1.40.
- £5 a week challenge - Like the 20p challenge, put aside £5 a week and increase it by a fiver each week. Eg £5, £10, £15, £20
- Round-up challenge - Every time you buy something, round up the purchase to the nearest £1 and put the difference in a savings account. Eg. You pay £2.60, so you put 40p in savings. You can use an app such as Monzo or Starling to do this.
- Bingo challenge - Here you have a bingo card with different numbers on it and you tick them off when you’ve put that amount in your savings account. It can be ad hoc but you have to tick them all off by the end of the month.
- Monday to Sunday challenge - With this challenge, you simply save £1 on Monday, £2 on Tuesday and so on until the weekend where you don't save on Saturday or Sunday.
- 365 day challenge - Every Sunday you put aside £1, followed by £2 on Monday, £3 on Wednesday and so on. On Saturday you’ll put away £7, and then the process repeats and you’ll put aside £1 on Sunday as the new week begins.
The top easy-access savings account that is FSCS protected is with Skipton Building Society and currently pays 1.16% with NS&I. See our guide to the top savings accounts for a rundown of the best deals.
Of course, while this sounds simply on the surface it only works if you actually have the money to put aside in the first place.
If you don't think you'll have any disposable income spare, below are some top tips you could use to try and stash away £5 a day.
Reclaim cash for cancelled holidays
If your usual summer holiday was cancelled due to coronavirus this year, check if you're due a refund.
Those with cancelled package holidays are due a full refund, while people with cancelled flights are also entitled to a refund or alternative flight.
Unfortunately, for hotels booked individually you're usually at the mercy of the owner, while those who cancel trips themselves aren't entitled to their money back.
Complain to your travel provider in the first instance, and then to any relevant trade bodies. If that doesn't work, check if you're covered by your card provider or travel insurer.
Instead of putting this cash towards a different trip, why not consider using some of it now to pay for Christmas?
You ma be able to reclaim the cost of unused or partially used travel insurance policies on top too.
Turn season tickets into savings
Millions of people will still be working from home, so why not tuck savings made from annual season tickets or petrol costs into your Christmas fund this year instead?
You may also be able to save on car insurance if you're not currently using your vehicle.
Plus, the same could be set for those with annual football season tickets too given we don't know yet when fans will be allowed back in stadiums - is this something you could like without this year?
Scrap your weekly takeaway
Treat yourself to a takeaway each weekend and this could easily set you back £10 a pop, including delivery fees - or quadruple the price for a family of four.
Ditch this and you're adding roughly £1.42 a day into your Christmas savings pot.
Look up recipes for cheap "fakeaways" you can make from home to curb takeaway cravings.
Say goodbye to Netflix and Spotify
Netflix costs between £5.99 and £11.99 a month, while it's £9.99 a month for Spotify's Premium music streaming service.
Yet both providers let you cancel penalty free at any point as you're not tied into any contracts.
Cancel and you could save between £15.98 to £21.98 a month or between 53p and 73p a day based on a 30-day month. It may seem small but every little helps.
Do you also have a gym membership you don't use or other unused contracts you could cancel to save? If so, weed them out - just check for early exit fees before you do so.
Downshift to own-brand groceries
Switch your weekly food shop to supermarket own-brand labels rather than those sold by big brands.
Consumer site MoneySavingExpert.com reckons you could save 30% doing this.
On the average £61.90 weekly shop, according to the Office for National Statistics, that's a £20.63 a week saving - or almost a £3 saving per day.
By planning a weekly shop you're also more likely to save compared to making daily trips to pricier convenience and local stores.
Earn hundred of pounds a week by signing up to odd jobs sites where you can get paid for everything from cleaning to putting together flatpack furniture.
During the crisis, taskers have made money from doing supermarket shops to picking up prescriptions.
Check if you've got cash in the attic
Raid your home for things you could sell on eBay or other online marketplaces to raise extra cash.
Old clobber can be sold on Depop, while coin hunters will often strike a deal for sought after shrapnel on eBay - and cut-price office furniture is likely to be popular if you're heading back to the office soon.
Just remember to check selling fees before doing so and factor postage into any prices.
Switch your utility bills
Carry out a stock take of your mobile, broadband, TV and energy bills to see if you could save by switching.
On energy bills alone you might be able to save up to £300 a year.
Plug your details into a free comparison tool to check for savings but remember to bear in mind any early cancellation fees.
Make hundreds moving bank
Lloyds Bank will pay you £100 in ten working days if you switch to its Club Lloyds Account before November 9.
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To qualify, you need to transfer and close your existing current account held elsewhere and pay in at least £1,500 a month if you want to avoid the account's £3 monthly fee.
You can't however, open the account if you've received cashback for switching to Lloyds Bank since April 2018.
RBS also pays switchers £100 if they meet various requirements but you're not guaranteed the bonus in time for Christmas.