How To Do Christmas For Less

By Leeds Credit Union

Every year at Leeds Credit Union, we conduct a survey of our members to get a better idea of their financial circumstances and spending plans for the coming months. Regrettably, this year's survey revealed that one third of our members don't know how - or if - they'll be able to fund Christmas.

With the pandemic showing no sign of stopping, it's highly likely that a significant number of people outside of Yorkshire are in the same boat too, so we've compiled our top tips for making Christmas more affordable this year. Read on to find out more.


Own brand perfume

Most perfumes are purchased in November and December so it's no surprise that they're among the most popular Christmas gifts.

With many big name brands selling their scents for more than £100 per bottle, finding cheaper alternatives can save you a packet. 

The good news is that fragrances are technically recipes and so cannot be trademarked, meaning other perfumes can be made to smell like the more illustrious ones for a fraction of the price. Channel's famous Coco Mademoiselle, for example, typically retails for around £120; Next's Eau Nude, which smells identical, is just £14.99.


You can reduce your expenditure on presents this year by giving your nearest and dearest the greatest gift of all - you!

Homemade, practical IOU vouchers can be personalised for anyone on your 'to buy for' list, and could include offering to babysit, doing the school run, walking someone's dog or doing some DIY. Best of all, they're unlikely to cost you anything but your time.



Although all sorts of meat are popular at dinner time on Christmas day, turkey is still the bird of choice for most Brits. Most of us usually clamour to pick up a fresh turkey in the days immediately before Christmas but there is a more cost-effective option: frozen turkeys.

At £2.85 per kilo, frozen turkeys are almost exactly half the price of fresh ones and they're likely to be tastier too, as the quality of fresh turkeys diminishes the longer they sit on supermarket shelves. 


In the UK, December is unofficially smoked salmon month, with shoppers spending twice as much on the fishy favourite in the run up to Christmas as we do in any other month. 

However, rather than splashing out for a side of salmon or expensive fillets, keep an eye out for salmon trimmings. Taken from the edges of a main prime cut or an incomplete piece, trimmings are every bit as tasty but can be as much as 40% cheaper.


Free tickets

For many of us, a festive trip to the local pantomime is as essential to Christmas time as mistletoe and mince pies. But with ticket prices on the rise, why not apply for free tickets to one of the BBC's numerous TV and radio shows this year instead?

A comprehensive list of available tickets can be found here - just remember to visit the website regularly as they tend to get snapped up quickly.

Staying in is the new going out

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, there's a reasonable chance that some restrictions might be in place by the time Christmas arrives. But even if that does turn out to be the case, there are still plenty of fun things for families to do at home that won't cost the earth. These include: 

  • watching Christmas films. There are always plenty to choose from on TV throughout December so take it in turns to pick one, settle in on the sofa with a few treats and get cosy.
  • having a scavenger hunt. Simply hide an inexpensive prize - such as some chocolate - then place some clues that will lead your family to it around the house. Perfect if it's cold and wet outside...
  • ...but if you get lucky and it's snowy outside, there's no better time to get in the garden and build a snowman or instigate a snowball fight!
  • playing games. Dust off your old Monopoly set if you want to get competitive; stick to charades if you'd rather keep it lighthearted.

We're here to help

Most of us look forward to Christmas time but for those suffering financial hardship, December 25th can be the cause of sleepless nights. We offer affordable small loans of £250 to our members to help ensure no one needs to go into the red over the festive period - find out how to join here.