Welcome to my first post in the new series 12 Thrifty Days of Christmas.
Now is the time to finalise your Christmas location plans. Grab a pen and paper and answer the basic following questions.
1.Where I be spending Christmas?
2. Who will I be spending Christmas with?
3. Will I be away from home and how long for?
4. If people are visiting my home how many are visiting and how long for?
Book your travel now, it’s best to book early! Go on, do it now – and if you’re booking a train, reserve a seat too. Trains around Christmas are standing room only for those not savvy enough to book a seat.I covered trains earlier today in my post how to get cheap train tickets but if you’re travelling half way across the country it is well worth taking a look at the price of flying which can be remarkably cheap in comparison to other methods if you get your travel dates right. If you can be flexible with your dates then all the better, travel the weekend before or on Christmas Eve is obviously going to be more expensive so try to play around with your travel dates. We’ve been known to arrange to work right up until the last minute (covering for others who would like the time off) so long as we can do it away from the office. This means we’re able to travel to stay with family earlier and get better travel deals. In a time when many employers allow you to work from wherever you fancy, it is at least worth asking.Take a look at coaches as the prices are significantly cheaper than train fares and always make sure to find out if Megabus operate on your route because you could strike it lucky with a £1 fare! I remember once upon a time, a train to my destination was going to set me back about £70 but I managed to get a £1 Megabus to a city local to my destination then hop on a local network bus for £4. Bargain!
Often it is a thrifty option, especially if you’re travelling as a group, to hire a car and around Christmas this seems to be the case as long as you’re not starting or ending the hire period between 24th and 27th December. We actually found it was cheaper (by over £300!) for a relative to hire a car for 2 extra days than to pick the car up on Christmas Eve as needed.On the subject of cars it is well worth looking into the car share, be that you catching a lift with someone or you giving someone a lift and ask them to cover your petrol costs. There are various lift share schemes out there (large work places often have them on the intranet) and my favourite is this one.
Our family have lots of experience of going away over Christmas and whilst more expensive than some times of the year, hiring a house worked out about 80% cheaper than taking hotel rooms for each of us. It meant we could also cook our own food and drink what we liked rather than dine out expensively at a hotel or restaurant and drink from a hotel bar.
If you need to stay away over Christmas the booking early rule also applies here, so if you haven’t already booked your accommodation now is the time.If you will be using overnight accommodation just as a place to crash, whilst spending the rest of your time with relatives have a little word with yourself about how grand a place you need to stay in. Commuter hotels won’t be as busy and you could get a good deal over the Christmas break. Make sure you phone your chosen accommodation and ask to negotiate a price, I tend to find I’m able to better even the best internet prices with a spot o’ phone haggling.
There are many expenses included in hosting people over a festive period, so if you’re having people to stay over Christmas now is the time to ask them to finalise their arrival plans, so you can draw up your plans.First off figure out how many people will be staying and how long for, then break it down to see how many meals their stay will include. You can move from there to make a budget for extra meals, nibbles and drink – I’ll be covering the details of Christmas budgets in the coming posts.Do you have enough space for these people and do you have enough blankets, sheets and towels to make their stay a nice one (I know a lot of you out there are setting up home for the first time, so I know this can be a costly issue which pops up around Christmas)? Can you afford to invest in more or should you ask them to bring sleeping bags and a towel each?If you’re planning to have people to stay on a regular basis, investing in a blow up bed and some sheets might be a great idea (especially if there are some good sales on), however you need to work out if this is the right time for you and your family to make this investment.
1. Double airbed was £39.99 now £19.99 //
2. Raised airbed £31.99 //
3. Single & double airbed £21.62
If you can’t afford to buy something new search out Freecycle (years ago we picked up a brand new, in box blow up bed from our local Freecycle) listings, hunt things down on eBay or even ask friends and neighbours if they have anything you can borrowThis page and all pages on this site contain links to outside sources including paid affiliates. A Thrifty Mrs is not responsible for the content of any third party website. Click here for my disclosure policy.