Five ways to save as winter draws in

As winter (and Christmas!) hurtle towards us, it’s time to start preparing for the crisper weather and costly season ahead.

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Here are five budget-friendly ways to do this:

1. Reduce your energy bills

Cold nights are fast approaching and you’ll soon need your central heating, so it’s worth checking whether you’re paying more than you need to. Suppliers sometimes increase their prices, especially when demand is high. Whether you’re based in England, Scotland or Wales, you can quickly see if you’re getting the most from your money by checking these current energy deals.  

2. Prepare your car

Before long, the roads will be icy, so check your car is ready for winter conditions. You’ll find that some garages even offer special deals to prepare your car for winter, so it’s worth looking around locally and booking your car in before the weather turns. The garage will check fluid levels, tyres, and brakes, and identify any mechanical issues to prevent you from breaking down on a cold foggy night.

If your car insurance is due for renewal, remember to shop around for a better deal. It’s rare for the same insurer to offer the best rate year after year, so look out for cheaper car insurance.

3. Avoid festive stress

It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, yet for many of us it can be the most stressful!

Leaving Christmas shopping to the last minute is something we’re all guilty of, so how do you avoid this? Set yourself a budget and stick to it, as it’s all too easy to overspend on Christmas presents. It also helps if you try to start your Christmas shopping as early as you can, so you can take advantage of any late summer and pre-season sales. 

If you don’t have the cash, you can always spread the cost with a 0% credit card deal which might even give you cash back and rewards. Just make sure you pay off your balance before the end of the 0% period, otherwise you’ll be charged interest. You could also look at getting a cheap loan to help you manage this more expensive time of year. The good news is that when you compare loans and credit cards with us, our Smart Search will show you how likely you are to be accepted before you apply, so you can see your chances without harming your credit score.

If you’ve got some money saved up, make sure it’s working as hard as it can – this isn’t as much hassle as it sounds. There are lots of options out there, including traditional savings accounts like instant access accounts, ISAs and fixed rate bonds. Don’t forget to check out some high-interest current accounts too, as these can give a good deal as long as you can meet the account criteria.

4. Book Xmas train tickets now!

If you’re travelling to see friends and family by train this Christmas and New Year, tickets are available now, so you should book as soon as you can.

That’s because prices increase the closer you get to the date of departure. Plus, trains inevitably get very busy around the festive season, so if you get in early you’ll be able to book a seat.

You should also check out the range of railcards available from National Rail. These include Two Together, 16-25, Family & Friends and Senior versions, which offer a third off the price of most tickets in return for a £30 annual payment.

There is also a Disabled Person’s railcard (£20) and a HM Forces railcard (£19), which also trim a third off most ticket prices.

5. Cosy up at home

As the evenings get colder and darker, you might find yourself spending more time at home, so make sure your pad is prepared for those cosy nights in.

It’s worth checking that:

  • Your boiler is serviced
  • Your windows and doors aren’t letting in any drafts
  • Your loft is properly insulated
  • You have plenty of wood ready if you have a fireplace
  • Your garden is trimmed for winter

If your home insurance is due for renewal, don’t forget to update this too – especially with the festive holiday season around the corner, when you might have more valuable items under the Christmas tree.

Good to know

It might seem a bit early to be thinking about winter, but getting organised now will pay dividends later. A few moments of your time could save you a lot of stress and money down the line. MoneySuperMarket research has shown that stress significantly increases the likelihood of making unwary financial descisions. Thinking about finances and planning ahead is a great way to save this winter.

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