Five ways to save money as it's just 100 days until Christmas | The Sun

IT’S never too early to start getting ready for Christmas.

With just 100 days to go until December 25, it's a good time to start thinking about putting a budget in place.

But with soaring energy bills and rocketing inflation hitting finances this year, saving might feel like a bit more of a challenge.

From saving money to sorting finances, we’ve come up with five tips to help you claw back the pounds before the festive season.

Cancel subscriptions you don’t need 

An easy way to keep your wallet well-stocked is by cancelling monthly subscriptions such as Sky, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime and iCloud storage.

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Have a look at your direct debits, and ask yourself if you really use all the services you are forking out for.

A standard Netflix subscription costs £10.99 per month, while Amazon recently hiked its monthly Prime subscription cost to £8.99.

Cancelling these subscriptions doesn't need to be permanent – you could do it temporarily as a way of saving cash before the festive period – and rejoin in the new year.

Check your benefits

If you’re struggling to cope, you could be entitled to financial support from the government but you’ll need to claim it.

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Those out of work, unable to work or on a low income could qualify for Universal Credit.

It's easy to miss out on payments you never knew existed as you have to be specific when you apply.

The quickest way to see what benefits you may be able to claim is to use one of the three benefit calculators recommended by Gov.uk.

Each one is free to use. They are: 

  • Turn2us
  • Policy in Practice
  • entitledto

Before using the tools, make sure you have key financial information to hand, such as bank and savings statements, and information on pensions and existing benefits.

Some of the benefits that people regularly don't claim include Universal Credit, pensions credit and child credit.

Consolidate your debt

Debt consolidation is one way to rein in your outgoings and just have one monthly repayment to manage.

It is one way of reducing the amount of loans, credit card or debt payments you are making.

But taking on debt to pay off other debt isn't always the right route for a lot of people, so you need to be careful – seek advice if you're not sure.

The Sun recently spoke to expert Andy Shaw from debt charity StepChange about the best ways to consolidate your debt.

These include using a low-interest consolidation loan or a 0% balance transfer credit card.

Switch your bank account

You could get up to £175 in free cash just by switching to a new bank account.

Santander currently pays £175 if you move to its 123 Lite account.

This does cost £2 a month and you have to pay in a minimum of £500 a month to the account.

But you can earn between one and three per cent cashback on bills, including two per cent on energy bills.

There is a maximum of £5 in cashback per bill, so £15 a month in total.

Read the terms and conditions before you switch, to find any clauses that might not suit you.

Nationwide is offering £100 if you switch to its FlexDirect account, while HSBC pays £110 to switch to its HSBC Advance account as well as a £30 voucher for either Uber Eats or The Dining Out. 

To switch your bank you just need to open a new account.

Tell the new bank your old account details and it will do the rest.

The Current Account Switching Service guarantee means it should only take seven days.

You'll need to check before you switch as some will only offer the perk if you make it your main bank account, switch direct debits and pay in a minimum amount each month.

Sell unwanted items

Selling unwanted items from around the house could make you more than £1,000, according to eBay expert Clare Seal.

Think laptops, pushchairs, musical instruments and gardening tools.

Facebook Marketplace and the Nextdoor app are also good for selling to people who live locally — and you don’t have to pay to list items.

You can earn up to £1,000 a year from selling items without having to pay tax.

Where can I get help with my bills?

If you are struggling with your food bill then there are a number of charities and organisations which may be able to help, on top of the providers that offer their own grants.

Hard-up households can grab free cash towards essential living costs, including a £36 voucher for food items.

The extra support comes as part of the government's Household Support Fund (HSF) initiative.

The current batch of funding will be available until September 30 – but households are being urged to apply for help as soon as possible.

Money is dished out to local councils, which will decide what sort of help to offer in their area and who is eligible.

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To find out what support is on offer in your area, speak directly to your local council, or visit its website for more details.

Even if you're not eligible for help under the Household Support Fund you may be eligible for cash elsewhere to help with the cost of living.

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