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Enjoy Christmas Without Putting Yourself In Debt: Our Top Tips For Budgeting Over The Festive Period

By December 4, 2023No Comments

Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most joyous times of the year – but it can also be the most expensive. Christmas gifts, cards, travel, social gatherings and festive foods and films all make for a pretty pricey way to end the year, and with the cost-of-living crisis exacerbating the cost of these traditions even further, it’s no wonder we’re all feeling the pinch this season.

So what can you do to ease the financial burden without missing out on all the festive fun? Our main piece of advice is… budget, budget, budget! In this post we’re sharing 9 of our top budgeting tips to help you make your money go further this Christmas.

Spread costs throughout the year

Although this probably won’t help you for this festive season, it’s something we definitely recommend you consider for next Christmas. Spreading the costs out over the year ensures you don’t take such a financial hit come December. And there are many ways you can do this, such as:

  • Set aside money each month (or as and when you can afford to) using a savings pot or savings challenge
  • Buy presents throughout the year – this allows you to take advantage of various sales and promotions (we know many people who start their Christmas shopping during the January sales… now that is forward planning!)
  • Stock up on cupboard or freezer items when they’re on offer – many of these items can be bought months in advance, so if you spot something at a bargain price that’ll keep until the big day then buy them earlier in the year and save yourself those extra pennies

Set a budget

Here’s where you may need to be quite ruthless. Evaluate how much you can realistically afford to spend on gifts for each person and for your food shop – and do everything you can to stick to that budget. 

Are there certain people you don’t really need to buy for? If there are, perhaps you could arrange to do something fun together in the new year in lieu of exchanging presents. Or if you usually buy for multiple people in one family, you could potentially cut the cost down by buying something for the whole family to share (you can rarely go wrong with yummy chocolates or a box of biscuits!) or by suggesting a round of Secret Santa instead.

Consider buying second-hand

With the rise in popularity of Facebook Marketplace, Vinted, Ebay and many other sites, it’s really easy to grab some second-hand bargains – many of which are like new. You could even make a little extra cash by selling some items you no longer want or need.

If you’re a keen crafter or baker, you could make homemade gifts this year instead, or if you received an unwanted gift that you know would be perfect for someone else, don’t be afraid to re-gift it! 

Take advantage of loyalty, saving or cashback schemes

Whether you’re buying gifts, purchasing train tickets or planning your Christmas food shop, it’s always worth having a look to see if the companies you use offer any type of reward or discount scheme.  

Many companies will often offer a one-off discount code for signing up to their mailing list (which you can later unsubscribe to!), which is worthwhile if you know you’re going to make a purchase with them. You could also engage in some trolley tactics by abandoning things in your online basket – sometimes companies will then email you with a discount code to entice you to complete your purchase. This doesn’t always pay off though and the price may actually increase so use with caution!

Use a budgeting app

If you have several bank accounts it can be difficult to keep track of how much you’re spending overall. Here’s where budgeting apps, such as Snoop or Emma, come in handy! These types of apps bring all of your accounts together in one place, helping you to monitor and curb spending more effectively. 

Shop around

No matter what you’re buying, it’s always a good idea to shop around to compare prices so that you can be confident you’re getting the best deal. There are also certain websites that track prices throughout the year to help you decide when the best time to buy is.

Re-use gift wrap, bags and tags

This is such a nifty little money-saving tip! Try to re-use any gift bags, tags, ribbon and wrapping paper you’ve received over the year wherever you can to help you cut down on additional costs. 

Stick to the list

This applies whether you’re buying gifts or completing your food shop. Making a list beforehand minimises the risk of getting enticed by Christmas promotions and making impulse purchases you later regret.

Make the most of free trials

In the run up to Christmas many companies offer free trials of their services, which might be worthwhile if you were considering using them anyway. For example, if you usually purchase a couple of Christmas films to watch over the festive season, you may find it beneficial to sign up to a free trial of a streaming service instead. If you’re ordering most of your Christmas shopping from Amazon, it might be worth taking advantage of Amazon Prime’s free trial instead of paying for delivery. Just make sure you remember to cancel before your trial comes to an end!

Make it a December to remember – for the right reason

And that’s a wrap (pun intended)! We hope these money-saving tips help you enjoy the festivities without the fear of overspending. Do you have any other top tips that have helped you budget for the festive season? We’d love to hear them! Let us know by dropping a comment in the reply box below.

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