There are a few things that spring instantly to mind when we think of Christmas: turkey, trees, baubles, stockings, and a huge pile of brightly wrapped presents. All these beautiful traditions also have one negative side effect – they cost money!
It is no secret that most budgets are stretched a little thinner this year due to increased living costs, and borrowing should be a last resort given the record-high interest rates.
In this guide, we have collated some expert tips from Wonga, the Citizens Advice Bureau and Martin Lewis to share some of the many ways you can keep the costs of Christmas well within your control.
Tip 1: Buy Smart
Black Friday is a massive sale event almost exactly a month before Christmas, and you can save a fortune on gifts, particularly branded clothes, and gaming items for the kids.
However, we strongly recommend you check the original price before you spend!
Some vendors use Black Friday to push deals that aren’t as great as they might seem, so it’s essential you shop around and avoid buying things in a panic because a deal is only a deal if you’re spending less than you would have.
Check the returns policy and period for anything you buy, just in case you change your mind.
It’s also worth reviewing warranties or guarantees for electricals so you can claim a refund or return anything that ends up being faulty.
Tip 2: Set a Gifting Budget
The spirit of giving is a festive tradition, but be sure you’re gifting for the right reasons rather than putting yourself in a tricky financial position.
Here are some quick and easy ideas:
- Set up a secret Santa with friends, family members or work colleagues.
- Agree on a maximum spend. Whether that’s £5 or £20, if you have an agreed budget, you won’t feel pressured to spend more than you can afford.
- Buy gifts only for kids rather than buying individual gifts for every person.
Never be afraid to start the conversation! Most people will be spending less this year, so it may be a relief to suggest a smaller budget or let your loved ones know you’ll be sticking to a limit.
Tip 3: Spend Selectively
Making a Christmas list early and spending time thinking about what people would really like is a great way to avoid the temptation to snap up extras during your weekly shopping or order more than you need to.
Although you’ll probably see loads of Christmas sales advertised, the reality is that many prices jump up right before the festive season, so buying early can spread the cost, too.
Tip 4: Make Simple Swaps
Worried about the costs of Christmas dinner? Try chicken instead of turkey, pre-order groceries and keep things in the freezer, or buy one item at a time in the run-up to the big day.
Don’t have the savings to purchase a new tree and hundreds of baubles? Look at second-hand marketplaces, make your own decorations, or scout out a few charity shops that often have amazing Christmas bits and pieces.
Tip 5: Pool Your Resources
One of the best things about Christmas is family, friendship, and community. If you’re determined to stay out of debt and make it a Christmas to remember, why not think about your nearest and dearest, who might also be struggling with costs?
Sharing Christmas dinner means one person can bring one thing each, such as crackers, pudding, or a party game, taking the pressure off your shoulders and spreading the joy between you.