Christmas can be expensive. Often we end up spending more than we intend on things we don’t usually need. As it’s December, I thought I’d offer some top Christmas money saving tips, to help you plan for the festive season.
But don’t just take my word for it. I’ve enlisted the help of a range of money bloggers, each of which have shared their top Christmas money saving tips. Like all topics, opinions vary widely. I’ve tried to take a balanced view, giving you all the options so you can make your own decisions.
In this post I will cover:
- Planning ahead
- Secret Santa
- Get sentimental and/or creative
- Relax and have fun
- Don’t forget about other expenses
- Covid-19 modifications
Planning ahead – the top Christmas money saving tip
Given it is only about two weeks till Christmas, it’s probably too late to start planning ahead now. But, these tips could serve you well for future years.
A lot of people suggested starting planning in January, so you’re organised and can put aside the money you think you’ll need.
You can also choose to buy gifts or pay for your food shop well in advance of January to spread the costs over the whole year, rather than just one or two months. This can be really beneficial as it saves you being hit with one huge credit card bill. But, if adopting this approach, you should keep track of everything you’ve bought to avoid overspending. It’s easy to forget about gifts you bought in August!
Planning ahead doesn’t just have to be limited to creating a budget or fund for Christmas though. Jack Bamford recommends getting ahead with your bill payments to save money. The idea is to pay your bills early, so you have more money left over by the time Christmas comes.
Switching bill providers could also help. Remember, cashback sites like Quidco can earn you hundreds of pounds back just for switching providers. You can sign up using my referral code here.
It’s hard to talk about any personal finance issue without mentioning the B word.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, I’m sure you’ll know the score. Work out how much you have to spend, make a budget and then stick to it. Simple, right?
Madison suggests creating a budget that you know you can stick to. If you’re in a relationship, it’s also important to talk about your budget, agree what you will spend and then stick to it. This will help prevent any arguments or resentment within couples.
This is one of Jim’s (Wallet Hacks) top tips! Not only is Secret Santa fun, it is also budget friendly.
The idea is simple. Rather than buying for every family member or every friend in a group, you all pick names out of a hat – or a computer does it for you – and you buy for one person. As a group you can decide on a reasonable budget for everyone to stick to. Don’t be afraid to say if this is too high for you. It’s been a difficult year for many people, so people will understand if you need to spend less.
If you want to make it more fun, you can even set a theme. My friends and I have decided that the gift has to have the same first letter as the name of the person you’re buying for.
Get sentimental and/or creative
You don’t have to break the bank to give a meaningful and well-received present. Kat from Cash for Kat believes the best Christmas presents are memories and experiences. She suggested framed photos, games to play together and personalised trinkets. These are all thoughtful and budget friendly!
However, handmade gifts aren’t always as budget friendly as you may think. Johanna Tatlow warned that you should consider the cost of supplies and materials for whatever gifts you are making. Combine this with the time it takes you and you may have been better off buying a gift – if saving money is your primary aim of course.
Christmas can also be a good time to give back. While this may not be a top Christmas money saving tip as such, charity is always worth considering.
Some charities even offer ‘gift’ options.. From sponsoring endangered species or rescue dogs (a personal favourite), to buying gifts for refugees, there’s plenty of options for everyone. This is also a great option when you’re stuck on what to buy someone or for people who like to live minimally.
Relax and have fun
However, not everyone is so keen on sticking so strictly to a budget during the festive period. If you’ve worked hard all year and saved wisely, why not splash out a little for Christmas?
People apply this attitude to food, alcohol and parties (pre-Covid!), so why not to money too? That’s not to say you should overindulge and end up in debt for the sake of a few extra Christmas presents.
But, if you have a little extra left over to spend, you could consider using it to treat your loved ones or even yourself.
Don’t forget about other expenses
A lot of this post has been focused on present buying. Keeping Up With The Bulls warned that you shouldn’t forget about all the other expenses associated with Christmas.
Things like travel, decorations, food and parties can all cost a lot of money without you realising. Her top tips include: traveling at a slightly different time to most people (if work commitments allow); stocking up on discounted decorations in January; and not buying new outfits for every party.
These changes won’t affect your celebrations, but may well leave your purse feeling heavier come January.
You might need to amend what you do this year. Perhaps it’s because you can’t see people, your income has been reduced, or maybe you’re shielding and can’t make it to shops or the post office.
It’s ok to do things differently and you shouldn’t feel pressure to ‘make up’ for anything. The best way to avoid any arguments or resentments is to be open and discuss your situation with your family and friends so they know what to expect.
Of course, this could also be a good thing. Dr Barbara O’Neill suggested adjusting previous holiday spending patterns for Covid-19 related changes. You could spend more of gifts for people if you won’t have large travel expenses to see them. The other option of course, is to simply spend less and increase your savings or investments – the choice is yours!
So there you have it, my top Christmas money saving tips. If you found this post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please leave a comment! What are your top tips to save money this Christmas? Also, please get in touch if you’d like to be included in a future post. I’d love to hear from as many different points of view as possible!