How to spend a little less this Christmas
Christmas can be a stressful time financially and lots of people find themselves spending more than they can afford over the festive period which can add extra worry in the new year paying off debt. Coupled with this, many of us will be paid earlier than normal in December, leaving January as a very long month to manage.
This year we all know Christmas will be a little different, so use this as an opportunity to think about what is important and what you are going to remember in years to come which is unlikely to be expensive presents or excessive amounts of food but more likely spending time with those that are most important to us (virtually in many cases), setting new traditions and getting crafty with presents and wrapping.
So here are some ideas of how you can spend a little less this Christmas:
Plan your budget for Christmas and January - understand how much money you need to last you until pay day in January including all your outgoings and therefore how much you have to spend on Christmas. Once you know how much you have, split this down into food, presents etc to ensure that you don’t overspend and stick to your budget by regularly checking your bank balance. You can consider downloading Yolt (https://www.yolt.com/) which is a free app to bring all your bank accounts and credit card accounts together so you can easily keep a track of spending.
Ban unnecessary gifts - how often do we get presents we never use, don’t like or get relegated to the back of the cupboard come Boxing Day. Think about setting a budget with friends and family, having a list of what you really want or need to share with those that buy for you or making charity donations for those less fortunate than us.
Make home made presents and cards - many of us have got crafty and creative this year, so use this as an opportunity to make home made presents which could be anything from facemarks, to chutneys and mince pies or photo collages.
Do Secret Santa - if you usually buy for a lot of family members or groups of friends, consider doing a secret Santa instead where you just buy for one person.
Give the present of time - as we haven’t seen many of our friends and family this year, consider giving the gift of time together when we are able to and plan days outs or home made dinners which don’t need to cost a lot of money.
Think about free/cheap activities you can do instead of spending lots on Christmas visits and trips - again opportunities to do ‘Christmassy' things this year are more limited but there is plenty you can do that is free and festive. Think about driving to see Christmas lights in your town, watch Christmas films with a hot chocolate, making home made cookies or mince pies, making home made decorations with items you have at home (Pinterest is great for ideas) or go picking holly from a local park and make a wreath, wrap up warm and go for a winter walk, if it is safe to do so attend outdoor Christmas Markets or carol singing (at a social distance).
Cut down on your Christmas food shop - we are all guilty of spending excessive amounts of money on food for Christmas, make a list of exactly what meals you are going to have which day and stick to this when you go shopping.
Hunt out vouchers and offers - lookout for vouchers on websites such as https://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/dealfinder or points you might have on loyalty cards that can save you money on presents. Often by signing up to retailers newsletters on their website you can also get an extra 10% off your next purchase.