Christmas decorations 1
Christmas decorations 1

How To Budget For Christmas

21st January 2021

As we get closer to the end of the year, it's that time when we think about giving and sharing. But let's be honest, the excitement of it all can sometimes lead us to spend more money than we planned. With the cost of living increasing, it’s always good to find ways to enjoy the holiday season without putting too much strain on our wallets.

Behind the scenes: what does Christmas really cost?

Before we jump into tips on how to do Christmas on a budget, let's talk about the real cost of Christmas nowadays. With an expected 3.4% increase in total Christmas spending, reaching nearly £110 billion, it's a good time to explore ways to manage your expenses wisely during this festive season.

Almost two-thirds of adults in the UK are planning to cut back on how much they spend this Christmas. This is from a study by Accenture, which shows that Britons are thinking about spending less on gifts, eating out, and even on food and drinks at home.

So, we’ve put together some simple tips on how to do Christmas on a budget.

Tips for Christmas on a Budget

Get Creative with Gifts

When it comes to gift-giving, it's easy to head to the store and buy something off the shelf. But let's be honest – buying individual gifts for all your friends can get expensive. So, here's an idea for budget Christmas gifts: get creative and make them yourself. Not only is it a fantastic money-saving strategy, but it also adds a personal touch that your friends will appreciate. Think handmade cookies, personalised soaps, candles, cards, scrapbooks or even photo holders.

Another option would be to give hampers or self-care bags. They don’t need to be fancy-some budget Christmas gift hamper ideas could include an assortment of bath and relaxation goodies sweets, books, bath salts, sugar scrubs or essential oils. In fact, Etsy has a great collection of personalised coasters that would make a great budget gift.

The options are endless, and the thought and effort you put into making these gifts will surely make them special.

Christmas décor on a budget

We all love the festive decorations that come with Christmas, but it doesn't have to break the bank. Head to craft stores and grab inexpensive supplies like candles, string lights, paper lanterns, streamers, and balloons. You can take a DIY décor approach if you have the option of decorating with nature (if these grow near you), you can use Holly, pinecones, and conifer branches. These simple items can transform your home into a party-ready space. Remember, it's not about being a Grinch; it's about being mindful while making your space look merry.

Plan Your Purchases Thoughtfully

One effective way to manage Christmas expenses is to plan your purchases thoughtfully throughout the year. Consider these practical tips:

  • Save Up Throughout the Year: Set aside a small amount each month to create a Christmas fund.
  • Purchase Early and on Sale: Take advantage of sales throughout the year to avoid last-minute panic buying and costly Christmas deals.
  • Consider Second-hand or DIY: For certain items like books, knitting, or baked goods, explore second-hand options or make them yourself.
  • Gift Exchanges: Instead of buying for everyone, consider a gift exchange within your family or friend group.
  • Monthly Budgeting: Allocate a specific budget each month for gifts and take advantage of good deals when they arise.

Use Price Trackers for Smart Purchases

Beat the retailers at their own game by using price trackers. Tools like Idealo and Camelcamelcamel can help you decide when to buy gifts by showing you price changes over time. Whether it's comparing prices or waiting for a better deal, these trackers are your faithful allies in the fight against unnecessary spending.

Try Secret Santa with a Small Budget

If the list of Christmas presents seems never-ending, suggest a Secret Santa with friends or family. It involves drawing names and buying a gift for one person, keeping costs low. Set a comfortable budget, and everyone gets a thoughtful gift without overspending.

Loyalty Cards

You can use store loyalty cards to save money in the long run.

Explore Local Options

Check out local Facebook selling groups for budget-friendly gift options. You might find lightly used toys or other items that make perfect presents without breaking the bank.

Remember, the joy of Christmas is about sharing moments, and thoughtful gestures often outweigh extravagant spending. By embracing these budget-friendly tips, you can make this holiday season memorable without the financial stress.

How to Do Christmas on a Budget

Doing Christmas on a budget doesn’t mean that your Christmas will be any less perfect; especially if you follow our festive tips.

  • Christmas dinner ideas:

    If you’d still like to eat a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey, then consider dropping your least favourite trimmings to save some cash, or why not forgo a starter or pudding?

    There are also a number of other tips for making your Christmas dinner on a budget, if you’d still like all three courses but would like to spend a fraction of the money.

    A roast turkey with all the trimmings may be the typical Christmas dinner, but there’s no reason why it needs to be yours. If you’re not that bothered about turkey, then why not consider an alternative Christmas dinner recipe? You may even find a new family favourite for a fraction of the price.

  • Christmas gifts on a budget:

    Get the present you want for less by finding the best possible deal. Black Friday may have been and gone, but from now until Christmas, we’re likely to see a great number of deals both online and on the high street.

    Do your research before you buy any of your presents and shop around for the best possible price. If your chosen present isn’t in the sale, then be prepared to wait. You can also look for discount codes for your favourite retailers online to help reduce prices further.

    You should also remember that it’s the thought that counts and just because one present is more expensive than another does not mean that it’s better. A present based on an off-the-cuff comment, or a silly present that raises a smile could be more valuable in the long run than an expensive gift that lives in a drawer. If you know the person well, then they’re more likely to appreciate the thought than the financial expense.

  • Decorations:

    A well decorated house can be the best way of getting into the Christmas spirit. Of course, you can reuse decorations from previous years to cut costs, but you may need to refresh or upgrade your decorations. So, why not make your own?

    Not only can making your own Christmas decorations help you save money, but it can also be a great way to spend time with your family. If you have small children especially, they’ll love the Christmas joy of creating their own decorations. They could also help you make festive cards to give to friends and family, further helping save you the expense of buying them, all while providing a special personal touch.

Remember that saving money needn’t lessen your enjoyment of Christmas, and you’ll still have a magical day. However, if you can’t stand the thought of spending less, then one of our small loans may be able to help you cover any unexpected Christmas expenses.

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