It can be really easy to overspend at Christmas, but starting the new year with credit card bills is hardly the happy new year that we all wish for. Here are 17 tips for keeping your festive spending in check – you don’t need to over spend to have fun!
1. Set a budget
Plan what you’ll spend on everyone’s gifts – and stick to it! It’s lovely to want to spoil your nearest and dearest but there has to be a limit, and there is no point in setting a budget if you aren’t going to follow it.
2. Save year round
Put a little bit of money away each month to avoid straining your finances. Work out how much you spend on average at Christmas time, and divide it by 12, then set up an untouchable savings account to put some money aside every month – that way the money is there when you need it.
3. Buy preloved gifts
Don’t be afraid to shop second-hand. I buy second hand toys for my children all of the time and they are none-the-wiser, nor any worse off for it. Just as your own children have untouched toys, so do everyone else’s – there are always bargains to be had. Read my preloved toys post for more info.
4. Avoid unnecessary gifting
It’s a lovely idea to buy for all of your friends’ children and distant relatives, but realistically shopping for too many people is both stressful and expensive. Keep the gifts to close friends and family, and don’t be afraid to have a discussion with others – they’ll probably be relieved to lessen their spending too. I did this with my friends a few years back and instead of gifts we spend time together, which is always far more fun.
5. Secret Santa
If you have a big family or wide circle of friends, why not do Secret Santa? Everyone gets one great gift, instead of lots of little ones – reduce your shopping stress and keep your bank balance in check.
6. Be creative
Think about making some of the gifts yourself – if you have a skill such as baking, knitting or crafting, why not use it? Everyone loves personalised gifts and it shows you’ve made a real effort. My lemon shortbread and chocolate fridge cake recipes are so simple and they make the perfect delicious presents!
7. DIY your hampers
Most pre-prepared hampers are seriously over inflated price wise and very impersonal. Making your own allows you to save money – and you can theme it and fill it with the items that your loved ones really want. Read my post on DIY hampers to get started.
8. Join forces
Pull your money together for a group gift. We do this every year with my sister to buy for our parents and nan. Having the extra budget means you can get something really great, without footing the whole bill alone.
9. Food shop sensibly
Shop carefully to avoid waste – if you’re catering for 20 people, don’t cook for 50! Plan your meals, prepare food in advance and boycott brands. I’ve compiled a really handy guide to keep your festive food shop spending down, give it a read and slash your food bill drastically this holiday season.
10. Get some money back
Be smart and join a cashback website to get money back on all of your purchases – it all adds up and it’s essentially free money! If you’re not sure what it’s all about, take a look at my post to find out everything you need to know. We’ve had over £2000 since we joined Quidco and it only takes seconds to sign up!
11. Shop around
Don’t be tempted to buy branded items in the first shop you see them – the exact item might be cheaper online or in an alternative shop. With the internet at our finger tips, whip your phone out and have a quick look online before you buy.
12. Do your research
Always check for voucher codes and promotions before you get to the checkout to avoid missing out on great offers. There are some fantastic websites that hunt out all of the offers for you, so you can cut your costs in seconds.
13. Socialise at home
Catching up with friends and family makes Christmas a very busy time of year – and meals out, festive trips and dancing the night away can really do a number on your bank balance. Instead, make a few nibbles, open some bubbly and invite your friends and family to join you at home.
14. Buy all year round
Along with setting a budget, and saving each month, buying all year round is one of the best things you can do to reduce your spending and avoid frantic December shopping! Buy as and when you see things in the sale or on offer – having a few bits and bobs ready to go gives you a great head start when the festive season arrives.
15. Decorate on a budget
Make sure you read my post on decorating for Christmas on a budget – transforming your home into a beautiful, winter wonderland doesn’t need to cost the earth. Repurposing old decorations, crafting and foraging are great ways to keep costs down, and it can be great fun too!
16. Save your reward points
Lots of supermarkets, like Sainsburys and Tesco, allow you to collect points every time you shop. These points can be a great way to make the most expensive food shop of the year a little easier on the wallet – just save them year round and enjoy a big saving on your Christmas food bill when December arrives. You’ll be able to enjoy some festive luxuries without spending a penny!
17. Have frugal festive family fun
We all love some festive fun to get us in a Christmassy mood, but it doesn’t need to cost the earth. Meals out with friends and colleagues, pantomime tickets, parties and Santa visits all add up, but the good news is that there are so many cheap and cheerful activities that you can do at home with the kids that won’t cost a fortune. Check out my Christmas Activity Advent Calendar for lots of ideas…
Most importantly, don’t get caught up worrying about presents – your children don’t need expensive gifts, they need time and love. Christmas is about coming together and spending time with your family and friends. Don’t lose sight of what really matters; relax and enjoy the festive season because Christmas comes but once each year! 😉