Christmas – it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But, with Christmas presents to buy, a slap-up dinner to prepare and celebrations to be had, it can also be the costliest time of the year. According to the Bank of England, the typical household in the UK spends over £500 more in the month of December than their usual spend, which can end up having knock on effects in January.
Avoiding overspending in the run up to Christmas can be challenging, but it is doable. To prevent you from getting yourself into debt this festive season, we’ve put together a list of money-saving tips to keep you on track in the lead up to the big day.
1) Create a shopping budget
It can be easy to get carried away once the Christmas shopping frenzy commences. Buying for other people can be really enjoyable and it’s hard to resist that “perfect gift” once you’ve clapped eyes on it, regardless of the price tag. It’s sensible to set yourself a budget, however, as things can quickly get out of hand if you don’t keep track of your finances. So, before you even think about making a start on your gift buying, decide on a total spend allowance and then do your absolute best to stick to it.
Plus, with the influx of social invitations at this time of year, it could also be wise to do something similar to limit the amount you spend eating or drinking out.
2) Take advantage of sales
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday getting bigger by the year, there are plenty of bargains to be bagged if you get your timing right. Some retailers are even starting their sales ahead of the popular shopping days, so keep your eyes peeled ahead of time to get the best deals on your gifts.
The shops are likely to be pretty crazy on Black Friday, but that shouldn’t be a problem as most retailers will be offering plenty of discounts online, so you can get your shopping done from the comfort of your own home.
3) Do price comparisons
Not only is online shopping arguably a more relaxing experience than tackling the crowds in the shops, but it also gives you the opportunity to do some price comparisons. Before committing to any purchase, check out some of the other competitors so see if they’re offering the same item at a lower price. This is particularly worthwhile if you’re buying tech, as Black Friday is a hot time for tech deals.
4) Earn some extra cash
Instead of restricting your spending, how about earning a bit of extra cash to supplement your shopping budget? Recent research by business insurer Hiscox has revealed 1 in 4 Brits have taken on a side hustle to complement their day job and it could be the answer to relieving a bit of financial burden over Christmas.
If you’ve got a hobby you may even be able to kill two birds with one stone by monetising it. For example, if you’re an artist you could design and sell Christmas cards or paintings. Alternatively, if you’re a writer, for example, you could be able to take on some additional freelance work to boost your income over the festive period.
5) Create homemade gifts
If you’ve got a creative streak, you could put this creativity to good use by crafting some homemade gifts for your loved ones. Not only will it save you money, but it also offers a personal touch. If you’re an artist, an original piece of artwork is sure to be well-received, or if you’re a star baker, a delicious freshly baked cake, pie or batch of cookies is bound to go down a treat.
6) Be sensible with credit cards
Opening a credit card to cover excess Christmas expenses can be tempting, but they’re to be approached with caution. While they may help distribute the financial burden of the festive season, if you are not able to pay off the balance in the next month, you’ll find yourself paying interest.
Some credit cards offer cash back or give you the opportunity to earn rewards, so they may be worth investigating to save some money. Just be sure to keep track of your spending.
The trick to managing your Christmas spending is planning and budgeting. By making a list and taking advantage of sales and online discounts, you could trim a significant chunk off your bill. What’s more, by getting business savvy and taking on a side hustle to earn some extra cash, your Christmas fund could be looking healthier in no time! Simply be sensible and mindful with your finances and you’re sure to have a stress-free Christmas.