Budgeting Tips for Christmas (How to Celebrate Without Going Broke!)

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Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most expensive!

With presents to buy, decorations, Christmas outfits, special foods and treats, the average household apparently spends over £700 on Christmas, on top of their usual monthly expenses.

Budget throughout the year

If we know that the average household spends £700 on Christmas, divide that by 12 and it’s £58 per month. Not so bad when you look at it that way. You could set up a separate savings account, or use an account that allows you to set aside savings ‘pots’ within your main account, and set up an automated transfer every month. Setting aside money in this way is what’s known as a ‘sinking fund‘.

Start shopping early

Don’t wait until December to do your Christmas shopping. If you start early, you can split the cost over several months. Some people start as early as the January sales! It helps to have a list of everyone you need to buy for on your phone, so you can refer to it and note down what you’ve bought throughout the year.

As well as presents, you can start your food shop early. If you add one extra Christmas item to your weekly shop every week from summer (obviously long-life products such as wine, crisps and chocolates), you can reduce your shopping list in December considerably.

Make use of points schemes and vouchers

Many supermarkets (and other shops) have very generous rewards schemes. Now’s the time to check up on all those points cards lingering in your wallet and find out how much you have in points. If you don’t use your points regularly, you may be surprised how much they have added up. Several of my friends are able to pay for their ‘big Christmas shop’ with the points they accumulate throughout the year. If you don’t already use any rewards schemes, make sure to sign up now and start saving for next year!


If you left it too late to budget this year and you’re still coming up short, you might want to look into a short-term borrowing option. There are short-term solutions out there even if you suffer from bad credit. Just remember you will have to pay any loan back, so make sure you understand what the monthly repayments will be and whether you can afford them without increasing your financial stress further down the line.

Reduce spending where you can

If there are lots of children in your family, perhaps you could agree with the adults to prioritise the kids and not buy for each other this year. Or, you could set a strict budget (£10 per person? Get creative!), opt for homemade gifts only, or organise a Secret Santa. The key thing is to agree with your family in advance, so nobody feels disappointed.

For younger kids, it’s a cliche but they really do love the boxes and paper more than the gifts! So, for as long as you can get away with it, source cheap gifts at the charity shop, wrap up library books or clothes/essentials that you needed to buy anyway.

Another important aspect of reducing spending is paying close attention to online games and gambling apps. While those can be great fun — and they can even get you some pocket money back if you’re lucky — phone credit casino deposits are easy to make. Click and you’ve made a deposit and incurred costs faster than you can think about it! So during the countdown to Christmas, you may want to stay away from those platforms to avoid high expenses that will make it tough to stick to your Christmas budget. Get back to those in January, once you’ve cleared the Christmas purchases off!

Ask family to split the costs

If you are the one hosting everyone for Christmas dinner every year, you know how expensive it can be – especially if you have to provide good quality meat for a large number of people. This year of all years, people understand that money is tight, so don’t feel bad about asking them to contribute. Perhaps you could split the cost of the turkey, or ask people to contribute different parts of the meal such as dessert and drinks while you handle the main course. Again, the key is to communicate this in advance so that everyone can plan accordingly.

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