How to successfully budget for Christmas

By Jo Phillips

For many, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Indulging in tasty treats and enjoying a tipple or two in the company of our nearest and dearest fills us with that warm, fuzzy festive feeling. But all the fun can come with a hefty price tag.

The Christmas season is extremely expensive and without adequate budgeting and careful financial planning, it can leave you in the red. Here, we look at some top tips for budgeting so you can enjoy the frivolities without rinsing your bank account.

Stick to a strict budget

The key to staying on track financially is setting a strict budget and sticking to it. Christmas is certainly the hardest time of year to cut costs, so working out a budget in advance will make it easier to stick to. Start by working out how much you can realistically spend after all your outgoings, such as your bills, rent/mortgage etc. Then allocate this disposable income to gifts, nights out, festive food and so on. Using an online budget planner is a quick way of calculating what you can spend.

Cut out unnecessary expenses

One of the best ways to avoid over-spending this festive season is to cut costs elsewhere. Doing this will give you some extra cash to spend on presents and frivolities that you wouldn’t otherwise have. This could be anything from making a packed lunch instead of buying it or cutting down on take out coffee. For example, if you buy a posh coffee every day for £3, cutting this out of your daily expenses throughout December will save you £93 – more than enough for a present or two!

Avoid frivolous spending

It’s fair to say that the temptation is real during the festive season. It’s easy to get caught up in the frivolities and spend money on things we don’t really need, like that cute candle holder at the Christmas market. If this sounds familiar, then do as much shopping online as possible to stop yourself spontaneously buying things in the shops. That way, you’ll only add items you need to your online basket, and not get sucked into buying a gift box for double the price by the super friendly shop assistant.

Take advantage of offers and promotions

You may be able to save heaps of cash by buying things on offer ahead of time. For instance, if there are any bottles of beer, wine or spirits on offer in the supermarket ahead of Christmas, stock up now to keep your costs down. You may find great deals such as 2 for 1 on cupboard food like crackers (for the all-important cheeseboard), biscuits, chocolates and more. It’s also worth keeping an eye on any offers that are available on the high street. Stores are updating their offers from previous years, so you may be able to bag yourself a bargain on some great Christmas gifts.

Don’t forget, Christmas is all about spending quality time with loved ones, not buying the most lavish or expensive gifts. Your friends and family would hate to think your generous gift has put you under financial strain, so instead stick to buying presents both them and your bank account will enjoy!

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