Five ways to budget at Christmas

I’m not very good with money. I love to spend what I’ve got (which isn’t lots) on anything and everything! If I have it I will spend it!

christmas budgeting

We all know that the festive season can be a time of excess, and Christmas is a difficult time to budget for. Before you know it, Christmas Day has arrived and you’re all spent up. There are, however, some simple ways to budget for the big day and save a few pounds here and there.

Book travel arrangements early

Whether you’re visiting your parents after finishing a term at university, taking the children to see their grandparents or even heading abroad to see family, one thing is for sure: travelling around the Christmas period will set you back! I know this because I usually drive to my Dad’s at some point over the holidays but in the past I’ve looked into travelling by train last minute and it’s ridiculous how much tickets cost when booking that way. The easiest way to ensure you get the best price on travel is to book early. The earlier the better in terms of savings…. Try to set your plans in concrete before the end of October for the biggest money saving deals on travel.

Start saving in January

The average family is expected to spend around £800 this year at Christmas. That can really tug on the purse strings when you factor in other events during the year which incur expenses, such as children’s birthday parties and school trips. Get a head start on the following Christmas by saving from January. If you set up a standing order to a savings account you can put away a set amount each month this year, instead of having to scrape some money together November and January to cover the month around Christmas! I’ve planned on doing this for as long as I remember, 2016 is the year I try and accomplish this!

Look online and in shops for the best deals

One way to save a quid here or there is to look for a bargain! Christmas is like any other competitive season in that shops both on and offline are serious competition for your business. By doing your research and looking around you’ll be able to find good deals during the Christmas period. Supermarkets like Tesco offer a range of elegant, affordably priced Christmas cards as well as everything else you can imagine. While online you can take advantage of events like Cyber Monday to bag yourself fantastic deals on tech items.

Have a DIY Christmas

Christmas is about spending time with family and enjoying the rare occasions to relax away from work and the other stresses of life. Make this year extra special (and save a quid or two) by making personalised gifts for your loved ones. It’s also important to remember younger children very rarely care what they actually get past opening the box, so don’t go blowing your budget on expensive items they won’t get much use out of.

christmas budgeting

Hunt through the attic

Sell unwanted items and old gifts as a way to generate some cash this year. Into the bargain, you’ll unclutter your house and make sure things you don’t want or need get some use. You can set up a stall at your local car boot or use online auction sites to sell your stuff. This is something I’ve done a bit of myself, I literally have so much stuff to get rid of and it’s much more satisfying to get something in return that you can then spend again… rather than just giving it away. Yes it takes a bit more effort but definitely worth it!

I hope these tips will help you to save some money for the Christmas period, allowing you to enjoy your day without the stress of budgeting. And remember to start early in the year to have the biggest effect next holiday season!

Images by tsmall and kevin dooley, used under Creative Commons license
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