Christmas may be the most joyous time of year, but it is certainly the priciest, too. Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, the festive period is bound to stretch your wallet. The big spending doesn’t only come from buying gifts for loved ones; our expenditure also has to cover keeping warm, eating well, travelling to see family members, and arranging excursions to fill the time spent off work and school.
Follow our eight-steps towards responsible spending over the Christmas period to avoid the all-too-familiar January panic.
Set a spending cap on gifts
It can be easy to go over-the-top on spending when shopping for a loved one. Setting a spending cap on each person can both help you to save funds as well as avoid gift bias. So commonly do shoppers overspend on one person and then have to spend more on someone else to cater for the price discrepancy. If you give all gift recipients a set price bracket, you will avoid the guild-spend whilst also avoiding the horrific Christmas Eve rush to top-up someone’s stocking that is lacking compared to another’s.
This point can never be overstated: a more expensive present is not a better present. It is far more flattering to receive a personal gift that has been thought about than to receive something that’s value is merely monetary. Personal gifts are a far greater expression of love and appreciation than flashy items; work a little harder on gift-planning and your bank account will be in far better shape post-Christmas Day.
Take advantage of online deals
Online shopping is a sure-fire way to save on items by virtue of the deals that they offer. Clothes retailers with no storefront such as ASOS offer excellent savings all year round due to their purely-online presence. Further, what we now dub as the ‘January sales’ tend to kick-off before Christmas in the online world. Make sure to be vigilant when it comes to online shopping; scout out those sale items before they hit the stores physically and gift them to friends and family for Christmas to keep them from spending their own money on them in January.
Shop around for groceries
Although it may be easier to do all of your Christmas food-shopping in a single supermarket, different shops offer different deals on certain items. Shopping around for deals and then purchasing items separately can save you a lot on that lavish Christmas lunch. Visit mySupermarket to compare up-to-date supermarket prices at home, to save you from travelling from shop to shop to compare items physically. This way, you can buy online or make a pre-emptive list before you visit each supermarket, saving both time and money.
Buy preloved or nearly-new gifts
It is safe to say that not all gifts (such as some garments and utensils) can be suitably bought second-hand. That said, there are plenty of things that are absolutely fine to re-use and would make brilliant gifts at a lower cost. Gumtree is a brilliant online marketplace for things like home furnishings, and by using their service you are much more likely to find a more unique gift than a more expensive piece you picked up on the high street. Ask for the seller to supply decent photos or even a physical viewing of the item before buying it to ensure that it is in good condition.
DIY Christmas decorations
If you are keen to fully immerse yourself and your home in the festive season, but do not have the funds to splash out on anything but the necessities, then making your own Christmas decorations is the way to go. Not only will you save money on adding some sparkle to your home, you will also have an excuse to spend some quality crafting time with friends and family.
Buy shiny paper, glitter and glitter glue, and try making sparkly paper chains to hang from the ceiling. Re-use the glitter glue to squeeze pretty designs on plain baubles to jazz-up the tree. Making paper snowflakes is the ultimate Christmas activity – just be careful with the scissors!
Christmas in the UK is notorious for being the booziest time of year. If you are hosting a Christmas-do, or simply need to stock up on the seasonal tipples, be sure to order in bulk to get the best savings. Most supermarkets offer discounts on wine when you order 6 or more bottles, and serious price slashes on spirits are implemented in the run-up to Christmas. Make sure to drink responsibly, of course.
Open a savings account for next year
Pre-emptively create a savings account for Christmas funds which you can contribute to incrementally throughout the year. By putting aside just £20 a month, you can create an emergency fund for the winter months when your spending is inevitably going to escalate. Savings accounts are super easy to open either online or with your local branch.
It is all too easy to let your spending go out of control over the festive period, but if you follow these simple saving methods, you might just have the guilt-free Christmas you always wanted.
Saving money does not always involve making sacrifices; it just takes better preparation and keeping vigilant with regards to your finances. If you are thinking about taking out a guarantor loan this Christmas, visit our main page to see what our guarantor lenders have to offer.