The money that people spend on Christmas these days could be considered over the top. Despite the recession, thousands of families continue to spend over the odds to make Christmas “special”, when there are far cheaper ways of doing just that. Last year, it was suggested that the average UK family spends £600 on Christmas, with financial planning not even getting a look in. While this average has decreased since before the recession (in 2008, the average was £655), it’s still an enormous amount of cash – particularly for families who don’t have the disposable income to afford it without using their credit card.
We have to remember that gifts are just one aspect of Christmas and we have to spare some thought for the other associated costs. Once the Christmas lists are all done, remember that you still need to find the cash for food and drink for Christmas dinner, wrapping paper, Christmas cards and the associated postage and decorations for the home. If you’re travelling to visit relatives, there’s the cost of transport to consider; not mentioning the annual panto that you buy tickets for. If you’re not careful, the cost of Christmas can skyrocket but with these handy tips, you can make sure to enjoy Christmas affordably, without scrimping on the magic.
Set a Budget
Not just for gifts, but for everything that you’re going to need to shell out for. Work out how much you want to spend on gifts for people and include décor, and food and drink costs. Stick to the budget as closely as possible because this is a true indicator of what you can actually afford, before getting lost in the fun and excitement and not caring about what you spend.
Limit the Gift Giving if you can
Have a chat with your family and friends and make a promise that you won’t buy for each other. It’s not needed, especially when there are children to think of. It’s often a good idea to just buy for the little ones – time together is much more valuable for the grownups. Alternatively, organise a Secret Santa between family members or friends and limit the budget for each gift.
Take Advantage of Sales and Offers
Toy shops often have some fabulous flash sales and 3for2 deals in the run up to Christmas – make use of them! While you could pick up your tot’s Cookie Shape Surprise from the high street, you could also combine the purchase with gifts for your niece and nephew too – if it’s 3for2, the value for money is greater!
Cut Back on Unnecessary Buys
Do you really need to buy fancy ribbons and parcel string for the presents? Do they need labels or can you make your own? Will your Christmas tree benefit from new decorations when there’s nothing wrong with the ones you used last year? Cut back where you can to save a fortune.
Being sensible doesn’t mean that the magic of Christmas has to be compromised – a little forethought can help you to not only enjoy the season but also smile at the state of your bank balance, too.
Written in collaboration with Asda Money