festive season budget

How To Stay On Budget This Festive Season

Published: 15/12/2020
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As much as many of us look forward to this enchanting time of year, we all know Christmas can be a particularly expensive holiday - with all the thoughtful (and costly) gifts, heaps of delicious festive food, and unmissable Christmas decorations, it’s no wonder that it can also feel a tad stressful when it comes to sticking to a budget.

However, Christmas on a budget needn’t feel any less special than those years when you can afford to spend a little extra on a bigger Christmas tree or a more succulent turkey. Indeed, with our list of tips, tricks, and hints, sticking to a budget during the festive period won’t feel like a chore.

From creating your own thoughtful homemade gifts to snapping up the best budget Christmas tree, and whipping up a wallet-friendly delectable dinner, all of your Christmas essentials are covered in this handy blog. So, why not save those pennies for a rainy day and slimline your generous festive spending habits today?

Create (and stick to!) a shopping list


Relevant for both Christmas gift and food shopping, making a list is a must-have tool to ensure you keep to your budget. After all, eye-catching Christmas sales and those extra finishing touches can be almost irresistible when you’re shopping around your local supermarket or beloved boutique store.

For those tasty Christmas time treats, creating a list will allow you to budget exactly how much you plan to spend on each item before you even get into the shops! Not to mention, opting for unbranded or supermarket’s own creations can also help to save those pennies instead of choosing the big brand names.

Another top tip is to consider taking the kids with you while you shop! Although this may seem like a recipe for disaster, giving them a list of food items to spot from the seat of a trolley can help keep them calm and focused as you hunt for the best deals!

Trying out various supermarkets to find the best prices might take a little longer, but it all adds up! To ensure you don’t stray from this comprehensive list, make sure you take everyone’s dietary requirements into consideration before you nip out and don’t let any delectable dishes or tipples sway you from your path.

Make Christmas dinner last for longer

christmas dinner last longer

When it comes to cooking up an impressive storm on Christmas day, the food shopping budget can (occasionally!) go out of the window in an attempt to delight your guests! From an array of delicious canapes, to a cheeky glass of budget-busting champagne, and even a huge turkey - sometimes the budget just doesn’t stretch far enough.

So, if you find that you’ve slightly exceeded your food budget for the Christmas day, it’s even more important to make the most of those costly leftovers. Whether you’re a dedicated meat-eater or a vegetarian convert, many festive dishes can be repurposed into relaxing and easy Boxing Day dishes such as a leftover pie, or even a tempting turkey toastie using a sandwich toaster.

After that big Christmas dinner, make sure that you store any leftovers appropriately. Everything from gravy, veggies, and meat should be popped into the refrigerator within two hours of cooking in order to prevent bacteria from growing and spoiling those essential leftover delights. Freezing some of these treats can also make them stretch for months to come!

Turn your hand to homemade hampers

homemade hampers

Another way to (literally!) treat your loved ones this Christmas on a budget is to get the whole family involved in whipping up some homemade pressies. A few homemade Christmas gift ideas include baking some festive cookies, buying a wicker basket and filling it with your recipient’s favourite things to create a homemade hamper, or even spending some time creating a special scrapbook.

Alternatively, a great way to save money on physical gifts is to show someone how much you care by simply spending your time with them. Whether that means cooking up a warming, homemade meal, volunteering together at a charity, or bagging some tickets to a festive show, some of the best gifts just can’t be bought.

However, if you have lots of little ones who’ve written down their most-desired toys on their list for Father Christmas, purchasing just a few of these items is sure to impress them, while also limiting overspending on toys and Christmas stocking fillers that they’ll never touch. After all, they can only play with so many toys at once!

Put down the credit card

credit card purchase

Credit cards are undoubtedly a brilliant way to splash the cash when payday is just a little too far away, but they’re also incredibly easy to use - perhaps too easy! Especially nowadays when internet and contactless card transactions are so popular, it’s arguably much too easy to whip out your credit card to cover all of those extra special Christmas touches.

As a result, these credit card transactions can quickly add up and leave you with a staggering figure to pay off after the festive season has come to an end creating a miserable and tight January. To prevent this, we suggest setting yourself a strict budget using a budget tracker app, making a note of your credit card purchases in a budget planner, or using traditional cash that can be far simpler to keep track of.

Alternatively, you can also check out the shelves of your favourite festive stores online and pick up a prepaid gift card to use instead. This is a brilliant way to avoid handling lots of cash but also allows you to keep a beady eye on those towering Christmas expenses.

Picking a purse-friendly Christmas tree

christmas tree

A must-have feature in many homes and businesses that celebrate this magical time of year, a Christmas tree is the perfect place to pop your gifts and gather around when the big day finally arrives. To source the best budget Christmas tree, opting for an artificial Christmas tree is a no-brainer!

While real Christmas trees will set you back anywhere between a moderate £10 to a pricier £100 depending on the size and species, an artificial Christmas tree can be used year after year and costs less than the real alternative. Some snazzy models are even available with built-in LED lights that negate the need to purchase additional Christmas tree lights and decorations.

Not to mention, real Christmas trees also require more time-consuming upkeep to vacuum up any fallen needles and ensure they remain well-watered. With an artificial Christmas tree you won’t need to worry about these maintenance issues or pick up a costly Christmas tree stand either - helping you save those extra pounds!

A few extra money-saving tips

money saving tips

To further stretch your budget this festive period, it’s a great idea to suggest a spending limit with both your friends and family members. Not only will this save any embarrassment if a loved one buys you a particularly expensive gift, but it also ensures you don’t emotionally overspend.

Instead of shelling out your hard-earned cash on stamps and physical Christmas cards, personalised e-cards make a fantastic and thoughtful alternative. Finally, bulk buying and spreading the cost with friends or family for your big Christmas shop can instantly take the pressure off your food budget.

Whether you follow just one of our handy tips or you stick to each and every one, every penny saved adds up to create a significant amount that can be used to treat yourself throughout January. So, why not claw back some hard-earned savings this Christmas and discover just how merry Christmas on a budget can be?

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