After a year of rising costs – from food and fuel prices to energy bills -Christmas might feel like both a welcome relief and a cause for concern. According to recent reports, one in five parents are expected to go into debt this year due to overspending on festive gifts. Is it possible to enjoy everything you love about Christmas without breaking the bank?
If you’re feeling the squeeze this year and aren’t sure how to plan for the holidays, keep reading. We’ve got some great tips to help you keep your finances on track – whilst indulging in a truly memorable festive period.
Christmas Saving, Tip 1: Make a Spending Plan – and Stick to It
At Christmas, it’s tempting to make what Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert, calls a ‘lust list’. This is when you picture your ideal Christmas – with all the bells and whistles that go with it – and then set about achieving it, whatever it takes. Sounds lovely, right? However, the problem with this kind of fantasy is that it sets the bar very high, and can easily lead to you overspending: when you have such high expectations, you don’t want to be disappointed. Remember, too, that many things are more expensive this year than they were even in 2021, so this needs to be taken into account.
Instead of fantasising, why not go through your budget and work out exactly what your financial limits are – and then make your plans from there? Work out what the ‘best’ Christmas you can afford looks like, and then commit to only spending that amount. Making a spending plan will not only lessen any sense of financial anxiety, but also will help you stick to your budget, whilst allowing you to enjoy the fun of planning a Christmas you can afford.
Christmas Saving, Tip 2: Do Your Food Shopping Online
Ah, Christmas feasting: who doesn’t enjoy an abundance of mince pies and brandy butter at this time of year?! That said, it’s all too easy to buy too much food over the festive season (leading to both food waste and financial strain).
Shopping online can help you plan ahead and minimise waste. You may need to bag your delivery slot early – Christmas delivery slots often sell out quickly – but once you’ve done that, you’re in a great position. You can edit your shopping list until the day before it’s due, giving you ample time to tweak your menu based on numbers and budgetary constraints. Don’t forget to think about a delivery costs, too: there are often great deals available on delivery passes, for which you pay an upfront fee in exchange for discounted (or free) delivery, and which could save you money in the long run.
Christmas Saving, Tip 3: Sign Up for Secret Santa
The act of exchanging gifts has become an integral part of the holiday season, but it can be an expensive one. If you’ve got a lot of people on your ‘gift’ list, why not consider setting up a Secret Santa? This fun activity requires each person in the ‘scheme’ to pick a name at random, and buy for that person – cutting down the number of presents that are bought, whilst still creating a sense of excitement and allowing people to demonstrate their regard for their allocated recipient. You can even set a budget; you’ll be surprised how thoughtful and creative people can be when given a spending limit!
Christmas Saving, Tip 4: Buy Pre-Loved Items
Thanks to the rise of second-hand ‘marketplaces’ like Vinted and Facebook Marketplace, gifting pre-loved treasures is a practice that is now both acceptable and lauded – and it’s a great way to save cash. When buying for your loved ones, hit the charity shops, car boot sales and online marketplaces and see what unique bargains you can hunt down. You can even buy second-hand toys for children: just be sure to disinfect anything plastic, and make sure there aren’t any missing/loose parts (which could be dangerous) before you start wrapping.
Christmas Saving, Tip 5: Plan Your Postage
If your loved ones live further afield, resist the temptation to simply head to the nearest Post Office. There are a number of ways to save money on your parcels: sourcing and paying for postage online, for example, or by using different couriers. Be sure to check comparison websites (like Parcel2Go) to find the cheapest deal.
Christmas Saving, Tip 6: Sort Festive Travel ASAP
Not everyone can stay put at Christmas: for many of us, the holidays mean travel… a lot of travel! Whether your nearest and dearest live in the same city, in other parts of the country, or abroad, you may well find yourself wondering how to get from A to B. If you’re relying on trains or planes, it often pays to book your tickets sooner rather than later – and not just for the festive period. Be sure to get your return journey sorted, too, if you know when you’ll be coming home; leaving it until closer to the time is likely to cost more.
And, if you are hoping to head overseas for the holidays, don’t forget to invest in Travel Insurance. Nothing spoils a Christmas trip like the stress of worrying about a lost bag or unforeseen medical issue, so spending a little now could make a huge difference. Cherry Godfrey offer a range of fantastic products – covering single trips, Covid-related setbacks, and more – to help you find the right policy for you. Apply now or contact us to learn more; we’re here to ensure your Christmas vacation is both merry and bright!