How to avoid a Financial Hangover after Christmas

money saving tips for christmasThe leaves haven’t fallen yet, but the bells are already jingling. For kids, Christmas is about fun, Santa and presents. For adults, we usually want to shout No! No! No! instead of Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas costs money and too many of us wake up on January 1st with two things; a banging head and a hole in our finances.

One of the best ways to combat a hangover is to think ahead – you know you will need: water, coffee, aspirin, a dark room and multiple bacon sandwiches.

The same goes for a financial hangover – if you think ahead and plan what you are going to spend down to the last bauble, you can still have a holly jolly and debt free Christmas without paying for it for the rest of the year.

Remember, doing it all last minute equals panic buying, which we all know also means spending more cash than you should.

According to a survey by the Halifax, Brits spend an average of £500 on Christmas, which includes gifts, food, alcohol and socialising.

This may be a conservative estimate for those of us with large families and/or kids. The survey also found that one in three consumers still had payments outstanding in February and were still suffering the financial aftershocks of Christmas in April.

Some of these aftershocks may include paying off extra credit card debt and a mountain of bills in April with no fall back because you used your emergency fund to pay for Christmas.

So let’s looks at some ways you can have a Merry-But-Sensible-Christmas. It shouldn’t be all about money, Christmas can be enjoyed without suffering from a financial hangover.

8 Money Saving Tips for Christmas to Avoid Financial Meltdown

1. Change Your Mindset

We all love Christmas – the food, the socialising, seeing the kids opening their presents. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. However, some of us can go a bit Christmas crazy.

Try seeing Christmas for what it really is – a few days a year where you spend time with loved ones. It’s not about the presents or having the best dinner. It’s about spending time together. That is priceless.

Christmas isn’t about presents; it’s about spending time together. That is pricelessClick To Tweet

2. Pick A Number

Look at your finances. How much can you really afford to spend on Christmas without denting your budget until April?

Before you start shopping, decide on how much you can spend (not how much you want to spend) and stick to it.

3. Make A List (And Check It Twice)

Once you’ve worked out how much you can afford to spend – make THE LIST. Include on this list all the gifts, food, booze, social events and decorations you will need to buy.

Put the cost of everything next to each item. If you have kids, allot them each a portion of the budget for their presents.

This list is more precious than Santa’s sack and is the key to remaining clear-headed come the New Year.

It should go with you every time you go near a shop (make copies for each coat pocket and handbag).

Be strong and stick to it – remember shops use devious tricks to make you spend more – your list will be your Festive armour against buying more than you need.

4. Be Jolly In Your Trolley

We’ve all seen those Marks and Spencer ads with the beautifully-shot, mouth-watering Christmas dishes.

But let’s think about what a Christmas dinner really is: it’s a roast dinner with a fruity pudding afterwards. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

Budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl do wonderful festive food and wine for half the price of the bigger, posher shops.

Also, if you have any skill in the kitchen: cook from scratch. It might take more time but it will be cheaper than buying expensive ready-made dishes. Another great way to save is to get every guest to bring a dish or a course.

5. Shop Online

money saving tips for christmasWhen you go shopping, retailers will be gunning for your money with offers and discounts, making you buy things that are not on your all-important list.

Buying online means you can ignore all the twinkly things in the shops and only buy things on your list. Be careful of delivery costs though, they will need to be worked into your budget.

6. Give With Love, Not Cash

Talk to friends and family about presents. It might seem Scroogey, but why not opt out of buying presents for each other all together?

You’ll be surprised how many people will breathe a sigh of relief at this idea. Or why not suggest to family that you all only buy for the kids?

Let’s face it, all the adults really need is a bit of Festive spirit to make them happy.

7. Trust Your Kids To Be On The Nice List

If you have kids, you will probably be apprehensive about how much you can afford to spend on them.

Remember, young kids are lovely, simple beings. They won’t know what Santa has spent on their gifts. They will be happy with stuff from discount stores or cheaper toy ranges. As long as they have something to open, they’ll love every minute.

Ok, teenagers are more savvy – they know exactly what they want and it’s usually branded and expensive.

However, if you are in financial straits – talk to your older children and explain. You’ll be heartened at how much they are willing to overlook in order to help you out.

8. Make Christmas Magical, For Free

Christmas doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are plenty of things you can do to make it magical for free. Such as:

  • A Christmas Eve walk into your local town or village to look at the lights and tree.
  • A free letter from Santa for the kids – find out more at Royal Mail
  • Go carolling – either with a group door to door or at a local church or group.
  • Get cosy with a hot chocolate and a film. There’ll be plenty on over Christmas. Set your planner to record.
  • Play games with the family – How about Pin the Nose on Reindeer? Easy to make, all you need is a piece of cardboard, a red paper nose, blue tack and a scarf for a blindfold. Even better after a few glasses of bubbly….but beware of the hangover!

Over to You

Do you have any magical tips for a budget Christmas? Where have you managed to cut costs in the festive season? Share with us below. We’d love to hear from you!

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8 Comments

  1. Handy tips. We usually buy our presents during the sales before Christmas, we always end up saving a lot that way 🙂

  2. Lots of great advice here. Christmas is such a busy and expensive time.

  3. I love nice things, but I’ll never put myself in debt for them, so I am all about being savvy when I spend. I tend to put away a little amount every month and make lists and keep an eye on things for when the sales come in. If I see something I’ve wanted on sale, then I pounce! Haha. Christmas is hard though and that is a time that I tend to get more spend than I plan for. This year I have to stick within budget, so I’ll be looking for ways to get as much out of the money we have. Thanks for the tips x

    Kat

  4. Fab tips. I start shopping for Christmas gifts early so I can spread the costs and I buy what I can afford.

  5. Fab advice. I have started Christmas shopping earlier this year and it feels better to be more organised.
    I agree with shopping at Aldi for wines, they do some lovely ones for a fraction of the cost 🙂

  6. These are great tips. I think seeing Christmas for what it is really helps. I used to buy all the Christmas type food for about a month, but now we just get the special things in for Christmas itself and we save a lot of money

  7. I always like to read others saving tips as I am big on saving money where possible! Christmas is always the time where I spend the most but I’ll also save a great deal as well due to starting shopping early in the year with big toy sales and buying in the January sales for the next year.

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