If you are reading this then I expect you find Christmas a pretty expensive time of year!
- You feel stressed around Christmas because that money keeps coming out of your bank
- You don’t feel in control of your finances
- You don’t know what to do to make it right
- You worry about what people think of your situation
- You bury your head in the sand
Christmas is full of presents, parties, kids and unexpected extras that seem to crop up every year!
But that is actually a good thing! Because they crop up every year, so we should be able to plan for them!
Ever heard of the expression fail to plan, plan to fail?
Christmas is one of those times we need to plan for!
You are not alone in how you feel, millions of people in the U.K. think Christmas is the most stressful time of the year, and I want to change that!
Why should you listen to me?
I am a money specialist who went from £40k worth of debt to debt-free in just 5 years! I started a business to help parents save money and I save on average over £1,000 a year.
I was that person who got paid on the 21st of December and by January the 10th, I was living on super noodles!
I made some changes in my life, I started to plan, I tackled my debts and now Christmas is paid for and usually done and dusted by around November so when December comes I can celebrate and not worry about the money! #bringontheeggnog
- Budget! It’s super important, to make a list of who you need to buy for and allocate how much money you want to spend on that person. Then think about what you want to get them. We have loads of free-to-download templates in the Mad About Money App that you can print or download.
- As Monica says in Friends “Make the presents.” Could you make something special instead of buying, that would actually mean more to someone? Are you artistic? Could you paint something? Could you make a cake? Grow a plant?
- Re-gift – it’s cheeky but is there something you have been given in the past that is still wrapped up? A nice present that maybe wasn’t suitable for you? Just make sure you don’t give it back to the person who gave it to you! It’s also great for the circular economy, it reduces waste, clears space, and the list goes on.
- Save money on postage by ordering in one go, and don’t forget Amazon Prime! Shopping on Black Friday can sometimes mean no postage fees.
- Only buy for immediate family, say no to work Secret Santa’s, and no one ever gets good gifts, unless you count that penis mug you got in 2015!
- Instead of gifts make £5 charity donations.
- Do a mass family Secret Santa, £50 limit one gift, everyone picks a name and you just buy one gift! Saves a fortune!
- Use newspaper to wrap gifts, and decorate with pretty ribbons or plain brown paper decorated by the kids.
- Plan ahead! Buy your gifts in the January sales, you can get some cracking bargains if you know what you are after.
- Shop around to get the best price, and don’t forget supermarkets for places like toys, they do regular sales throughout the year.
- Use a money-saving app like Mad, buy your vouchers at a discounted price, and save £££ and it will help you to ring-fence things like food budget and toy budget.
- Buy throughout the year, if you see something you know one of your family will like at a good price buy it! It gets to Christmas and you are all stocked up! No stress, no panic and you have spread the cost.
- Put away a set amount each month into a Christmas savings pot. Don’t use one of these schemes like park 😬 use your own bank account! Set up a direct debit of something you can afford, it goes out monthly all year from January! If you put £50 a month in the pot you will have £600 for Christmas shopping! Even £20 a month is £240, and anything you save put back into next year’s pot!
- I hear Father Christmas bulk buys stocking fillers too! Buy things in packs and save for the next year, kids won’t remember what they got the year before! They barely remember what they had for breakfast! Father Christmas also pads out stockings with larger cheaper items like colouring books and crayons so there is less space to fill! Erm also smaller stockings! 😂
- Check your purse!! Do you have any old gift cards floating around? Can you use those to buy gifts?
- Make lists!! Especially for the big Christmas shop! And stick to it! It’s the little extras that build-up, and don’t shop with an empty stomach! Or with a hangover! It’s weird how much you can crave booze! 😂
- Buy early! Postage costs can go up closer to Christmas.
- Keep a list of what you are spending, it will help you to budget so next Christmas is not a surprise!
- People always get paid early at Christmas, and then struggle through January, make sure you account for this throughout the year with your budgeting.
- Have you got old CDs or DVDs lying around? Maybe a trip to CEX or Music Magpie! Old clothes? Try the Vinted app and clear some space at the same time. Your tat is another man’s treasure!
- Get a side hustle! What could be a more perfect way to earn? Have a look out for affiliate schemes you can join, there are lots of ideas in the Mad About Money App.
- Check out the charity shops! It’s fun, you can find some real bargains, and you are helping people who need it, the gift that gives twice!
- Only buy what you can afford! Put that credit card away! It will cost you more in the long run!
- Factor in your socialising, remember December gets expensive without taking presents into account, work parties, dinners, and festive drinks! Get those outfits from the charity shop! Up Cycle, get Pinterest ideas, and check out TikTok accounts for inspiration.
- Ever tried Christmas shopping in September? Less Christmas stuff means less spending! Less impulse buying! You can freeze things, but nonperishables and the longer you leave stuff the more inflated the price.
There are just so many ways in which you can save money at Christmas. Christmas should be a time for fun, family, and laughter, not stress & panic buying.