Thrifty ways to enjoy Christmas without getting into debt

Saving and sticking to a budget are a must when planning for an affordable Christmas.
Picture: PA P

Saving and sticking to a budget are a must when planning for an affordable Christmas. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. - Credit: PA

Now we’re into November, Christmas seems a lot closer than it did just a few days ago. It’s time to start planning ahead.

I say that hesitantly as every year I grow to despise just that little bit more the over-blown consumerism and hype that accompanies this time of year, pressuring us all to spend far more than many of us can afford.

But by planning ahead we can spread the cost of Christmas, set a budget and hopefully make the whole thing a little less financially oppressive. The really smart ones amongst us will have been putting something away throughout the year, either in an organised ‘Christmas club’ or in a savings plan of their own. Others will have been squirrelling away presents when they’ve seen a bargain or something that seems to fit the bill for a particular loved one.

If you haven’t done either then setting a realistic budget and knowing how you’re going to fund it should be the top of your to-do list.

We spent £452 on average last year on Christmas, according to research from Halifax. Top of the leaderboard of items we tend to splash out most on, are alcohol, gifts and the Christmas roast.

Meanwhile, the independent Money Advice Service (MAS) has found that nearly 30% of us feel pressured to spend more than they can afford over the festive period. It advises that when setting a Christmas budget you should factor in everything, from food, gifts and decorations, to social events such as the office Christmas party. MAS’ Christmas money planner tool can help.

Other tips include thinking about costs you can reduce or cut out altogether to help fund the festive period (regular takeaway coffee, for example, and MAS has a Quick Cash Finder tool to help you work out where and how you could cut back on spending.


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More money can be saved by switching to supermarket own-brand products or perhaps even switching supermarket or how about having an clearout and selling any unwanted items.

Email your thrifty Christmas tips here.

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