It’s the same date every year, but somehow, the festive period seems to creep up on us. It’s one of the most expensive times of the year, and GoCompare.com estimate that each British household spends on average, £753 on festivities.
1 in 3 adults say they expect to start the new year in debt because of Christmas spending, so what can you do to be prepared for Christmas 2018?
Split your estimated Christmas cost across 10-12 months.
Lessen the impact on your November pay packet by splitting the cost of Christmas over the months leading up. Splitting the average £753 over 10 months leaves you stashing away just over £75 a month – a little less stress-inducing and allowing you to focus more on enjoying the festivites than worrying about finance.
If you can stretch to doubling your first year of monthly savings, you’ll have the following Christmas paid for, and can take advantage of our next tip.
Lock your money away in a fixed rate investment account.
If it’s leaving your savings alone that’s the issue, try locking away your money in a fixed term deal. The rates are often more competitive than easy access accounts, so you’ll earn more on your account. The longer the fixed term, the better the rate, so depending on how organised you are, take advantage of the higher returns.
Share Christmas day with friends or family, splitting the cost.
You’re probably not the only one looking to reduce festive outgoings. The average food bill is £183 per household, so suggest to family, friends or neighbours about getting together and sharing the cost. Devise a list so you don’t duplicate on sprouts, and enjoy the chance to try someone else’s cooking!
Exchange gifts via Secret Santa, rather than buying for all.
On average, people buy for 12 friends and family. The age-old Secret Santa tradition needn’t be confined to the office. Encourage your family or friends to take part, saving you from spending on multiple gifts, and increase the fun of guessing! For even less organisation (and to avoid cheating!), use sites such as www.drawnames.co.uk
Research deals for all things festive related.
And whilst you’re looking for those perfect presents, do your research. Black Friday is becoming increasingly popular, usually taking place towards the end of November, and there are some fantastic deals to be had.
A lot of online retailers offer incentives, such as free delivery for example, or discounts for signing up for their newsletters. Take advantage of these, you can always unsubscribe.
Write a list and stick to it.
Don’t deviate from your shopping list, whether it be food, decorations or presents. Set yourself a budget and learn to be strict. It's the remit of retailers to try and tempt you to spend more with offers and strategically placed products, but by writing a list, you have a touchstone to refer to whenever you're considering buying something else.
Buy next year’s cards and gift wrap in the January sales.
Send digital greetings cards and save an average of £17.02. However, if you’d like to stick to the more traditional paper cards, shop for next year in the January Sales. You will find big discounts on wrapping, decorations and cards. This can even be extended to presents if you see something that you know will still be relevant next year and they're unlikely to find themselves.
Volunteer at a local shelter or charity on Christmas day.
Save money, experience a change of tradition, and give back to the community by taking part in some charitable work. There are many opportunities to get involved in, such as helping out at local homeless shelters, using your car to take OAP’s to a Christmas meal or supporting young people on helplines (which can be done from the comfort of your own home). Visit your local council website for a list of great causes.