For every family in the UK, the Christmas holidays are a really expensive time of the year and can present significant financial challenges if you don’t plan ahead. It’s a time of indulgence for most of us, with expensive gifts, food, drinks, trips, and nights out all racking up the costs, which can undoubtedly take its toll on your monthly budget. So, while Christmas is still a long way ahead of us, here are some tips that will help you plan ahead for the festivities to save yourself a significant financial burden at the end of the year.
Create a budget
The primary reason why planning Christmas ahead of time is important is that it gives you time to put together a budget. The average British person spends around £1,100 during the festive season, which is a lot of money if you don’t plan things in advance. Therefore, in the months leading up to Christmas, it’s helpful to put together a Christmas budget and savings plan that makes things easier in the lead-up to the festivities. When you save money ahead of time, you are much more likely to afford the indulgences of the Christmas season and have a great time without worrying about how Christmas will affect your finances.
Don’t rely on credit cards
Lots of people send their credit cards into overdrive around Christmas time, as it’s so tempting to enjoy yourself in the present and worry about the bill later. Whether it’s an expensive gift for your partner or a last-minute European trip, it’s so tempting to put your Christmas expenses on your credit card. But in reality, you need to think about the cost of doing so, with the average UK credit card APR at around 25%. It’s much better to save money in advance that you can use at Christmas than simply pulling out the credit card and paying for things when the festive season comes around.
Look for cheaper gifts
If you live a hectic lifestyle and have a busy work and social calendar, it’s all too easy to leave your Christmas gifts until the very last minute. But what tends to happen is that prices go through the roof at Christmas time, and you end up spending more money on the same presents that you could have purchased earlier in the year for less. So, consider writing up a Christmas gift list earlier than usual and plan your shopping throughout the year. Planning your Christmas shopping in advance will undoubtedly save you money in the long run.
Plan other projects
Given the costs associated with Christmas, lots of people put other aspects of their lives on hold. But if you want to buy a new car or pay for a home extension project, there’s no reason why you can’t plan other projects if you have planned for your festive expenses ahead of time. After all, Christmas shouldn’t be an all-consuming drain on your finances, and the simple act of planning ahead can make a big difference to the affordability of other projects.
The bottom line
There’s no getting away from the fact that Christmas is an expensive time of the year for all families in the UK. But with some careful planning that begins early in the year, you don’t need to look at Christmas expenditure as burdensome for you and your family.