5 tips for Christmas Budgeting

With Christmas only a couple of weeks away, many of us are feeling the pinch already. It’s an expensive time of year, gifts, food, socialising, etc. Add all that on to the normal costs of living and for many, it can be a financial nightmare. The average household spends an extra £740 in December which can be difficult to find. With the ever-increasing cost of household bills, this year is tougher than ever for so many.

I remember years when the girls were little when money was SO tight and I used to end up so stressed trying to make our little money spread enough. Thankfully these days, I’m not in such a tight spot and over the years, I’ve found a few things that have helped me manage the extra costs of the festive season, making it more manageable and stopping me from getting so stressed out! Many stores and sites will now have a Christmas sale in the run-up to the big day – meaning that you can tick items off your list whilst saving yourself some money!

Here are five little tips that have helped me keep the costs of Christmas from overshadowing the fun of the festivities.

Make a Budget

The biggest tip I can give you is to budget. It is all too easy to get carried away and spend, spend, spend. Setting a budget means that you know where you are at and can make sure things don’t get out of hand. You might set an overall budget of how much you can afford to spend on gifts or a budget per person. You could also factor in the costs of any parties, food, Children’s activities etc

Save ahead of time

We have plenty of notice that Christmas is coming each year, so plan ahead. I put aside some money each month from January onwards, so by the time I need to start shopping in September/October I have the money to cover all I need. This way I don’t have to find all that extra money at once.

Shop around for deals

Make a plan of what you want to buy for each person. and shop around for deals. If you look around you can usually find some fantastic offers. If you are like me and have tech-loving teens to buy for then it is definitely worth looking around. My teens are big {and I mean big} Apple fans. By looking around, I found that O2 have some fantastic deals on refurbished phones and smartwatches {both of which were on our O2 Christmas Wishlist this year}. Buying nearly new means you can save a lot of money! Not only that, but O2 also offers some fantastic perks – such as up to 12 months free Disney+ as well as offers through their O2 Priority app.

Take advantage of loyalty schemes

Many supermarkets and shops offer loyalty schemes now. Collecting points throughout the year when you are shopping anyway costs nothing and saving those points up until Christmas gives you a little extra when you need it the most. I always save all the supermarket points that for my Christmas shop – it usually gives me another £90/100 to put towards my biggest food shop! It makes a huge difference at this time of the year for me.

Buy ahead of time

As well as putting money aside throughout the year, I also pick things up as and when I see them. If I see things that I think would make a fantastic gift, either for a specific person or just as a general gift to have ready, then I’ll buy them and put them to one side. This lets me take advantage of deals and sales that might be running earlier in the year. Also from around September onwards, I’ll pick up a few things each week on our supermarket run – a tin of biscuits, a tub of chocolates. I find these things are often on offer in the months leading up to Christmas so I’ll stock up when they are {just make sure they are well hidden so they don’t get eaten before Christmas!}

This post is a collaboration with O2, but all thoughts and experiences are my own.

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