I love Christmas, it’s one of my favourite times of the year, but it always sets you back economically. Each year, I’ll try different ways to save money for Christmas so it doesn’t come as much as a shock. There’s a fine line between showing someone how much you care with presents to ruining yourself for December and January. Don’t go into debt buying presents, it’s really not worth it and I’m sure whoever you’re buying for would not want that.
Round-Up Your Spending
There are some great apps that you can get that re-invest what you spend into stocks and shares. With just under two months to go, it’s not really worth the investment. However, if you have a Monzo card, you can create a separate pot of money that rounds up all your spending. You can take it out whenever you want but it’s an easy way to save without even realising. I don’t know about you, but if I’m doing a grocery shop and something comes to £9.56, I’ll just say in my head that it was £10. You’ll soon see the pennies add up and have a nice little pot of money to the side. If you don’t have a Monzo card, there’s a Facebook Messenger app called Cleo that looks at your finances and suggests savings it can make for you each week. This is quite a good one and really easy to use and see your spending habits. I often forget about it and realise halfway through the month that I have some savings in there.
Stop Frivolous Spending
For me, this means not spending money on my lunches. I have a really bad habit of nipping out for extras like yoghurts and cereal bars or cans of Diet Coke. I’ve set myself a rule now that if I don’t have it with me, I can’t buy it. This does mean that I have to plan my snacking a bit better and buy multi-packs of yoghurts, etc at the beginning of the week in my food shops. With autumn drawing in and the days getting colder, I’ve been making a lot of soups for my lunches. They’re super cheaper and also pretty healthy. I’ve made a butternut squash one twice and I think it costs me in total about £8 for my entire work-week of lunches.
Set Yourself a Weekly Budget
And stick to it! I have a really bad habit of setting myself a spending budget each week but then dipping into other weeks in the beginning. I always think I’ll be able to claw it back but I never can. There’s always a bill or an event or social gathering you’ve forgotten about. Plan in advance and stay within the budgets you’ve assigned yourself. Remember any payments you have going out and try to factor them in too. I normally update a spreadsheet I have towards the end of the month and try to plan a little in the lead up to getting paid.
Team Up with Family Members
Something I always try to do each year is team up with my sister. It makes what you’re spending overall less but means you can join money together to buy potentially better presents. We normally go halves on the main gift and then get a few little odds and ends from us individually. I find this one of the easiest ways to save money for Christmas; by splitting the costs.
Decide What You’re Spending
Planning in advance will help you out so much. Knowing what you’re going to spend on each person will show you how and where to save money for Christmas. If you don’t have an idea, how will you know what you need to budget? Once you’ve put one in place, try and keep to it. I know that’s easier said than done sometimes when you happen to see little bits that you know someone would like. If anything, keep those items in mind, you can always go back for them if you come in under budget or can afford extra closer to the time.
Make Some Presents
When I say make, my go-to is to pad out peoples’ gifts with some baked goods. They’re cheap alternatives and if you like to give lots of little gifts, some homemade biscuits or cakes are always appreciated. Last year, I made three different flavours of shortbread; coconut, lemon and plain. I wrapped them in some patterned cellophane with a bow and they looked the part.
Christmas can be such an expensive time of year. If you’re not spending money on presents for people, you’re eating out and going for drinks to catch up with friends. I find it really difficult to say no to social events so the key is to plan in advance. Put aside a little money in the months leading up to December to help yourself out later on. Even if it’s only £30 here and there, that could be the cost of a meal out of visiting friends.