We’re only just getting over last Christmas, but for some, the saving begins now. According to The Telegraph, the average British family spends £800 on Christmas including food, presents, travel and decorations. While it’s the most wonderful time of the year, the hosting, exchanging of gifts and countless Christmas parties can make it the most expensive too. To avoid a major hit on your bank balance in December, it can be worth budgeting now and making some savvy savings throughout the year.
Below are some ways to help you budget for Christmas 2016:
Make a list
Make a list of everyone you need to buy for; mum, dad, aunties, uncles, friends, friends’ children. Even if you’re not sure on certain people, put them down anyway. It’s best to plan worst case and be better off at the end of the year. Set a limit for each person too. When you buy something for someone on the list, cross them off and write the purchase next to it so you know where you are at. Try to wrap the gifts as soon as possible so you don’t end up buying them more when December comes around.
Take advantage of sales and discounts
See something for a discounted price that you know your grandma would love? It may well be March but buy it now and put it by ready for Christmas. You’ll only regret it and when December comes around and you’re stuck for a gift. Keep your eyes peeled for great discounts and offers throughout the year too.
Start saving now
Have a dedicated savings pot solely dedicated to Christmas. Say to yourself you’ll put a minimum of £30 in a month. This will help spread the cost so you’re not reliant on November and December’s pay packet to cover your Christmas spending. Try not to dip into your savings if you have a tight month; treat them as if they are just as important. If you need some extra support nearer the time, consider a loan – this site provides one option.
Set new traditions
According to This is Money, Brits are the most generous when it comes to buying gifts, spending almost double compared to their European counterparts. Why not set some new Christmas traditions that will help you save money this year? Email Christmas messages rather than sending cards or make use of free websites that allow you to create your own photo cards that could double up as presents with a photo frame. You could also set limits on spending. For example, if you’re buying for work colleagues and friends, set a £5-£10 limit or take part in Secret Santa.
Make what you can
If you are the crafty type, why not start making Christmas presents? DIY gifts are thoughtful and unique, and yet again, you can save money. Pinterest is packed with ideas for great gifts whether it’s homeware, cards, clothing or food related gifts. Your friends and relatives are guaranteed to love that you’ve gone to so much effort; although be prepared that they’ll expect it every year going forward!