It’s maybe too late to start festive budgeting for this year.  However, there are some tweaks you can make now to ensure you’re not busting the budget.  This year is going to feel a bit different, but there is loads you can still do to reduce your last-minute panic and ensure that the credit card isn’t too overworked.

It’s all about the budget

Set an amount you’re happy to spend and stick to it.  Remember to include everything from the box of crackers to the Christmas dinner trimmings.  With large Christmas gatherings out of the window this year, think about saving what you would have spent, putting it away, and you’ll be on your way to making Christmas 2021 a year to remember.

Secret Santa

For many, Christmas is about giving gifts and sharing amongst friends, families and loved ones.  Instead of buying more of the same, you could avoid buying for the sake of it and buy one meaningful gift for someone.  Decide on your budget and ask people to suggest things they might like.  You could also use an online secret Santa generator.  With a limit on what each other can spend, your budget won’t become overstretched you’ll all get something that you want as well!!

Spend mindfully

Last-minute gifting often means you’re spending money without little thought.  Make a list and stick to it.  Do you need to be buying for your entire circle of friends, extended family members and work colleagues?  If they need a little festive cheer, then great but if you are buying for the sake of it, this year might be a good one to put it on hold.  Let’s face it; you won’t have seen them for ages anyway!!

Sustainable Gifting

Help save the planet and your wallet! With the cost of 12 first-class Christmas stamps at £9.12 (2nd class £7.80) and a pack of Christmas cards around £4, do you need to send a card? Think about sending e-cards and do your bit towards being environmentally friendly.  Alternatively, abandon the card giving and donate to charity or your local foodbank instead.

Get crafting

Kids love making stuff, and it can be a cheap way to entertain them during the long school break.  Think about decorating baubles, creating paper chains and making a gingerbread house.   Have some fun with your elf on the shelf…the little guy we all love to hate!!

Try not to borrow

If your finances have been affected this year, try not to borrow money to finance Christmas.  Use a price comparison or credit referencing site to see if you have access to a 0% interest-free credit card.  If it’s too late to apply, do not borrow more than you can afford.

It’s never too early to start planning for next year

January sales are an excellent time to get ahead of the curve.  Buy your cards and decorations in the sale and put them away for next year.  Start your budget for Christmas 21 in the new year and create a new saving pot.  That way, whatever happens, your Christmas is paid for, and you’ll be able to celebrate in style next year when hopefully we’ll be living back in the “old” normal.

For more information, take a look at our money and spending blog, helping you to navigate the sales and keep your spending under control.