While it may be a little too early to begin decorating your tree and sending off your stack of Christmas greetings in the post, when it comes to budgeting ahead of the festive period, it’s never early enough! In May 2019, the Statista Research Department published statistics which suggested that the UK citizen, on average, spent £748 during the Christmas period in 2016. With the average UK salary noted as £29,009 in 2019, this would mean that nearly half of a person’s monthly earnings were spent on this time of year – making the upcoming festivities an increasingly daunting prospect for many.
In this blog post, therefore, we’re offering some actionable advice on how to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for this year’s festivities, demonstrating the importance of saving for Christmas and proving that it’s never too late to drop those coins into your piggy bank.
Why should I save ahead of the Christmas period?
As with any seasonal occasion, treating this time of year as you would a summer holiday will remove a load of stress and guilt from your shoulders – allowing you to relax, content in the knowledge that you’ve earned this spending-spree and can reasonably afford to do so.
With 57% of the UK public overspending at Christmas and 10% of households paying for festivities entirely on a credit card, it’s crucial that you start to think about budgeting properly now in order to eliminate the worry of paying for Christmas months after your tree came down through a personal loan.
By strategically working out what you need to budget for and starting to save ahead of the wintery festivities, you’ll protect yourself from entering into credit card debt that you may not be able to repay (and that could incur additional charges, as well as interest fees, as a result).
How has Christmas spending changed?
In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that November has evolved into the new December. Since the introduction of the popular Black Friday sales in the US back in the 1940s, the tradition of slashed prices being available for one day only was integrated into UK culture back in 2013 – leading the way for a new generation of shoppers saving up their cash for this spectacular, limited-time event.
However, in recent years, this ‘one day’ event has turned into a week-long occasion – possibly to relieve pressure on staff, but more likely to increase sales margins by driving more customers through the door, enticing them with ‘final day’ offers.
What do you need to save for?
Generally understood to be a season of giving and hearty celebrations amongst friends and family, Christmas is no longer just about how scrumptious your spread is and the little gifts you share with one another and, instead, encompasses a range of expenses that you may not have initially accounted for.
From decorations (and the accompanying costs of lighting up your home) and gifts to travel costs visiting family around the country or abroad – as well as keeping the pantry filled with food for the big day and guests who drop by – there’s plenty to consider. So when it comes to going out for a meal in October, turn your attention to the invites for evenings-out and celebratory events that might land on your doorstep come December, thinking about where you’d rather spend your money.
How can I save for Christmas?
Throughout the festive season, it’s highly likely that you’ll be tempted to stray away from your budget and overspend on last-minute deals and offers. As such it’s important to consider the below pointers to help you budget effectively for the Christmas season:
- Forget the extras – Things like crackers and posh liqueurs may seem like a tradition, but they’re commonly an expensive extra that you don’t need. So, to save some money, ditch the fancy chutneys and expensive drinks in favour of spending your money on something that matters more to you
- Resist temptation to to upshift – Premium ranges of ‘normal’ items are all the rage at Christmas. We suggest ditching the temptation to fall at the feet of fancy, branded packaging and opt for things you eat all year round and save a couple of quid in the process
- Think second hand shopping – Particularly where children are concerned, they won’t care if the same toy you can find in a leading retailer is given to them without the original packaging – so long as they can play with it, they’ll enjoy it and it will likely save you half the price!
- Stretch out Christmas – Don’t commit to seeing every single friend before the big day itself – not only will this tire you out, but it will rack up the cost you’ve saved for social occasions considerably. Instead, agree to meet up with friends in the New Year, giving you time to both relax and recover some of your funds
- Set up a Christmas savings account – Setting up a dedicated account for your Christmas spends will eliminate the temptation to overspend and will act as a constant reminder of how much you can comfortably afford to spend – acting as an efficient budgeting tool as a result
With 3 months to go, now’s the perfect time to get your budget in order and think ahead to the festivities in order to save you both money and stress! No matter how much you know you can afford to spend, using the above money saving tips and planning ahead will benefit you greatly and make sure you’re not paying off Christmas until the following festive period.