Christmas is a time for indulging in good food, spending time with friends and family, and exchanging gifts. All those festivities come with a price tag, and you are likely expecting to spend a bit more than normal in the lead up to the big day.
You won’t be alone, as Statista reports that the average person in the south-east is expected to spend £858.87 on Christmas in 2023.
There’s nothing wrong with splashing out during the festive period and creating memorable experiences with your friends and family. However, it’s easy to make simple mistakes and spend more than you need to.
Read on to learn some of the best spending rules to help you achieve the perfect Christmas.
Do: set a budget and stick to it
Setting a budget is the easiest way to control your spending over the Christmas period. While it may be tempting to start planning a big festive celebration and searching for presents without considering the cost, this is likely to lead to overspending.
Instead, consider how much you can afford to spend on food and gifts, and create a budget. This will help you avoid overspending by buying more food than you need or going overboard with gifts.
Setting a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have the Christmas you want, it just helps you find a good balance and avoid wasteful spending.
Do: consider setting price limits for gifts
If you have a large extended family, the cost of gifts quickly adds up, so you may want to consider setting price limits this year.
You can be a bit more flexible with immediate family but if you start buying expensive gifts for everybody, it is difficult to stay in budget. Fortunately, agreeing a spending limit makes things more affordable for everybody.
Additionally, you might decide to do a Secret Santa – everybody picks a random name and you purchase one gift for that person – if you have a very large family. This means that everybody gets a gift and you only need to buy one each.
Do: start early and shop around
If you’re the kind of person who leaves their Christmas shopping to the last minute, you may be spending more than you need to.
Starting early gives you more time to shop around and find the best deals, and could save you a significant amount of money. Additionally, you can spread out the cost of Christmas, instead of spending everything the week before, making the expense easier to manage.
You may do a lot of your shopping online these days, so consider using sites like Google Shopping or PriceRunner to compare prices and find the cheapest deals.
Don’t: be unrealistic about your budget
Budgeting helps you manage your festive spending, but it is important to be realistic.
If you are not honest about what you can afford, you may set your budget too high. This could mean that you overspend, and you can’t meet other financial goals, such as contributing to savings or investments, for example.
Conversely, you might go the other way and set your budget too low because you want to limit your spending. However, this could mean that you make sacrifices and don’t have the Christmas that you and your family want.
So, be realistic and find a good balance between your ideal celebration and the amount you can afford to spend.
Don’t: leave travel plans until the last minute
Many of us will travel to see family and friends over the festive period and this can be expensive. With more people travelling over the Christmas, the cost of flights or trains may be higher.
Fortunately, by planning ahead, you could save yourself some money. According to Which?, for example, a single train ticket from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly cost £44 when booked in advance.
In comparison, an anytime single ticket cost £184.70 – an increase of 76%.
The same is true of flights and you usually get a cheaper price if you book further in advance. You also have more time to shop around for the best deals.
Don’t: fall victim to scams
People are likely to spend more money in the lead up to Christmas, and unfortunately, criminals aim to take advantage of this. As a result, you may be more likely to be targeted by scams.
Indeed, research by Lloyds Bank found that the number of online shopping scams increased by 20% in December 2021 and the average victim lost £427.
The same research also found that 33% of people would take more of a risk at Christmas by buying from a website they have never used before.
It is important that you are vigilant while shopping for Christmas gifts and do some research before using any new retailers. It may also be a good idea to use a credit card to make all purchases because you have more protection.
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes the credit card company equally responsible with the seller if there is a problem with goods and services you purchase.
This means that you can normally get a refund from your credit card company if you fall victim to a scam, but this may not be the case if you pay with a debit card.
Get in touch
If you need some help with your financial plan over the Christmas period and into the new year, we are here for you.
Please give us a call on 01276 855717 or email email@example.com today.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
Approved by the Openwork partnership on 10/11/2023