The holiday season is almost upon us which means you can be sure of a few things – firstly, Mariah Carey’s royalties are about to skyrocket. Secondly, that your wallet may start to feel lighter with the annual routine that is present buying, socialising, and decking the halls.
While it may be the most wonderful time of year for some, it can also be one of the most stressful.
That’s why we’ve put together five budgeting tips to help soften the blow to your finances over the festive season.
1. Set a Christmas budget
Setting a Christmas budget is a great way to hold yourself accountable and not lose sight of your holiday spendings.
To start, prioritise what matters most to you at Christmas – like having the flashiest Christmas lights on the street or putting on a five-course lunch for your loved ones. Then allocate which areas you want to dedicate the most spendings to.
Once you know how much you want to spend - consider setting up a separate Christmas savings account which you can add to throughout the year.
The earlier you start saving with your Christmas fund, the better! Why not start now with our Dream Fund - a digital access only account designed to reward you for saving with bonus interest.
To help you estimate how long it will take you to reach your Christmas savings goal, use our handy savings calculator.
2. Keep Christmas lunch simple
As tempting as it may be, try not to go overboard on Christmas catering.
Be mindful of over catering and ending up with more food wastage and a higher food bill than necessary. If you do over cater, make sure to make the most of the leftovers and repurpose the food for the next few meals to come (and because Christmas trifle always tastes better the day after).
If you’re the host – why not ask your guests to chip in? Mix things up with a pot-luck Christmas, a great way for everyone to contribute and take the burden off you and your wallet.
3. Plan your Christmas gifts ahead
Try to plan your Christmas shopping ahead by allocating gifts and setting spending limits for everyone.
Once you’ve worked out how much you want to spend on Christmas presents, it can be helpful to discuss this with your friends and family so that everyone is on the same page (and there’s no awkward moments under the tree).
Alternatively, suggest a Kris Kringle or Secret Santa for your family or group of friends. This means getting to spend more time (and less money) on buying or making one gift.
Once you’ve made your gift list (and checked it twice), why not take advantage of the sales? November and December are known for their end-of-year sales (like Black Friday), so take advantage of this time with your Christmas shopping.
4. DIY Christmas decorations and presents
Cut costs and get crafty this Christmas by making your own Christmas gifts, decorations, cards, and even wrapping paper.
Here’s some of our favourite DIY gift ideas:
- Homemade bath salts
- Homemade jams, oils, or marinades
- Create your own candle
- Frame your favourite photo together
- Pot your favourite herbs, plant, or succulent (and paint the pot too)
If these don’t tickle your fancy, Pinterest and Instagram are hubs for great DIY ideas.
Lastly – reuse, reuse, reuse. There’s nothing wrong with digging up last season’s Christmas decorations and table settings – it also means less wastage and it’s better for our planet.
5. Keep Christmas catch-ups at home
While it’s good to treat yourself occasionally with drinks and dinner out – this season, try suggesting Christmas get-togethers at home.
You can’t go wrong with a cosy and cost-effective home cooked meal and Christmas movie on the couch with friends.