In 2016 it was estimated that the average UK family spend almost £800 over Christmas
, on presents, food, decorations and going out. It’s a time for celebration, but that means more parties, more gifts and more spending. 12% of people
said they would be using a credit card to help them pay for Christmas.
If you've been working really hard to save for your deposit for your first home, it can feel painful to have to commit to Christmas spending. So how can you cut down the costs and keep saving?
We have a few ideas.
Let people know
If you’re trying to focus on saving this year, let your family and friends know in advance. You don’t have to feel guilty opting out, or installing a budget, but just let them know.
We're sure they won't hold responsible saving against you, but there is nothing worse than receiving a big, over the top gift when you can only afford something minimal.
Cue red faces, awkward excuses and an overly extravagant next year – not ideal.
Work out exactly who you need to buy for, and create a budget for each person. If you start early enough, you may be able to get items on sale, and save yourself a few pounds here and there. Instilling a budget doesn’t have to mean you haven’t put thought into the gift, it just means being savvy.
Not just for the office, Secret Santa is a great way to do gifts amongst groups – plus it’s fun! You’ll end up only buying one item instead of many, everyone gets a gift and you’re saving your friends money too.
Experiences over Objects
If you’re saving with a partner, agree to forego presents for a shared experience, like a night out.
The rest of the money you would have spent can go into your savings. Your gift to each other is investing in a shared future – what could be a more romantic gift?!
Pot luck party
If your friends are saving too, why not do a potluck party, where everyone brings a dish or a drink instead of swapping gifts? It makes it about the time you spend with the people you care about rather than the money you spend on them. Which really, is the point of the festive season, after all.
Keep it homemade
Not everyone is crafty, and your mother in law may not jump for joy at your latest creation with a glue gun, but there’s no reason you can’t play to your strengths. Making edible festive treats, like cookies, cakes and truffles will always be well received, especially if you present them attractively.
There are tutorials
for making bath bombs, candles and other straightforward gifts, and if you make them in batches these will save you money.
The idea is to trade spending money for spending time. Take the person’s taste into account and try to match your gift to them. It really is the thought that counts.
Put that FOMO back in the box
It’s easy to feel the Fear of Missing Out around Christmas time. It seems like every other day is a staff party, or a Christmas party, or the lights turning on, or some sort of festive event with delicious food and seasonal drinks.
You don’t want to miss out, you want to catch up with friends, and you don’t want to let anyone down. Your options here are down to you:
• You can go to each event, spending on entry tickets, food and gifts
• You can limit the events you go to
• You can go to each event, but eat at home beforehand and limit your drinks.
This is really down to who you are as a person – if you’re going to feel awkward joining friends after a meal, then forego it.
If you know you won’t be able to resist that third glass of mulled wine, that’s up to you.
Know your strengths and weaknesses and play to those. Remember that it’s easy to be overwhelmed around this time of year with expectation – if you’re missing out this year, you might be in your own home next Christmas.
Remember what you’re saving for
It’s harder to stay strong in the face of festive cheer and 3 for 2 mince pies, especially because a deposit
is such a long term savings goal. You don’t want to feel left out or deprived, but to reach your goal, consistency is key.
Having a visual goal will keep you on track – a keyring you plan to use for your new home, a nightly Rightmove browse or an overall December saving goal number written somewhere.
You don’t have to feel deprived over Christmas, you can just cut out the costs that don’t matter to you, and focus on spending time with family and friends, enjoying time off work and aligning your saving goals for 2019
Feeling festive doesn’t have to knock you off your goals – stay strong!