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How to budget for Christmas

Christmas is said to be the most wonderful time of the year, however, it’s also one of the most expensive. Between buying gifts, decorating the house, and feeding an army of friends and family, costs can quickly add up. 

To ensure you’re organised for the festive season, consider preparing for the financial impact now. Putting aside a small amount of money in the months leading up to Christmas can make the big day much less stressful, and you’ll avoid facing a frugal January too. Let’s explore some of the ways you can budget for Christmas. 

Create a presents budget early 

Christmas shopping can be time-consuming and exhausting, so make it easier for yourself by creating a list of who you’re buying gifts for, an estimated amount to spend on each gift and an idea of what to get each person. Setting out your intentions on paper will make it clear how much you need to put aside for the gifts and what percentage of your total budget for Christmas will be spent on presents. It’s important not to overspend and to take into account all aspects of your financial position before setting your Christmas budget.

Making a note of gift ideas will also make it easier to start your Christmas shopping early, meaning you can get everything organised ahead of time and avoid the dreaded Christmas Eve dash to the shops. Buying gifts in advance also means you’ll have the first pick of what’s on offer and get good deals, and you’re less likely to find the presents you had planned to buy are sold out. 

Prioritise your activities 

The invitations always seem to flood in at once at Christmastime: networking drinks, family dinners, cheese and wine with friends and the office Christmas party, the list goes on. Although exciting, it can be difficult to balance everything, particularly when you consider the costs involved. 

Unless you have an unlimited bank balance, you’ll probably find your finances will only allow you to accept a few of your invitations. If this is the case, ensure you prioritise the ones which are most important to you. Celebrating the way you want is the best way to make sure you feel happy and fulfilled: at the end of the day, that’s what Christmas is all about. 

Keep your eyes peeled for deals 

Retailers often raise prices for products as demand soars, particularly during busy periods like Christmas. Keep a watchful eye on discount websites: you never know when you could nab a spa day for Mum, and she’ll never know what a good deal you got!

When shopping online or in-store, bear in mind what’s available now may not be around when December arrives. Several British toy retailers, including The London Toy Company, have warned supply chain issues throughout the UK have led to toy shortages and will likely result in higher prices if their shelves are restocked in time for Christmas this year.    

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