Budgeting Tips For Christmas

By Leeds Credit Union

It may only be October, but like it or not, Christmas is on its way. And, with the government launching a new support fund to help vulnerable households with essentials this winter, it's clear that, for many families, finding extra money to pay for Christmas festivities is going to be easier said than done.

The good news is that, with a little financial planning, you can make your money stretch further than you think. Here are our top Christmas budgeting tips.

1. Be realistic about what you can afford

Christmas is only one day and it's not worth getting into debt for, so don't try and throw your family a dream Christmas with all the trimmings - stick to what you can afford.

This budget planner from MoneySavingExpert has lots of good ideas on managing your money.

2. Make sacrifices 

They don't have to be significant but, as the saying goes, every little helps. For example, if you stop buying a £2.50 coffee every morning before work over the coming weeks, you could save approximately £100 and add it to the Xmas fund instead.

3. Start shopping asap

Ongoing supply chain issues are likely to see prices rise and availability fall in the runup to Christmas, so keep your 'people to buy for' list handy and if you see something suitable at a discounted price, buy it now. 

4. Don't be a snob

Don't get the most expensive turkey, stuffing and gravy you can find, shop around for cheaper alternatives. Higher brand goods don't necessarily mean better quality and once they're on the table, nobody's likely to ask where they came from anyway. The same goes for accessories like crackers and wrapping paper. 

5. Only buy presents for immediate family

Handing out presents to everyone you know is all well and good but, if money's tight, remember you're not obliged to buy anyone anything.

If you're determined to buy gifts for colleagues, friends and extended family members as well as your nearest and dearest, why not agree to a £5 or £10 cap on presents?

6. Get creative

Instead of buying presents this year, why not make them? This list of Xmas gifts you can make yourself has an abundance of great, affordable ideas anyone would be delighted to receive on December 25th.

7. Shop around

There are plenty of bargains to be had if you know where to look so keep an eye on ebay and Facebook Marketplace. If you're shopping in person, have a look in your local charity shop and always remember to compare highstreet prices v online prices before making a purchase.

8. Sell to buy

Most of us have at least a few items we could live without so, if you've got anything you haven't used for a while, why not sell it and put the profits towards Christmas?

9. Keep an eye on Black Friday deals

Black Friday used to refer to the sales that took place on the Friday after Thanksgiving in America. Now Black Friday lasts for weeks and, thanks to online shopping, is available all over the world!

This year's event officially begins on Friday, November 26th, but keep an eye on your favourite shops, their websites and Amazon in particular for information about pre-sale offers. We'll be offering more advice on making the most of Black Friday in the near future too.

10. Plan your journeys now

If you're going to be using trains to get around over the festive period, book your tickets asap - discounted tickets usually go on sale around 10 weeks before the date of travel and sell out fast. 

Find out how Leeds Credit Union can help you

Xmas on a budget doesn't mean Xmas is cancelled. With small loans of £250 available to our members, joining our credit union could help make your Christmas easier to afford - find out how to join here.