5 ways to avoid Christmas costing a fortune

So it’s 01 December on Monday. How did that happen? This year seems to have gone so quickly. With Christmas likely looming large in all of your thoughts, chances are you’re probably thinking that it’s going to be really expensive. Well it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. After years of battling with huge, depressing credit card bills in January that take me months to pay off, I’ve learned that Christmas is only as expensive as you want to make it. So here are my five tips to avoiding Christmas costing you a fortune.

1. Decide who you are going to buy for – It’s the season of goodwill and with that it’s tempting to buy presents for everyone. But if you don’t want Christmas to cost an arm and a leg, you need to be realistic about who to buy gifts for. My friends and I decided rather than buy each other presents, we would go for a pre-Christmas cocktail. It costs much less and is a really nice thing to do.

2. Set a budget and stick to it – Think really carefully about what you can afford. From that, set a figure that will cover all of your Christmas presents and won’t result in you spending more than what your bank balance will allow.

3. Start a spreadsheet – Now that you know who you are buying for and what you’re going to spend, make yourself a spreadsheet. This will help you to stick to your budget. I do my Christmas spreadsheet on Google Docs, so it keeps me on track wherever I go.

4. Take advantage of deals – So many retailers have deals on at this time of year. Black Friday is the most obvious one, but look out for other retailer discounts. And depending on your budget, it will allow you to get your loved ones a little bit more. I don’t alter my budget to factor deals in, but it does mean I can get my friends and family more with my money.

5. Consider making homemade gifts – If money is a real issue, homemade gifts always go down really well. I made these truffles earlier on this year and once they were boxed up, they looked really impressive and were totally gift worthy. Candles, biscuits and chutneys are also relatively inexpensive to make.

I hope you find these tips useful – they certainly help to save me a little money. Do you have any tips for keeping Christmas spending more manageable?

  • Lisa

    These are some really good tips, Chiara! I think the homemade gifts are a great idea, plus so much more time and effort goes into them x

  • https://acrossthehogsback.wordpress.com/ Gianni W.

    I feel like a bit of a cheat living abroad because no one expects me to send them things since shipping internationally can get real expensive real fast. I do have a few people (as in exactly 3) who I’ve picked out (reasonably priced) things for. Great post, Chiara!

  • http://www.fromthedeskofj.blogspot.com Jenny

    Great tips! My boyfriend and I agree an amount we’ll spend on each other that we both can afford. He always ends up going over though, which makes me feel bad. Haha. My family members also gives joint gifts, so we split the cost on items which helps save some money.
    And I completely agree- this year has flown by!

  • http://meandmr.com Melanie

    Great tips!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  • http://the.pyreflies.org Jessica

    These are wonderful tips. Last year I started saving $10-20 each week JUST for Christmas shopping and it has made Christmas shopping this year sooo much less stressful. It is nice to just have cash set aside for buying things… I also make a list of my family members and scratch off their names as soon as I find them something. I don’t do any Black Friday shopping but just keep my eyes out for good sales (and browse through the clearance racks!)

    Clearance racks save lives. At least it saves mine… haha i find so many cute stuff for such great prices! nothing beats brand new, cute AND cheap :P

  • http://heatherright@blogspot.com Heather @ That’s the story of…

    This is a great list of ideas. We started shopping in October, and I’m still overwhelmed!

    • chiara

      Thanks Heather! That’s another great tip, starting early!x

  • http://www.adventuresofalondonkiwi.com Emma

    These are wonderful tips – Christmas can be such a terrifically expensive time of year…!

  • http://www.somethingshavehappened.blogspot.com Siobhan

    I really like this list. In my immediate family we do a secret santa and Mr Mac and I set a spending limit for gifts in general which I like as it stops us from going overboard. We also work out who we are getting gifts for and prioritise. I do always spend more than I would like though, but I think I’m keeping it in check better this year.

  • chiara

    Thanks Lisa! I do like homemade gifts, they’re always really touching x

  • chiara

    Thanks Gianni! I can see where you are coming from, shipping is super expensive x

  • chiara

    Thanks Jenny! My husband and I do that. If we don’t agree on an amount then it tends to get out of hand – oops :-)

  • chiara

    Thanks Melanie! x

  • chiara

    Saving in advance is a great idea Jessica! I wish I’d thought of that earlier rather than spreading it just across 2 pay packs. Saving longer term would have been so much easier :-)