Christmas is looming and it’s a time when many will start to feel overwhelmed by the costs. Quite a few will turn to credit for convenience, but this is a major cause of debt.

Recent research from PayPlan found that over half of parents will rely on their credit cards to cover their essential living costs this Christmas.

Christmas should be about spending time with your loved ones but the financial pressures of the festivities are apparent. We want to help raise awareness of how easy it is to get into debt, especially at this time of year, so we’ve put together some cost cutting tips to help make your Christmas this year more affordable. Christmas might seem a while away yet but the earlier you start thinking about everything, the more time you have to prepare.

1. Check up on your finances

The key to controlling your finances is knowing what you have coming in and going out. Have a look through your expenditure and work out how much you have left after your bills. This will show you how much you can afford to spend and will also give you an idea of how much you will need to save.

2. Make a list…and check it twice!

Write a list of everything you would like to buy and everything you need to buy. Pick up your necessities first and if you have money left over after, you can look at the other things on your list. Having a list will keep your spending in check and make sure you don’t get carried away.

Bear in mind the figures you saw when you had a look at your finances and use them to create a Christmas budget. Knowing how much you can afford will help you keep on track with your spending. 

3. Get creative with your gift giving

Do you really need to spend as much as you’re planning to? A lot of the time we buy gifts people don’t really want or need just because we feel obligated. Why not discuss gift giving with family and friends, and make alternative suggestions like Secret Santa? You could only buy for the children in the family to keep the cost down.
There are many gift giving alternatives and if you’re worried about money, talk to your family and maybe start a new tradition. You could even try making gifts! Instead of buying chocolates for someone, why not bake them some cookies? A few cheap ingredients can make some yummy treats and it’s more personal.

4. Tell people what you actually want for Christmas

Christmas is not just an expense for you; others will be looking to return the favour and buy gifts for you and your family. Tell them about the things you need (but maybe can’t afford) and make sure your presents are of use to you this year. Getting things you need means you won’t have to worry about buying them later down the line – which actually saves you money. You also won’t need to worry about trying to sell unwanted presents or asking for the receipt! 

5. Don’t panic buy or overspend

Each year, people panic buy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It may be wise to check up on your list and only spend what you had planned to. We all know that the supermarkets close on Christmas Day, so why not keep an eye out for bargains and freeze anything you need in the lead up to the big day?

Need some advice?

If you need a helping hand with your finances, speak to a member of our team today. Call an adviser for free on 0800 316 1833