How to budget for Christmas
Christmas can be an expensive and stressful time for many of us, as we discovered in a recent Lowell survey around the true cost of Christmas.
If you'd like to keep things low-key this year, but you're not sure where to start budgeting for Christmas, we've put together a few top tips that might help.
Get crafty with Christmas decorations
If you're feeling like your Christmas decorations could do with a Christmas refresh, here are some no-spend Christmas decoration ideas:
Create your own wreath
Go for a wintry walk and pick up fallen pinecones, branches, holly leaves and ivy to use decorations. You can make a beautiful wreath by using branches tied firmly into a circle with string. Add the sprigs of holly and pinecones for the final touches, and you're good to go. Just be careful where you put your creation, as some plants like ivy and holly can be toxic to pets.
Recycled paper chains
Use last year's Christmas cards or leftover wrapping paper to make festive paper chains. This is a good one to remember for next year, too!
Fed up with all that junk mail? Turn those annoying door drops into something positive, by using those unwanted flyers, leaflets and magazines to create paper snowflakes.
Save on Christmas Dinner
While adverts and movies might make you think you need a picture-perfect turkey surrounded by all of the trimmings, the fact is that a lot of Christmas meals go to waste.
Respect Food estimate that there's almost 270,000 tons of wasted food in the UK over Christmas. Although this isn't ideal, the good news is that this means it's better for the planet and your purse to downsize a bit! For example:
- Buy a turkey crown instead of a full bird. This will also save you cooking time on the day!
- If no-one really enjoys turkey, then go for chicken instead. You can often find it much cheaper than turkey, especially at Christmas time.
- Ask your family what their favourite part of the meal is and stick to the best bits. It might be tradition, but if everyone hates sprouts, then cut them out entirely.
- Keep an eye on the reduced section of your local supermarket to pick up bacon and sausages for pigs in blankets. You can freeze them now and make them closer to the time.
- Don't make an entire second meal for Boxing Day. Boil your turkey or chicken bones and carcass with any leftover veg to make a nice festive soup, just like this example from Lavendar and Lovage.
Get familiar with a household budget
If you're just getting started with planning incoming and outgoings to work out how much you can afford to spend, then our handy guide on how to create a budget might be a good place to start.
By the time next Christmas rolls around, you'll be used to working with a budget, and hopefully that might make it a little bit easier to plan ahead.
Give the gift of time with coupons
Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is precious time. For best friends or significant others, create a coupon book that guarantees them some of your time doing something special together, or even just helping them out with some life admin!
You could give 12 coupons - that's one for every month of the year. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
Coupon ideas for your significant other
- I'll watch the kids so you can have a night to yourself
- Let's go on a sunset walk to our favourite spot
- I'll run you a nice bubble bath
Coupon ideas for friends
- I'll come round and make dinner one night for you
- We'll have a movie night and watch our favourite DVDs
- I'll take your dog for a walk
Coupon ideas for kids to give to parents
- I'll wash the car
- I'll bring you breakfast in bed
- I'll be quiet all Sunday morning so you can have a lie-in
Above all, remember that Christmas is just one day. It's far more important to give the gift of quality time with your loved ones than it is to spend money you don't have on Christmas presents or fancy decorations. And, it's certainly not worth potentially wracking up additional debts or getting into financial difficulty.
Debt can be difficult to manage at any time of year, but Christmas can often make money worries worse. If you're a Lowell customer and you're worrying about your finances, contact us and let us know you're going through a difficult time.
For more handy tips, ideas, and information about managing your finances, check out the Lowell blog.
Published by Libby Davies on 7th December, 2021