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How to not go over budget at Christmas

Every year December rolls around and we all have the same fears about buying Chrirstmas presents. This panic ranges from “What on Earth am I going to buy this person” to “I literally have no money to buy gifts” to “I have just been buying stuff and hoping it all works out well”… and everything in between. 

No matter how many times we read cute little Pinterest quotes that say ‘Christmas is not about presents, it is about being around people you love’, we still spend so much time and energy stressing over gifts. 

So here are some top tips to help alleviate your present-buying worries and help you step into the joy of giving without breaking the bank:

Create a budget for your shopping

Work out how much you want to spend, and how much you can afford to actually spend on gift this year. Pick a budget per person to stick to, (or if that feels too restrictive, you can have one overall budget to not exceed).

The good thing about creating a limit on how much you spend is that not only does it help you get more creative with what you buy, but it also removes the stress of accidentally leaving yourself not enough money to pay your bills. That is never ideal, not in these cold months!

Creating a budget per person is one thing but if you do not keep on top of the gifts you are buying, it can be easy to forget about what you have already bought so make sure to track what you are spending as you go along. 

Talk to your friends and family, and be open about money 

Would you want someone to get into unmanageable debt just to give you a good present at christmas? Absolutely not… and the same goes for you. The people that love you won’t want you to go broke at Christmas just for the sake of it. It is not worth it. 

In the UK, the average person gets into £439 of debt over Christmas and it takes the average person 4 months to get their finances back into shape. Open and honest money conversations with friends and family are so important, especially during the festive period. 

If you are worrying about your money at Christmas, talking to the people around you can alleviate a lot of that stress. Instead of spending loads of money on each other, you could suggest a Secret Santa amongst your friends with a spending limit, or agree to not do presents at all but instead all go out for a fun christmas meal as your gift to each other. 

Make or give an alternative gift

One of my favourite types of gifts to receive is something handmade. I love anything where I know the person has put thought and effort into it and I think a lot of other people will agree!

Consider making some DIY gifts for people this year such as homemade soap or candles. You could buy a nice journal, and write a beautiful sentimental letter in the front. Or make a scrapbook for someone near and dear with all your fav pics and memories. If you like baking, you could make homemade brownies or cookies and package them up in a pretty way!

Crafting can be a cost-effective way to give a really thoughtful gift. Plus it is a fun, and creative way to spend your time during December on those dark and cold winter nights (I mean anything to get us off of TikTok and into the real world, am i right?!)

And if you are not really into the stereotypical crafting vibes, then think about other ways to get creative with giving… can you give the gift of your time, or offer out your skills as a gift? 

And remember, Christmas is not all about the present buying. Your mental health and your financial wellbeing should always take priority.