Let’s Talk Money – budgeting at Christmas

Let’s Talk Money – budgeting at Christmas, posted by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Over the past few months we’ve been sharing fortnightly updates to help as much as possible with the cost of living crisis impacting on us all. This time around, Alison Munro, Health and Wellbeing Project Lead (Mental Health), shares some ideas for budgeting at Christmas time.

This update is the latest in the series of bi-weekly emails reminding you of where financial and mental health support is available. If you do need support, it’s available for you on the Intranet.

Alison says:

There’s no need to splurge at Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but after 12 months of rising food prices and energy bills, you may be feeling a little more stressed about Christmas and, in particular this year, Christmas spending.

The average family in Britain will spend about £660 this Christmas, according to a survey by the financial advisers Hargreaves Lansdown.

Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert says a year of being debt free is far more important than a Christmas splurge, and warns households against splurging this Christmas, while also highlighting the importance of being honest about their finances in a bid to remain debt-free over the festive period and beyond. To read more and watch the clip from The Martin Lewis Money Show Christmas Special visit here.  

Remember, Christmas is just one day

Contrary to what you may believe, there are plenty of easy ways to save money on your everyday living expenses that won’t see you compromising on your favourite festive foods and family gift-giving traditions. Take a look at some money saving tips to save your precious Christmas pennies!

Make a gifting list & stick to it

Make a list and check it twice! After all, if it works for Santa, it should work for you too. When you go off the list, you overspend. Of course it’s okay to add in a friend you may have forgotten, but try to resist getting swept up in the Christmas spirit and buying every festive titbit you find for every person you’ve ever met. Set your budget straight and you’re good to go.

Don’t stray off the shopping list

The same goes for shopping lists. It’s far too easy to reach the checkout with a few more sweet treats and snowflake-themed items than you bargained for. Before you know it, you’ve spent £20 more than necessary and there’s nothing thrifty about that! Stick to your list and you’ll stay within budget.

Bake your own treats

Now we’re not saying you can’t treat yourself to your favourite festive food bits. Baking your own treats is a great way to not just save money but also get some much needed family bonding time in. After all, they say food tastes better when you make it yourself and what’s more you can eat yours smug in the knowledge your bank balance is happy too.

Make your own gifts

You can make your own gifts for a little cost. There are many ideas online on how to get creative. Make your own exfoliating body scrub using sugar and essential oils, bake cookies or make your own sweets.

Do ‘family gifts’ or a Secret Santa

Secret Santa’s are usually associated with offices, but there’s no reason not to extend this to loved ones. For those who don’t know, everyone’s name goes into a hat, then you draw out who you’re buying for. So you only buy and receive one gift, usually within a spending limit. These days you don’t even need the hat – an online tool can organise it all for you with a few clicks. One of the slickest is the free site Elfster. Just sign up and enter a few details, such maximum budget and the date you’ll do the exchange. You can either enter the other people’s emails or cut and paste a sign-up link. You can even set up wishlists. Another free option worth a look at is Drawnames, which works in a similar way.

Avoid ‘buy now, pay later’

Tempting as these schemes are, try to avoid them unless you have a plan in place for repaying the loan within the interest free period. Otherwise, after the 0% phase ends, you’ll be charged an aggressive interest rate and that new sofa, outfit or TV could end up costing you far more. And it could have a negative impact on your credit score if you default on payments.

Use cashback sites

With sites such as Quidco or TopCashback, you can earn money as you shop. Once you’ve set up an account, click on the retailer you want to buy from. You’ll be taken to the retailer’s website to shop as usual but your purchase is tracked and you will earn a percentage of it back. The amount of cashback you earn varies, but it could be anything between 1% and 12%.

Use Incognito Mode

When you’re shopping online, the cookies saved on your computer mean that retailers know what items you’ve viewed and can push their prices up. Using Incognito Mode prevents them from being able to do this — plus, it stops the items you’ve viewed from coming up as ads and ruining the surprise if your family view your laptop.

Ideas and information are taken from: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/ and https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/christmas-savings/