Essential Recipes: Christmas Budgeting

Your Co.mmerce

This episode of the Your Recipe for Financial Success podcast was published on 17th December 2020. You can listen again by heading to our Episodes page, or on your favourite podcast player.

In this episode, Becky, Julie and Emma discuss their favourite Christmas budgeting tips. So, get your Christmas jumpers on, warm up that mulled wine and get yourself comfortable.

Episode Highlights

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The season for gifting and celebrating. It’s also a time that can lead most of us to over-indulging slightly and loosing track of our purse strings.

So, here are our top tips for keeping your money under control over the festive season.

Planning is key


The first thing you should do is set yourself a budget. Working out how much money you can comfortably spend without getting yourself in debt is the most important step.

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch far enough, have a look to see if there is anything you can sell on eBay or Facebook to make a little extra cash.

Who are you buying for? What are you buying?

The best next step would be writing a list of everyone you would like to buy for, their individual budget and an idea of what you want to get them. Do this before you start shopping!

The costs could easily spiral out of control if you find yourself winging it in the shops or online.

How often have you found yourself getting a little something extra for one of your children because you happen to see it in a shop and then have to get a little something extra for the others? It soon adds up.

Do you have to buy for everyone?

It can be difficult to buy for adults – we all tend to buy the things we want or need throughout the year. One great way to save you buying lots of unnecessary presents is to do a family Secret Santa for the adults in the family.

Set a budget then pick a name out of a hat and buy for that person only. Or skip the name in a hat thing and just buy a generic present which anyone in the game would enjoy such as a board game or some local food. On Christmas day you would just pick one from under the tree.

Save money and spread the cost

Saving on Christmas Gifts

Buying presents doesn’t have to get you in a sticky situation with your finances.

Make some gifts

Homemade gifts are really thoughtful and don’t have to cost the earth. How about baking some treats or going out and picking fruit to turn into flavoured vodka or gin?

Buy in the sales

Save yourself some money by buying gifts in the January sales. There are some gifts, such as perfumes or gift sets which can keep all year and will always cone in handy for someone on your list.

This doesn’t just work for gifts though, stock up on wrapping paper or cards to save yourself from having to buy them at full price closer to Christmas next year. You’re always going to need some!

Reuse and recycle

You can even get a little thrifty about saving some cash next year. Rather than buying a stack of gift tags, why not use the Christmas cards you receive to make gift tags for the following year?

Spreading the Cost

There are a number of ways that you can spread the cost of Christmas, if you plan ahead.

Buy throughout the year

Spread the cost by buying one or two presents every month. If you don’t have the space to store them, or don’t trust the recipient won’t buy it themselves before Christmas, why not just put away some money each month instead?

This still works as spreading the cost as you’ll have a pot of cash to use up when it is time to buy the presents. There are some bank accounts which allow you to set aside your money into a pot which could be very useful.

Delay the cost of a gift

Giving homemade gift vouchers could promise the recipient a trip to the cinema to see the next blockbuster or a massage one day. You are still promising a present but don’t have to pay for it right away, if you haven’t got the budget at the time.

They don’t have to cost you anything though, you could offer to wash someone’s car or cook them a lovely dinner. These can be cashed in throughout the year. A great idea for presents that children can give to their families.

Get cashback

Use cashback sites like TopCashback or Quidco when shopping online. You can save up your earnings throughout the wear and cash them out to spend on gifts or vouchers.

Don’t overspend at the supermarket

We have been guilty in the past of chucking a load of extra treats in the trolley when doing the big Christmas shop. There is just so much delicious food to tempt us!

Plan your supermarket shop to avoid overspending and over-indulging. Write a list of what you actually need and stick to it! Buy the right amount of food for those you are entertaining.

Don’t buy too much in advance if you can’t resist eating it! You may end up having to go back and buy more because you’ve eaten the first lot! Or, you could get chocolates and biscuits as gifts so you’ll then have double.

If you regularly shop at a certain shop, you are likely to get vouchers throughout the year. Save up those vouchers and use them for your big Christmas shop, maybe you can afford a couple of treats, after all!

If our podcast has left you hungry for more Christmas budgeting tips, download 100 Christmas Budget Beaters E-Book for free!

Get your teeth into more of our financial recipes! Check out our other podcasts on our episodes page. Don’t forget to also join in the conversation on our Facebook page too.