It’s the time of the year for frenzied buying. It all kicks off with that Black Friday, into those Christmas sales promotions and the ingrained perception that we need to spend a shit load of money on EVERYONE.
People find themselves in debt thanks to their Christmas spending. And for what? The average Brit spends £740 extra during Christmas – on everything from presents to Christmas food.
And on top of that, 6 in 10 Brits (i.e; the majority) get rid of or regift many Christmas presents.
Put simply, this Christmas shopping frenzy is a massive waste of money. And is mostly a culturally ingrained thing that we now think we have to do.
But you can actually save money at Christmas by changing your perception slightly.
You can also do your bit to avoid consuming loads of pointless products and gluttonous food.
Check out these tips:
1. Spoiling the kids isn’t absolutely necessary
Did you know that the national average in the UK for Christmas presents is 10 per child. And that’s just from parents. You can easily double or quadruple that with gifts from extended family and friends.
People spend hundreds of pounds per child. And with many parents shelling out big money even when they don’t have it, spoiling the kids is one of those things that we assume is what we have to do.
In the 1950’s, children received on average 2 gifts in total. This has obviously increased as the availability and affordability of products has grown.
But YOU DON’T NEED to spend a fortune on gifts for kids at Christmas. One main present and a couple of bonus presents is more than enough.
2. Don’t buy gifts for everyone
A gift for random uncle you see once a year? Buying presents for your other halfs moody niece? Honestly, don’t bother.
Buy gifts for your nearest and dearest, and those who you think would truly appreciate it.
You cab save an absolute fortune at Christmas if you don’t buy presents for every random person in your life.
3. Manage your festive food better
We all love a bit of festive food, right? But tons of food is thrown away every Christmas, the equivalent of four million Christmas dinners! Crazy right? And so wasteful, both in terms of money spent and produce.
If you want to save money at Christmas, take a look at your food shopping and work out what you really expect to eat. Buy your fresh stuff closer to the big day, or freeze things like brussels sprouts and roast potatoes in advance.
Don’t buy enough cheese to feed an army, or stockpile milk and bread like the shops will never open again. They’re only closed for one day anyways.
4. Tell people you don’t want presents
We all have someone who buys us a load of presents that we don’t really want or need. The same aunt or uncle who loads us up on useless tat that we put straight in the charity shop on Boxing Day.
Save their money this Christmas, and the tons of waste, by telling people if you don’t want presents. Mention that you’re trying to cut down on stuff that you own, or you’re trying to be more eco-conscious (which you are, right?). Or if they absolutely must buy you presents, tell them what to get you.
5. Changing our perception of Christmas
One of the persistent problems is that we are subjected to marketing around Christmas constantly, so we think that spending a fortune on crap is key to our enjoyment of the festive season. What’s the best thing about Christmas? Most people would say it’s the family time, or enjoying a festive party or the food.
Yes, presents are part of it. But the excessive gift giving has gone from a pleasant way to show people you care to a costly, stressful and wasteful element of the season.
We don’t need to buy presents for everyone we know. And we don’t need to spend a fortune on Christmas, buying the kids everything they want.
Try our suggestions below to help you save money this Christmas.
How to save money this Christmas
- Make a plan of who you’re going to buy presents for, and eliminate the ones that you *don’t really need* to buy anything for. Be harsh here, and let them know that you’re reducing the amount you want to spend or consume this Christmas.
2. For your own partner or family, set a limit and stick to it. If you have kids, set a reasonable amount per child and make sure that you stay within this limit. Instead of buying excessive and expensive gifts, buy things that are useful or have longevity.
3. Use charity shops for your present shopping, especially if you’re buying gifts for extended family or friends. This way you’re helping the community and also avoiding consumption of excessive products.
4. Save money on Christmas food by planning your festive meals and avoiding buying extra indulgent snacks. If you only have 6 people over for Christmas, work out how much is enough with roast veg and meat and err on the side of less. Chances are you will still have plenty.
5. Go vegetarian! There are lots of great non-meat based alternatives that are much cheaper than turkey or duck.
6. Aim for a zero waste or less waste Christmas… Minimise wrapping paper, especially non-recycleable paper such as foil wrapping.