Prepping Your Festive Budget: 6 Tips for Conscious Spending

Christmas is always exciting, but the winter holidays post-lockdown may be so thrilling that you feel an urge to splurge. While the season of giving is a great time to connect with loved ones and show them how much you care, your bank account may strain at the unexpected costs. It’s best to be realistic about your budget and nail down your exact expenses before you end up overspending.

  1. Spread out the costs

While it’s not always possible to spread Christmas costs throughout the year, it’s a good idea to start spending as early as you can so that charges don’t hit your account all at once. For example, shop autumn sales for gifts, or many large grocery stores will allow you to purchase your festive food delivery a month ahead of the actual day. Additionally, consider which times in your fiscal calendar make sense to purchase more expensive gifts or décor items without breaking the bank.

  1. Consider more than just gifts

Gift-giving season is unsurprisingly a big hit to many people’s bank accounts. However, when building a conscious budget for Christmas, it’s vital to consider more than just gifts. Extra food costs, new decorations, travel expenses to see family and festive outings all add up to a big bill. It’s important to enjoy yourself and prioritise the things that are most special to you by thinking ahead about the big picture of your finances.

  1. Keep track of what you’ve already spent

There’s nothing better than finding the perfect gift for your friend or snagging the last glittery wreath in the shop – until it proceeds to happen repeatedly. It’s more than okay to find joy in prepping for festivities, but your wallet will thank you for keeping track of what you have spent, need to spend and how the numbers compare to previous years.

  1. Communicate expectations with loved ones

No matter your budget, family and friends ought to know what to expect out of you at Christmas – and vice versa. Because this is many individuals’ first Christmas back with their families post-lockdown*, it can be tempting to throw budgets to the wind. However, it benefits both you and your loved ones to be honest about your situation rather than not fulfilling expectations or overspending to keep up. For example, if you make it clear that you are only participating in Secret Santa and DIY gift swaps, your loved ones likely won’t be let down by the fact that you couldn’t afford to make your home look exactly like the North Pole. Additionally, asking for other’s expectations for festivities can help you avoid overspending to fulfil unrealistic expectations.

  1. Make a list – and check it twice!

There’s little more dangerous to your expenses than pushing a trolley down a festive food aisle with nothing but your heart and hungry belly to guide you. Small costs at the checkout line and impulse purchases online can add up to a huge overstep in your budget if you’re not careful. Many financial advisers recommend taking the Father Christmas approach and writing a list of all your festive needs – from baubles to bubbly – so that you don’t stray too far.

  1. Waste not, want not

Before launching into a new shopping list, take stock of the items you already have, could make yourself or refashion into something new. Not only is this approach more environmentally friendly, but it is more likely to stave off a financial hangover post-Christmas.

Christmas should be a time for joy and togetherness, rather than financial stress. So, consider chatting to a financial adviser to ensure everything is in order ahead of this special time of year.

If you would like to speak with one of our financial planners, please don’t hesitate to get in touch over email at enquiries@gpfm.co.uk or call 01992500261.

This article is for information only and must not be considered as financial advice. We always recommend that you seek independent financial advice before making any financial decisions. Investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invested. 

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About gpfm  

gpfm are an independent financial planning company dedicated to the provision of personal, professional, and objective-driven advice for our clients. We have been awarded the Chartered Financial Planners title by the Chartered Insurance Institute for offering high quality, independent and informed advice that meets the needs of our clients.