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How much should I spend at Christmas?

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but 2020 has been a strange period. Whether you’ve been on furlough, had Covid-19 yourself or lost family and friends to the terrible virus, you might be starting to feel the stresses that come with Christmas and all the planning, present buying and work commitments.

While we can’t promise Christmas will feel normal this year, we can try to help with the spending side of things. It can be all too easy to overspend in the run up to Christmas. Sometimes it’s because we shop over a long period and forget what we’ve already bought, or maybe it’s because we panic buy at the last minute and don’t spend our funds wisely. But whatever it is, not knowing how much to spend is often the forerunner for overspending.

How much should you spend at Christmas?

There’s no hard and fast rule to apply to your finances when it comes to feeling festive. A budget that might work for one person, could be surprising for another. That’s why budgets have to be individual and specific to your financial circumstances and your ability to manage your money.

Monthly Savings

If you can, you should try to save up a little money each month throughout the year. This means that when the Christmas shopping starts, you will already have a small pocket of funds to use. This reduces the immediate impact on your monthly budget and helps spread the cost of Christmas into more manageable chunks.

If you can save £30 per month from January to November, you’ll have £330 in your bank to spend at Christmas (or whatever you choose to spend it on!). You might need to look at your yearly expenditure and workout where you can make some savings, or you might just need to be strict with yourself and reduce your invisible spending so that you can save more towards Christmas. Obviously, the more you save, the more you’ll have to spend. But try to be realistic and don’t put yourself in financial jeopardy for 11 months of the year, just so you can go all-out in the twelfth month.

What Christmas is really about

Ultimately though, how much you spend at Christmas comes down to how you like to spend your Christmas. If it’s showering your kids with presents, then you’ll probably need a larger cash fund, however it’s worth remembering that Christmas is about more than just gifts. Often, Christmas is about spending time with the family that you’ve missed out on seeing throughout the year.

How to reduce your Christmas Expenditure

Of course, there are ways to reduce your Christmas spending if you find that year after year you go way over budget. Our quick tips for Christmas are:

Christmas is a time for joy

2020 has been a tough year for many people. Everyone across the UK has been affected by the pandemic in some way. When you’re celebrating this year, think about leaving the tough times behind and be hopeful for a brighter future. While Covid-19 might not be going away any time soon, we can still be positive and look forward to a time when, as a nation, we are Covid-free.

If you can’t see all of your relatives this year, try to get in touch some way. Maybe it’s an online family chat or even a little newsletter-style Christmas card with updates of things you and your family have accomplished this year – even if it’s just completing the entire film range on Netflix.

Plan ahead, budget wisely and, most importantly, enjoy this Christmas!

More information

A guide to managing your money: The Invisible Spending

A guide to managing your money: Budgeting

A guide to managing your money: Saving

For more great money management hacks and sustainable borrowing information, check out our Info Hub.