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Is it too early to mention Christmas? 

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Around this time of the year, shops start to slowly introduce festive items on their shelves and advertisements begin to mention the ‘C word’. With tinsel and yule logs beginning to come into our peripheral vision, you might start to feel a little overwhelmed.

Christmas this year falls within a challenging economic climate and it could be a stressful time financially for households. We’ve listed a few helpful tips so you and your family can have an enjoyable festive period without taking the financial aftermath into the new year.

Let’s get into it before the sleigh bells start!

Budget and bills

Before we move onto specific tips and tricks it’s important to set some time aside to think about your budget.

How many gifts will you need to buy this year? If you’re hosting on Christmas Day, how much will you spend on food, drinks and decorations? Have a look at your monthly income and set aside the money you need for important expenses and bills; then work with the disposable income you have leftover.

Paying for your bills, current expenses or debts is the priority, it’s absolutely not worth getting into arrears with your services and providers over one day!

According to the Bank of England a typical UK household will spend £740 more in December compared to the rest of the year due to buying gifts, decorations and food for Christmas.

Remove unnecessary gifts

If you’re part of the 73% who are distressed or anxious about how much you spend at Christmas, it’s time to be honest with your loved ones. There are plenty of ways friends and family can organise gift giving during the festive period to ensure the feelings of guilt or exclusion aren’t there. Some examples include:

  • Come to an agreement on the maximum spending for each person
  • Organise a secret Santa, this is great for keeping the element of mystery and surprise around gift giving
  • Agree to buy gifts just for the children in the family
  • Joint gifts, this works for both giving and receiving presents

Sharing is caring

If you’re the Monica Geller in the family and the hostess with the mostess you may feel overwhelmed with covering the cost of the infamous Christmas dinner, the bottles of Baileys and all the table trimmings.

However, just because you are hosting Christmas does not mean you have to pay for everything. Organise amongst your family and friends to spread the cost or create a budget where everyone pitches in.

Put your feet up and shop!

Online shopping is there for your convenience, so take advantage! Before you get started have a browse of any deals or voucher codes, and get yourself signed up to email alerts/newsletters (these usually include exclusive discounts).

Purchasing online is typically more cost effective, as you can identify the retailers with great deals more efficiently and you get to do Christmas shopping in the comfort of your own home. If you’re online shopping you’re less likely to be influenced by distractions; when we go into a shop, we usually come out with more than we planned!

Not to mention you’ll cut down on travel expenses.

Flying home for Christmas

If you’ve flown from the nest and have to travel back home for Christmas, you will need to consider your travel expenses within your festive budget.  If you can organise with your employer and your family/friends now on the dates you will be home, book your tickets as early as you can to avoid peak costs. Have a look around for early bird deals and offers.

If you’ve left your ticket buying late, don’t fret, there are last minute deals to take advantage of, but if you can, book sooner rather than later.

As daunting as festive finance can be, it’s never too late to get organised for Christmas (the 24th is cutting it close however!). If you’ve had to prioritise and continue to adjust your monthly budget because of bills, take these tips into consideration and have an honest chat with your family and friends, because it’s likely most of them are in the same situation and mind-set, especially this year.

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551