Ways to avoid blowing your Christmas budget in a last minute rush

It’s easy to feel the pressure and spend more than you’ve budgeted for

As Christmas creeps closer, it’s easy to feel the pressure and spend more than you’ve budgeted for. Whether it’s a present for someone you’ve left off your list, a few more stocking fillers, or a dash to the shops for some just-in-case food items, those last minute spends can really add up. Overspending in a panic can mean the difference between feeling in control of your festive finances or stressed and overstretched.  

Here’s our advice for staying within your limits when the Christmas countdown is on. 

Pause, think and put it all on paper (or your phone) 

Christmas can be an overwhelming time, with TV adverts and social media making us feel like we haven’t done, bought or prepared enough. This year even more so, with lots of messages about making the celebrations bigger and better than ever after the pared back celebrations of last year. It can help to pause and note everything you have left to buy, including presents, food and any extras. Then take a bit of time to think about whether those last gifts and treats are really needed, and if they’ll actually make a difference to everyone’s enjoyment of the day. Perhaps there are some creative, cheaper ways to fill the gaps, or some lower-cost alternatives that will do the job.  

Once you’ve edited your list to the affordable essentials, be sure to take it with you when you go shopping, and be strict with yourself about sticking to it.   

Shop around before hitting the high street 

Instead of browsing the aisles or Christmas markets for inspiration, spend a bit of time looking online. There are lots of affordable gift lists full of ideas for thoughtful items for all ages. Searching by price limit, such as gifts under £20 or £5 or however much you have to go around, means you won’t be tempted to buy something that costs more than you’ve allowed.  

Before heading to any bigger shops, why not pop into your local charity shops, which can be like treasure chests for toys, trinkets and unusual finds for stocking fillers. Little ones won’t notice or mind that something’s second hand, and you won’t make as big a dent in your budget. 

If you do still need to go out for some high street shopping, pick a quieter time so you can think calmly instead of feeling rushed and panicked into impulse buys. 

Click and collect or bulk order to avoid pricey delivery charges 

Postage or delivery charges can add a significant chunk to the cost of a food shop or a present. Use click and collect services to avoid your total creeping up, with the added bonus of less temptation to buy more in store. 

Some shops offer free delivery over a certain amount, so you could factor this into your last-minute gift list by getting everyone the same type of gift. This works well for books, nice toiletries, homewares or outdoorsy items. 

Make the most of food, glorious food 

Treats and hearty food are a huge part of Christmas. Use that to your advantage, by making a small gift like a book or a mug feel more thoughtful with the addition of a favourite chocolate bar or homemade cookies.  

As for groceries, lots of us buy a lot more than we need for the Christmas season, especially in that last run up to Christmas day. Remember that the shops are only closed for a day or two, so there’s no need to overbuy and end up with food that goes to waste.   

However thrifty you are, there’s no doubt that Christmas comes with extra expense. If you need help with the extra costs this year, talk to us about our fair affordable loans that can ease the pressure with an amount that suits you.  

Published by
Team BCU
Posted on
30 November 2021