How to afford Christmas while still having fun

Christmas is a time to be merry. But with presents, and potentially a turkey, to buy, how can you afford everything without having to sit at home like Scrooge? We’ve got some top tips to help you budget for festive fun…

Festive masks

1. Make your own wrapping paper

Bought all your presents but don’t have anything to wrap them in? Don’t rush out and buy pricey paper – be creative. Newspaper tied with some red ribbon or twine is stylish and cheap, while plain brown parcel paper can be made festive with some glitter.

2. Start a taxi kitty with friends

It’s easy to forget about the practical things when you’re budgeting for Christmas, but festive nights out mean plenty of taxi journeys home. Get your friends to all pop a few pounds in a taxi kitty at the beginning of the night and let one person look after it, so you know you’ve got some cash to get home.

3. Embrace Secret Santa

Friends, family, colleagues, neighbours – buying presents for everyone and anyone is a sure-fire way to ensure you spend Christmas skint. Organising a Secret Santa in the office, among your siblings or within your group of friends (or all three!) can save you significant cash. Websites like Elfster mean they’re even easier to organise than ever, just remember to set a spending limit.

4. Enjoy nights out instead of gifts

If you’re struggling to balance all the extra Christmas costs, chances are your friends are too. Suggesting that you forget about gifts and instead enjoy a night out or meal together will probably make you very popular.

5. Use loyalty points to buy presents

If your bank account is looking a little bare and you’ve still got gifts to buy, why not use any loyalty points you’ve built up over the year? You might be able to buy that bottle of perfume for mum in Boots or a videogame for your brother from Tesco without having to spend a penny.

6. Throw a festive party

Throwing a party might not seem like a way to save money at first, but in reality having a party means you can see all your friends over the festive period, without going on multiple, costly, nights out. Plus the house will already be decorated. Get everyone to bring a bottle and some food to keep costs down further.

7. Share your wardrobe

With office parties, nights out with friends and family get-togethers, there are plenty of social events in the run-up to Christmas. Rather than buying a new outfit for each, why not co-ordinate with some friends and swap outfits or accessories for the various celebrations?

8. Bulk shop with friends

Throwing a festive get-together? Why not shop with friends who are hosting their own bash so you can take advantage of any bulk buy offers on drinks and snacks? The same works for gifts too. Pair up to maximise 3 for 2 deals and buy-one-get-one-free offers.

9. Arrange January get-togethers instead

There’s a lot of pressure to meet up with everyone you know in December, but why not save some of those social engagements until the New Year when you’re not quite as stretched financially? You could even arrange to exchange gifts then so you can buy them in the sales. As well as helping you spread costs, it’ll brighten up what is often a dull month.