Start Planning for the Cost of Christmas

How Much Does The Average Person Spend At Christmas?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. 

It also happens to be the most expensive time of the year. When it comes to Christmas, all that holly-jolly merriment comes at a price. So, how much does Christmas actually cost us?

Between the work parties, the festive food, and the gifts, our bank balance can really feel the stretch around Christmas time. 

How can we manage our finances to make Christmas more comfortable? 

A pile of Christmas presents wrapped in red, green and gold wrapping paper sit underneath a Christmas tree. There are two feet, dressed in grey socks with red tips, standing in front of the gifts.


How much does the average Christmas cost?

According to the Bank of England, most people spend on average an extra £500 a month around Christmas. And people are planning to spend an extra £800 for Christmas 2019! 

If you haven’t thought about where that extra money is going to come from, you may end up feeling the pinch of Christmas way into the new year. 

So, make sure you get merry with your money management! 

With Christmas around the corner there’s still time to get your finances in order and put plans in place to stop you from overspending. 

Create a budget

Having a budget is truly the only way to get through the festive season. 

It doesn’t matter if you start your Christmas budget in January or December, just make sure you have a plan in place. Know where that extra money is coming from, see where you might be able to cut back. 

When creating your budget you need to consider the following areas and how much you’re willing to put towards each section:

  • Gifts
  • Food
  • Travelling costs 
  • Decorations
  • Christmas parties and socials
  • New party outfit 
  • New Year’s Eve 
  • Boxing Day Sales

Some will be more of a priority – travelling home for Christmas may come at an unavoidable cost. But if you plan ahead and book advance tickets, you can save money and have more of your November salary to put towards the fun costs. AKA Christmas drinks. 

An ice bucket holds two champagne glasses and a bottle of champagne. Blurred Christmas lights are lit in the background.


Do not rely on your last pay-cheque

Chances are you’ll get your November salary and then your December salary brought forward to before Christmas day. 

Try to spread your purchases across these two paydays, rather than pay for everything in one go. The further you can spread the costs, the easier it will be to manage. Start Christmas in July if you have to. 

Even if you’re the most ‘bah humbug’ person going, going into debt on Christmas Eve because you’ve left it all to the last minute really isn’t worth it. 

Don’t use credit cards or payday loans to cover the costs

It doesn’t count because it’s Christmas, right? Wrong. 

It may seem harmless putting the third round of mulled wines for the office on your credit card, but over the festive season these costs really add up.

According to MoneySuperMarket research, the average Londoner came into 2019 with £955 of post-Christmas credit card debt. With around 37% of Britons putting all their gifts on credit. 

As of September 2019, the average credit card purchase APR increased to 24.7%. So if you’re only making the minimum payments, paying off your credit card can become very challenging. 

Think twice before you use your credit card to play Santa. 

A variety of red and brown gift bags.


Start planning for next year

You’ll have noticed that most of the above points can be measured up to planning in advance. 

The sooner you plan, the earlier you can start budgeting and purchasing, the less of an impact Christmas will have on your quality of life. You won’t need to find an additional £800 out of an already spoken-for paycheque. 

So why not start planning next year now? 

Whether you start putting money aside on a monthly basis to spend nearer to Christmas, or you purchase the majority of gifts in the Boxing day sales ahead of next year, the earlier you commit the less it will cost you over time. 

Ultimately, good financial wellbeing is the best gift you can give yourself. 

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