10 steps to a debt free Christmas

It happens every single year so why don’t we account for it? Why does it take us by surprise every year how expensive it is and how much is going on? That’s right I am talking about Christmas.

After doing some research, the facts and figures are frankly terrifying, and we should all be trying to stop this vicious cycle wherever possible. We all love to give and celebrate with family and friends, but I know that no one would want to see you in financial difficulties at their expense.

Here are some of the figures I have learned (taken from http://www.nationaldebtadvice.org.uk

  • In the month leading up to Christmas alone we borrowed £1.5 billion on credit cards and loans in the UK
  • Six out of ten of us make sacrifices at Christmas to pay for presents
  • Over a third of us borrow money to pay for Christmas gifts
  • One in five of us borrow money to pay for festive food
  • One in twenty will skip paying an essential bill at Christmas because they can’t afford to pay it
  • 75% of the borrowing above is on credit cards and loans

I want to keep this one as brief as I can so you get the facts and go and implement. So no more beating around the bush. Here are your 10 steps to a debt free Christmas.

1. Make allowances in your monthly budget to save ahead for Christmas.

Ok so this may not be an immediate help, but it is the one that will help you long term. Make a budget, assess your income and your expenses, and decide how much you can realistically set aside each month for Christmas. It is up to you if you put a smaller amount aside for 6 months and a larger amount for the other 6 months, you have to do what works for you but by saving throughout the year there are no spikes in expenditure, and you can relax and enjoy the festivities.

2. Decide on a budget

This is heavily linked to step 1. If you have done this for a year, your total savings pot will be your budget this year. If you are part way through the year you need to set that budget accordingly. However, don’t stop there, break down that budget. How much is for gifts, food, parties, family days out etc. From there you can break it down even more to determine what gift budget is per head etc.

3. Shop online

This removes temptation to shop for other things. When shopping online you are more likely to stick to your list idea as you will go hunting for a specific item and stick to your budget. For instance, if you have a £10 limit you aren’t going to head to Harrods online just to browse. Not to mention it will save money on fuel and things like eating out etc.

4. Bargain Hunt

Keep an eye out for special deals coming up on websites. Although be careful, shops can inflate some prices slightly to then make it look like the Black Friday deal is better than it really is. Use your common sense here. Also check out places like eBay and Facebook Marketplace for some gifts that are still in new condition but not from a traditional shop. If you start your shopping earlier, it is amazing the deals you can pick up with a bit time on your side.

5. Save your loyalty points

If you have any card that gives you loyalty points, consider saving them up and using them all at Christmas. Each year I save up nectar points to use on the Christmas food shop and use my Tesco Clubcard for summer holiday day trips. Boots Advantage points are great for this as have lots of Christmas gift ideas too.

6. Don’t shop big brands

Of course, this can apply to anything, but I want to talk about the food shop specifically. It really is just one day and let’s face it, we have usually stuffed ourselves with snacks all day long that by the time it gets to the main meal, we end up not eating loads, we forget about desert and all live for the cold snack later in the evening anyway. I can guarantee no one will notice if you didn’t buy the premium version of everything. It is often all made in the same place anyway with a different label plonked on. You will find you can get a lot more for your money by shopping smart when it comes to food.

7. Re-gifting

Very controversial I know. However, if you have an item that has never been used in your home, what good is it doing in your home if you have no intention of ever using it? It is just taking up valuable space in your home and making you feel guilty every time you look at it as you haven’t used it. Why not re-gift it to someone who would use the item, or if there is no one you can think of, why not sell it, and then use the funds to buy a gift instead. 

8. Home-made

Personally, I am a big crafter, so this is always my go to solution on more budget friendly Christmases. When my first child was born, we had no money so made everyone candles and they went down so well I ended up making a side hustle out of it to get me through my maternity leave. Of course, you may not be a massive crafter but Pinterest has some incredible ideas all year round. They don’t need to be difficult or intricate to be effective. Everyone loves something that money can’t buy and something with a little extra thought thrown in.

9. Experience gifts

This is a great tip for when there is no more budget left and if this is your first year trying to go through Christmas debt free without saving prior to the month before. Why not make a card or poster or video etc explaining a fantastic trip you will take? It could be a day trip, a meal, or perhaps something you know will mean the world to them without costing you a penny. 

10. Don’t use money you don’t have

Finally, do not be tempted to reach for the credit card. It may be hard this first time but if you have to pay off Christmas in the first half of next year, you are only going to end up in the same position next Christmas as you won’t have had the available funds to save enough again. Bite the bullet this year, make the decision to have a Christmas with what you have and make the commitment to put aside enough each month ready for next Christmas where you can spoil the ones you love again in the way you want to. Remember your friends and family will still love you on 26th December, big gift or not.

So, there you have it, 10 steps to a debt free Christmas. If you would like some help with your budgets in general, please go check out my services page to see how I can help you. 

If you are feeling completely overwhelmed by debt and finding it difficult to make your repayments, please seek help. There are so many solutions out there that can help you. I have linked a couple of useful sites below:




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