The Christmas adverts are here, there’s a chill in the air and we can almost smell the mulled wine and mince pies. And yes, that is the first Christmas party e-invite in your inbox. Whilst we can’t wait to break out our sparkly dresses, drink fizz and say yes to ALL of the Christmas shenanigans, we can’t help but wonder; how much is this all going to cost?
But fear not, we’ve teamed up with Instagram’s favourite money saving experts to bring you the ultimate party season survival guide. From Christmas presents for the kids to how to save money on those ever-more-expensive train tickets, this budgeting guide will help you become the most prepared and the most under-budget guest this party season.
Christmas is all about giving unique and personalised gifts that you definitely haven’t panic-bought on Christmas Eve (thank you, Next Day Delivery).
Money blogger Laura, who runs the popular budgeting Instagram account @thriftylondoner recommends: “Go by the rule of ‘something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.’ It helps to keep you on budget and stops your home from becoming cluttered! If that’s not applicable to your family situation, try to start shopping as early as possible, and make the most of any discounts when you can.”
When it comes to office gifting, Laura suggests: “If it’s not already been decided, make yourself the organiser of this year’s office Secret Santa. Suggest a £5 spending limit, and ask your colleagues to get creative!”
December is a huge month for travel, with many families making journeys to every corner of the country to celebrate. However, with train tickets prices 4.8% higher in 2022 than 2021 and petrol prices soaring, it’s no surprise that travel is taking a huge bite out of our Christmas budgets.
Money blogger Laura AKA @lau_savvy_saving_mum explains: “Whilst there is no specific time or day that is cheaper to buy tickets across the board, generally speaking, the further in advance you purchase your tickets the more affordable they are. Cheap train tickets are usually released by train operators around 12 weeks in advance.”
3. Going Out
December is party season for a reason, with everyone wanting to celebrate and bask in the festive season. However, attending events, keeping the kids entertained in the school break and even organising your own Christmas party can be extremely costly.
When hosting your own events, Laura of @thriftylondoner suggests: “Potluck dinners are brilliant. Invite your friends or family around and ask them to bring a dish (or a bottle). It shares the cost and is a fun way to try new foods.”
Need to keep the kids occupied during Christmas break? Francesca (@themoneyfox) suggests: “It’s always worth looking at your local Facebook groups or pages and seeing what is being offered locally as there are usually a lot of cheap activities such as nativities, festivals and fairs.”
Christmas fashion is all about sparkle, jewel tones and the ugliest jumpers you’ve ever seen. With every event requiring a slightly different style, finding outfits that fit every dress code can start to become very expensive.
Megan Watkins, our resident Head Stylist, suggests: “When trying to save on party outfits, there are a couple tried and true options to keep you on budget:
- Rent – renting outfits on platforms like Hurr or By Rotation will keep you looking fashionable on a budget, and you can even make your money back by listing your own clothes.
- Tailor – your local tailor may offer alteration services from as little as £8, giving new life to your outdated or ill-fitting outfits.
- Share – setting up a swapping system with your stylish mates is basically like getting another wardrobe for free!”
5. Everything Else
Budgeting is all about cutting costs whilst not cutting back on the fun.
When asked for her top piece of budgeting advice, Laura AKA @thriftylondoner recommends: “Take a look at your bank statements from last year and see how much you spent on Christmas. This gives you a realistic idea of the true cost, and a starting point for your budget. Once you have a figure in mind, start to set money aside monthly into either a separate bank account or space/pot in your account, and tell yourself that once it’s gone, it’s gone!”