Top tips for managing your money during the festive season

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Kirsty Kerr

December 11, 2023

3 mins read

Bank account feeling a little light after Black Friday? Wondering how you’ll cover the extra costs of Christmas? Try our top tips to help you manage your money this festive season.

1. Set a budget

It seems obvious, but the real trick is setting a budget you can actually stick to. To do that, you need to be realistic about how much you have to spend. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the festive spirit and set yourself a generous budget. But if it’s too generous, you might find yourself struggling to recover from it in the new year.

2. Growing family? Try a new tradition

As family members get older, get married and start having children, the amount of people around the dinner table grows – which often means the amount of presents you need to buy grows too. 

If you’re struggling to keep up with the costs of a never-ending list, why not suggest doing things a little differently? 

Secret Santa is a great way to keep the costs down but still make sure everyone gets a gift they love. You could even put a twist on it; search for 'Christmas gift swap games'. There are loads of great ideas to choose from which could become a fun new tradition for years to come.

3. Beware of borrowing

Almost a quarter of Brits who celebrate Christmas rely on buy now, pay later schemes or credit cards to fund it. So it’s fair to say borrowing is big around Christmas time. 

It might seem like a quick and easy solution, but if you’re borrowing money that you can’t actually afford to pay back, you could fall into trouble. 

Interest rates have only gone up this year – meaning the amount of interest you’ll pay on any debt will likely go up too. So you might end up paying back a lot more than you borrowed in the first place.

Try to completely avoid borrowing if you can. If you do decide to borrow, read the T&Cs (and the small print!) and make sure you have a clear and realistic plan for how and when you’ll pay it back. And watch out for things like payday loans – which usually have particularly high rates.

4. Be shop-savvy

Around this time of year, there are discounts everywhere. It can feel like everyone has the ‘best price’ for the item you’re shopping for. But there are lots of different ways you can make sure you’re actually getting the best price possible for your gifts.

Use comparison sites like Idealo or Google Shopping to help you find the cheapest deal for a particular item. Sometimes even a quick Google search for the retailor + ‘discount’ could pull up a code for you to use to save some pennies. And it’s also worth checking out which discounts might be available to you through your workplace benefits. Lots of employers partner with sites that give employees money off restaurants, tech, clothes and toys and more.

5. Getting paid early? Don’t spend it all at once…

Some people get paid early in December, which, at first glance, could really help to fund the Christmas period. If this is happening for you – stop. Think before you spend.

It may seem like a welcome relief at the time, but keep in mind that December’s pay may also need to fund a week or so more than usual. You’re getting paid early but you’re not necessarily getting paid more. So make sure you’ll have enough left over to get you through to next payday

6. Get creative!

Finally, with new products being marketed to you from all angles, the festive period can often feel overwhelming and expensive. But don’t feel pressured to spend a lot of money on gifts. Most people would be just as happy to receive a personal gift that cost you little or nothing. 

Get crafty and make something by hand – create a game, fill a photo album with memories or mementos, or bake some Christmas treats. You could even gift your time – vouchers for free babysitting or dog walking, or an offer to cook dinner on a future day could go a long way.

The information here is based on our understanding in December 2023 and shouldn't be taken as financial advice.

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