Last Updated on November 15, 2022 by Melissa S.
You know those crazy people on Facebook who, in mid February start planning for Christmas and sharing posts of how many weeks it is until the big day? I’m not one of them, don’t worry.
In fact, I’m the sort of person who still recoils in horror when shops are all decked out by October 1st. Sell the gift sets by all means, but if you ask me, we don’t need tinsel in our faces and Mariah on repeat until December 1st. (Then I’m all for it, but not a second before.)
However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t given Christmas a second thought. In my old, full time job, I didn’t really do any planning for Christmas as the money was always there in my November paypacket to cover the expenses.
I learnt the hard way 3 years ago, part time and 25k a year lighter, that suddenly I didn’t have hundreds of pounds spare each month to cover it. So I did what many other people do – stuck the lot on my credit card and tried to forget about it.
I dread to think how much interest that Christmas has cost me, but luckily I was soon able to find another way. And it worked so well, that I’ve turned it into a toolkit that anyone can use.
Want to take the stress out of Christmas for good?
Check out the Ultimate Guide To A Debt Free Christmas Toolkit
The Ultimate Guide to A Debt Free Christmas
In the toolkit, I make planning for Christmas a breeze. It includes a spreadsheet to allow you to plan out all your Christmas expenses well in advance, as well as savings challenge printables, a 12 month action plan and a 37 page ebook outlining my entire process.
However, in this post I’m going to share some of my top tips from the Toolkit to prepare for Christmas in advance without turning into a crazy person who has their house decorated by October.
Tip number 1: Save for Christmas each and every month
It’s so tempting to forget all about Christmas in January, especially if you’re still faced with paying off the last lost of festive spending. Then many of us turn our focus to summer holidays / vacations, and before we know it, it’s Halloween and we have approximately two more months’ paydays and nothing prepared for Christmas.
Planning for Christmas by saving each and every month can really take the financial strain off the later months of the year. However, I know it can be difficult not only to remember to save the money, but to find it in your budget in the first place.
This is where Plum has been a big help for me. For those who don’t know, Plum is an automated money management app that can be installed onto your Android or iOS phone. It is safe to use and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), but if you wish to find out more about how it works you can visit the FAQ here.
I initially signed up to Plum in April (2017) and it managed to set aside over £350 by the end of November without me even noticing! Considering I only work 3 days a week I think this is a fantastic amount.
Update October 2022: Plum has now put away over £4000 for me! You can read more about Plum in detail here
Tip 2: Take Advantage of Black Friday
Planning for Christmas has definitely got easier since the onslaught of Black Friday here in the UK. It makes sense to know in advance what you might want to buy as Christmas gifts so you can take advantage of any suitable offers.
This is not the same as buying something you don’t need (or your gift recipient won’t want) just because it’s on sale. Many shops have storewide offers, such as 30% off all giftsets, meaning you have a much wider choice of what to buy. If there’s no offers on what you need, then you haven’t lost anything by checking.
I have a more detailed post on my Black Friday shopping strategy here.
If you want some help getting organised planning for Christmas, you can download my completely free Christmas planner by filling in the form on this page.
Get your copy of my Debt Free Christmas planner filled with printable templates to help you organise and save money this Christmas. It’s also completely FREE! Fill in the form on this page or find out more here.
Tip 3: Get your Christmas Food shop organised
Planning for Christmas food might not be something you want to think about earlier on in the year, but if you want to get organised and spread the cost, by October it would be a good idea to write a list. My Free Christmas planner has a template for this.
Then in the 10-12 weeks before Christmas, you could pick up a few non perishable items along with your normal grocery shop to spread the cost. For example, alcohol, tins of sweets, frozen foods – anything that is not in danger of expiring. Although, you might have to hide it from your family!
If you want more details on how I budget and plan for Christmas food shopping, you can check out this post.
Tip 4: Find ways to cut back on what you spend at Christmas
Before you start yelling Scrooge at me, I don’t mean purging the kid’s presents or cutting back on the things you actually use and enjoy about Christmas. However, many of us fall into a routine where we buy things at Christmas that end up being forgotten or wasted.
Have you ever bought a cute Christmas ornament and then remembered you already have the same one when you unpack the decorations? Or maybe you feel you *have to* buy new a Christmas outfit when you still have a wardrobe full of perfectly good party clothes.
When trying to cut my Christmas budget, I identifed six things to cut back or stop buying at Christmas that you can read in this post.
Tip 5: Read up on Money Saving Christmas tips in Advance
There are literally so many “little” ways to save money that I put together a compilation of my favourite money saving Christmas tips from UK Bloggers. By reading this well in advance, you can ensure the tips that work for you have plenty of time to be implemented.
About the Author
Melissa is a working parent who left behind a senior management salary for a better work/life balance. Following her own money saving and money making strategies she was able to clear debt and live a life she loves. Blogging, selling digital products on Etsy and selling preloved items on eBay are her favourite side hustles. Read her story here.
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If you want more ways to get organised for Christmas, Becca Blogs it Out has some great tips here.
Want more ways to save money for Christmas? Hayley from Miss Manypennies has it covered.