Christmas is predictable

Christmas is an expensive time of year. Our children still believe in Santa, so we end up buying a small mountain of presents to generate the wow-factor when they come downstairs on Christmas Day. This year the cost of those presents was around £400 per child. Ouch.

Twenty-three other people received gifts from us this year, ranging from the family Secret Santa to chocolates for teachers. The average price was just under £25, meaning another £560 disappeared from our accounts.

We also have expensive Christmas traditions, including creating a Christmas Eve box for our children, visiting local Christmas fayres, buying seasonal arts and craft supplies, stocking up the fridge with fancy food, and so on. It adds up quickly.

Fortunately, Christmas is predictable. It’s always at the same time of year and the expenses are usually similar year-on-year.

I use a spreadsheet to track our spending and retain old copies so I can remember who we buy presents for and what we normally spend. Based on that information, we save £105 every month into a dedicated account, giving us £1,260 to spend when we reach December. As a result, Christmas is never a complete shock to our finances.

I’ve been using this system for years now and it works great. We don’t have a gloomy, penniless January because we’ve planned ahead. If you don’t have a similar system in place, now is the perfect time to start a regular savings plan.

I’d love to spend less at this time of year, so if you have any tips for reducing the cost of Christmas, please let me know in the comments.

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