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The Twelve Steps of a Cheap Christmas

A family baking to prepare for Christmas.

We all want to have a good time at Christmas and worrying about money during the festive holiday can be a problem for many of us. It’s not uncommon for people to overspend, and for some of us, we even end up in debt from Christmas.

If you’re worried about Christmas debts, we may be able to help. A Debt Management Plan is a way to take several debts and consolidate them into one affordable, monthly payment.

Meanwhile, here are 12 suggestions for a cheaper Christmas!

Number one:

Agree on a “present plan” or budget with family and friends

Secret Santa can be a great way to keep costs down. This way everyone gets a present, but no one has to buy more than one gift or spend a fortune. To make this a success, set a maximum and minimum spend so it feels fair for everyone.

Number two:

Forget about stocking fillers

Stocking fillers can be fun but often it’s lots of small things that we don’t really need or want. Consider if it’s worth it. It’s always worth bringing it up with your loved ones, everyone might be on the same page about keeping it small this year.

If there’s no way to avoid stockings, think about some cheap gift ideas, such as:

Chocolate coins


Bags of popcorn

Bath bombs or face masks


Pens and stationery

These ideas are mostly for kids but check out this article that has stocking filler ideas for the whole family.

Number three:

Buy cheaper alternatives

It can be tempting at Christmas to treat yourself to the most expensive mince pies or the finest Yorkshire Puddings. But often these items aren’t better, and the cheaper versions taste the same. Supermarkets can charge more for their “better quality” range, but their value range may be just as good.

Don’t be fooled by the packaging, check the ingredients, and see what you’re really paying extra for!

Number four:

Start saving straight away!

It might seem a bit over the top to start saving for Christmas in January but putting aside just a small amount like £10 each month could make Christmas a lot easier. Having an extra £120 to work with could mean you’re less stressed and you can afford to pay a little bit more this year.

Consider cutting back in the months up to Christmas and putting a little extra money aside. Two months without Netflix or your office afternoon coffee could make a bigger impact than you’d imagine.

Number five:

Plan realistically

It’s fun to fantasise about a lavish Christmas where you can afford to buy everyone you love expensive gifts but unfortunately, that’s just not possible for most of us.

Work out how much you can realistically spend and then break that up into money for gifts, food, activities, and decorations. Once you know how much you can spend, you can start enjoying the festive period.

Number six:

Switch banks

Some banks offer up to £150 to switch. Often these banks will do all the hard work for you, so you just get to sit back, relax, and enjoy a little extra cash. Just make sure you do your research!

Number seven:

Shop around

Don’t just go to the first shop you see. The best thing to do is pick what you want to buy and then check around to see where sells it cheapest. Often places will offer discounts or flash sales so stay on the ball to get the best deals.

Black Friday is the last Friday of November every year and can be a great time to grab some cheap Christmas gifts. Our advice? Buy everything online and avoid the in-person crowds!

Number eight:

Learn the benefits of re-gifting

Didn’t love a Christmas gift you got last year? Why not save it and gift it to someone who will appreciate it more. Re-gifting can be a great way to save money and recycle.

You might be worried about offending the person who gave it to you. But it’s better it goes to someone who will truly enjoy it than it sits on your shelf getting dusty.

Number nine:

Discover outlet stores

Many of your favourite shops could have an outlet that you didn’t know about – where they sell their old season items for cheap or discounted prices.

For example, did you know B&Q, Office, and Sports Direct all have discount outlets?

Number ten:

Book travel well in advance

Train and coach prices are becoming more and more expensive, so it’s more important than ever to book well in advance.

Consider getting a railcard if there’s one available to you. Often the price of a railcard can be made back in as little as one or two journeys! If you’re a student, you may even be able to get a railcard for free.

Number eleven:

Think arts and crafts

If you’re broke, decorating might seem like the least of your worries. Why spend money on tinsel and fairy lights when you could put more into your food budget? But you can have both! Decorating for Christmas can be super cheap if you make the decorations yourself.

Check out this article on how to make your very own Christmas wreath. Fun for you or as a family or friends group activity.

Number twelve:

Put on a jumper

This might sound arbitrary, but energy and heating bills are expensive! And one way to save money during winter is to don a big woolly jumper and socks to avoid paying extortionate bills.

If you’re after a cheap Christmas jumper, check out the low-price stores like Primark and Matalan. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a jumper that you’ll only wear once a year!

Top tip:

Get a draught excluder, they can help keep in heat and keep it nice and toasty inside.

Looking for debt advice?

Even with our twelve steps, it’s not always easy to keep within budget and many of us will overspend this Christmas.

If you’re dealing with credit card debt, store card debt, or any other kind of non-priority debts, we may be able to help.

A Debt Management Plan (DMP) is a debt solution that could help you to pay off your debts in an affordable and manageable way. If you have more than two unsecured creditors and have more than £1,500 in debt, you could be eligible for a DMP.

If you’re looking for debt advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Fill in our online application today.

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