How to spend less this Christmas without losing the cheer


Read the new Christmas musical comedy starring Ryan Reynolds as a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge, the last screen version of Charles Dickens’ classic. A Christmas carol.

The story has become a festive cautionary tale: no one wants to be seen as a wretch at Christmas even when they are busy with how much the fairy lights are costing them in electricity come January.

It’s tempting to feed our inner Scrooge this Christmas.

Research from credit unions shows that rampant inflation – evident in our energy bills and grocery savings – will knock an average €3,000 off our spending power this year.

It’s no wonder that six out of 10 people say they will have less money to extend this holiday season.

Colette Devey, consumer products and retail leader at EY Ireland, said: “Consumers are likely to spend less overall on gifts this year.”

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But there are ways to ensure that Christmas 2022 doesn’t break the bank and create a financial hangover in the new year – without being branded a Scrooge. Here’s how:


1 Write a list

Imitate Santa and write to the person you want to give a gift to.

Agree on spending limits on gifts with family and friends and set an upper limit for each person on your list. If your budget doesn’t stretch to your list, look at where you can cut back. Once you have made a purchase, make a note about the price on the note application on your phone.


2 Set a budget

Calculate how much Christmas will cost you this year. Set a budget for how much you’ll spend on nights out with friends (keep in mind that restaurant, bar and taxi prices have gone up), on day trips with kids, on cards, stamps and wrapping paper, and on groceries extra

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3 Avoid debt

Unlike Santa, you don’t have to slip into the red at Christmas. Your family and friends know that the rising cost of living means that there is less money to go around and you would rather not go into debt to pay for the gifts.

Money coach Kel Galavan, who documented how his family saved from crushing debt to save €27,000 during a “no-spend year” on his Instagram account @mrssmartmoneyhq, says: “I’ve spent a lot of time this year giving people permission not to. blow the credit card.”

It’s no wonder that six out of 10 people say they will have less money to extend this holiday season up

If you have no choice but to go into debt, do it in a planned way by getting a loan from your credit union or bank instead of looking for the credit card or BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) application at a shop

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If you don’t have the money in the new year to pay off your credit card bill in full, you’ll pay an annual percentage rate (APR) of between 13.8pc and 26.6pc, depending on your lender.

4 Start a new tradition

If Kris Kindle is not a tradition in your family, be brave enough to suggest you start reading this year. Chances are they’ll be thankful you brought it up – some 54pc of adults want to get a Kindle this year because it’s less expensive, according to a PayPal survey.

And by choosing one family member to buy a decent gift for instead of buying small gifts for everyone, the recipient is more likely to get a high-quality gift.


It is important to find a way to explain to children that even Santa has limits. Stock image


5 Manage expectations about Santa

Explaining financial constraints to children – especially younger children – is difficult, but there are ways around it.

“If they have their heart set on something, say ‘Santa is a busy guy so give him a list of three or five things you like’ and then find whatever is in your budget,” Galavan says.

6 Make your own decorations

Avoid buying new decorations and make new ones instead.

“You can complement your existing decorations with holly and ivy,” Galavan says.

“You can use them to make a beautiful wreath or decoration for the mantelpiece.

“Dehydrate oranges in the oven and add them to these decorations. Centerpieces and pieces on the mantelpiece with twine. If you have kids, go find pine cones and spray paint them.


7 Don’t go wild in Santa’s grotto

Some trips to see Santa can vary in price from €80-€170 for two adults and two children, and this excludes the cost of photos, gas for the car and a bite to eat.

“It’s great for younger kids, but when they get older, do something else that’s free,” says Galavan.

“This year my mom is taking us all to a garden center where there are lights and we’re going to order a fancy hot chocolate and eat before we go. Or you can walk to a Christmas market and let them choose a little something to buy.

“I also like to drive the kids around the local area with a thermos of hot chocolate and have them pick out the house with the best Christmas lights.”


8 Choose community experiences over gifts

Instead of your extended family exchanging gifts, agree to go out for an early bird dinner or host a pot luck dinner at someone’s house, with everyone bringing a dish they made.


9 Regift

If you have received enough scented candles to keep your house smelling good until 2026, or a business interruption, do not be afraid to join the items you will not use and someone else would like.

Be sure to make a note of who gave you the gift in the first place to avoid any awkward moments!

If you’re shopping for gifts for extended family and won’t see them until the day after St. Stephen’s Day, don’t be afraid to shop for them when stores reopen to take advantage of great discounts on stock.


10 Don’t go shopping

Think about what your family and guests really like to eat and drink over Christmas and shop with that in mind, financial advisor John Lowe recommends.

“Does anyone in your house eat Christmas cake, Christmas pudding or mincemeat?” he said. “Do they drink sherry, or do you buy it ‘just in case’?”

In the same sense, do not go overboard on the supply of wine to give anyone who falls in with an unexpected gift for you. You can always buy more – the supermarkets are only closed for one day.


If you start saving now, or pick up bits from the sales, you could save a fortune before next Christmas. Stock image

How to be financially prepared for Christmas 2023

If the constant radio, TV and social media ads touting the “ideal” Christmas gift are making you feel overwhelmed by the cost this holiday season, make a pledge now to be financially prepared for Christmas 2023.

The New Year – just four weeks away – is the perfect time to up your total spending this Christmas and create a savings plan that will tame the cost of Christmas 2023 and ensure you don’t wake up with a debt headache every day. January.

If, for example, you spent €1,000 on Christmas this year, this is the amount you will need to save before you start shopping in November 2023. Set up a savings account in your online bank (but don’t expect they earn a lot. interest) or open a Vault in your Revolut account and make sure that €100 per month goes automatically from your main account to your savings pot.
It can be hard to commit to saving if you’re just keeping up with heating and electricity bills – almost half of Irish households are now struggling to make ends meet, according to the Central Statistics Office. But starting to save for Christmas in January will help you sleep better next year.

If you have any money left over this Christmas, John Lowe from advises you to go shopping when the sales start stocking up on items you will need in 2023.
“Wrapping paper, Christmas cards, tree skirts and paper advent calendars all go on sale a few days after Christmas Day, so get in the habit of snapping them at 90pc off and storing them for next year,” says Lowe.


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