There is nothing quite like the feeling of writing a Christmas 2018 budget blog post in the middle of August! But right now, we have 132 days to Christmas, which means 19 paydays if you’re paid weekly, and about five if you’re paid monthly, which is terrifying! The average cost of Christmas for a UK household is £753, but the season itself is really expensive and without planning now, you might leave your finances in a mess by New Year- and no-one wants to start 2019 off in more credit card debt. So right now is your opportunity to start making a few simple swaps that can save £100s before December, which you can then use to pay for Christmas!
1.Swap takeaways for eating in
Not only is this better for you AF but, if you have one take-away per week costing £20 and you swap this for a homemade meal, or even a supermarket pizza (my new fave), you could easily save yourself £15 per week. I must admit that I love my takeaways because they are so easy and convenient but by taking ten minutes to plan out your shopping and being realistic about your schedule, you can easily identify those moments when you know you’ll be too tired too cook and want to order in, and at least then you can add an alternative to your shopping trolley for a fraction of the cost.
If you are absolutely adamant that you still need a takeaway in your life from time to time, try cutting down to once per month. Or get a free Takeaway when you purchase from Just Eat via Topcashback!
2. Swap buying lunches for packed lunches
I must admit, I loathe Sunday meal prep but I’m always really glad on Monday when I’ve made the effort. Recently, we have been roasting a chicken on Sundays when we are making dinner and then it just get shredded into sandwiches, but next week I’m going to be branching out and making quinoa with roasted pine nuts, pomegranate, raisins and coriander. Expect to save yourself easily £15 per week, at least, by making this swap.
3. Swap drinking out for pre-drinks at home, with one or two at the bar
I’ve been doing this recently because I refuse to pay over the odds for rubbish drinks these days. Legit if I’m paying a tenner+ for alcohol in a bar, my drink better come with a little cocktail umbrella and Carmen Miranda’s hat on the side. So instead I’ve been investing in better drinks at home, like decent gin and premium mixers, that cost a fraction of bar prices, and when I go out, I stick to two drinks max, as a rule. It’s definitely not something you need to do all the time, because sometimes you just need to go out, have fun and forget about being an adult with responsibilities, but for those nights when you’re doing pre-drinks with friends, it’s not a bad way to save £20.
4. Swap the car for commuting by public transport and walking
One of the quickest ways we cut our budget when we started our debt free journey was to start using public transport and walking, and honestly, I wouldn’t go back to driving to work. Our old commute cost £240 per month and now we pay around £80 in transport costs. At the start, getting the bus felt like more hassle but not driving meant less stress in the morning, more time to relax and the walk home from work means you can get your workout in where you would have otherwise sat in traffic.
And if neither of these is an option, you could always see if you could take turns car pooling with a colleague 🙂 If you do decide to drive, sign up to Topcashback for £10 worth of fuel, absolutely free.
5. Swap takeaway coffee for homemade
This is the oldest trick in the book but such a good one; spending £2.50 per day on coffee (on average) means you’ll need £337.50 to finance this habit by Christmas day. Deciding now to invest in a decent re-usable travel mug will cut this cost down to a tiny fraction, and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment too #doublepoints
I hope these swaps give you some inspiration 🙂 Preparing now is key to removing financial stress on the big day and enjoying the run up to the season, so even picking up one of them could help towards the cost of Christmas, and start the New Year right!