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12 Ways to Budget Before Christmas

12 Ways to Budget Before Christmas

By in Christmas | 6 comments

Do you dread the expenses of Christmas? The shops are like a temptation magnet. Everywhere you look, Christmas stuff is shouting, “Buy me! Come on… spend your money. You know you need me.” It’s crazy, isn’t it? The best way to deal with the spending temptation is to budget.

Before I share my tips, I’ll tell you a story…

Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in a small town in Jamaica. She shared a house with her grandmother, two sisters and two cousins. They didn’t have much money. In fact, they were so poor that their grandmother couldn’t even afford to buy toys for them. But they didn’t mind. They played with each other; climbed trees for fun; made their own swings from ropes and played games in the large open fields. The children laughed a lot because they were happy.

Christmas was an exciting time for the little girl. She walked to town with her family and watched the Jonkanoo Christmas processions. People dressed in vivid colours and danced to lively reggae music on the main roads. Her face lit up as she watched the amazing parade of activities. Afterwards, the families sat down to delicious Christmas dinner. It was a delightful feast of rice and gungo peas, curried goat, chicken and more. They also enjoyed a lovely treat of  sorrel (a traditional Caribbean Christmas drink) and tasty rum soaked fruit cake.

There were no Christmas trees. No presents under a Christmas tree. No presents from Santa Claus. No Christmas lights. And no Christmas stocking for that little girl. But there were lots of love and heaps of happiness. Her life was wonderful because she was with people who adored her. It didn’t matter that her gran didn’t have much money. It didn’t matter that Christmas wasn’t a massive event in their home. What mattered was her quality of life. And it was a great life, despite the shortage of trimmings. That little girl was me.

I had the best life growing up in Jamaica. Christmas isn’t about spending money you haven’t got. Or running up your credit card bill. It’s about showing love, which should be done every day of the year.

So, let’s get on with looking at 12 ways to budget before Christmas:


1.  Budget

How much can you spend without getting into debt? Be honest with yourself. Set a budget. Make it affordable and stick to it. Only spend what you’ve allocated for Christmas presents, food, drinks, etc.


  2.   Make a Christmas shopping list

Lists are great for stopping you from overspending in the shops. Think about what you need to buy and which shops to go to. Make your list. Go to the shops where you’ll get what’s on your list. Because, if you go shopping without knowing what you want, you’ll probably spend too much.


  3.  Ditch the plastic

Cash is king. Credit cards are like a debt trap. It’s easy to run up a big bill because you do not physically see how much you’re spending. When you use cash, you can only spend what’s in your purse. When the money is finished, you have to stop buying. That will prevent you from starting 2015 with a massive credit card debt.


   4.  Do a price comparison

Compare prices online before you do your Christmas shopping. By committing to just 15 minutes or more looking at different shops online, you’ll see how much money you could save.


   5.  Find the sales

A lot of shops start their sales before Christmas. Take a walk down your local high street. You’re bound to see well-known stores displaying sale signs. But for the sake of convenience, check out Time Out online for a guide to the latest sales in London, and the best places to hunt out bargains.


   6.  Be creative and make your own Christmas cards 

This is a fantastic way to save money and get personal. Make your own Christmas cards for family and friends. I wrote a post about how to make customised Christmas cards. Here is the link: Ideas for Custom Made Christmas cards. Plus, there are lots of ideas online. Designing and making your own cards is fun and you can get your children involved. However, if you want to focus on getting the little ones involved with Christmas, read this blog post I wrote for Ivy League Nursery. It’s packed with lots of great ideas. Check it out here: Fun Things to Do With Your Child This Christmas.


   7.  Consider doing a Secret Santa

I was introduced to Secret Santa at a school I worked for a few years ago. This will save you lots of money, especially if you have a big family. Get together with family or friends and decide how much to spend on Christmas presents. Write the names of all the people involved and put them in a box. Shuffle the box and each person draws a name. They keep that person’s name a secret. Their job is to buy a present for the person within the agreed budget.

On Christmas day they get their beautifully wrapped present, but they won’t know who bought it. That’s the secret part. The bonus is, everyone will get one present from one person, instead of one person buying presents for lots of people.


  8.  Use everyday items for stocking fillers

For close family members and children, fill up their Christmas stockings with things they need. For example, buy items such as stationary, socks, underwear, shampoo, pyjamas, soap, etc. And to make it more interesting, include their favourite chocolate bars, earrings, ring or an item of surprise.


   9.  Can anyone wait till boxing day for their Christmas present?

This is a massive money-saving tip if you’re planning on buying big items like games console, TV or a computer. Give the person a small present to open on Christmas day, and a lovely gift wrapped IOU. Go out early to beat the rush, and buy their main present in the Boxing day sales.


  10.  Send e-cards to save on postage and keep in touch

Sending e-cards is wonderful for keeping in touch and sharing the festive goodwill over Christmas. Take some time to choose the right e-card and send it to a loved one. It works out much cheaper (or free), and it’s your way of letting them know you’re thinking of them.

I get an e-card every year from a friend I met when my daughter was at school. She lives on the other side of the country, but came to London to visit her grandson. Still, we haven’t seen each other for years as she’s elderly and not in good health. It’s easier for us exchanging e-cards over Christmas.


  11.  Shop around for Christmas food

Buying Christmas food can work out quite expensive, especially if have a big family. You’ll save money by comparing prices and maybe going to different supermarkets for festive items. These are two options: MySupermarket will help you find the best deals and compare prices across a range of well-known supermarkets. If you’ve got an Android phone, it makes sense to download the mySupermarket app. It’s convenient to use and you’ll be able to compare prices and shop while you’re out and about.


12.  Make  use of your loyalty points

I’ve got a Nectar card and save points for spending over Christmas. It’s an ideal time to use loyalty points you’ve collected over the year to splash out on Christmas food, or presents. Did you know that the points are worth more if you use them online? Check online to find out the best places to spend and save.


If you plan wisely and budget before Christmas, you’ll have fun spending, and less stress. There’s only 27 days before Christmas. So, get out there and do what you need to, starting from today. Don’t leave it till the last minute.

Can you add any more tips to the budgeting list? Please share your thoughts and advice in the comment. Thank you.



About June

June Whittle is the founder of Miraculous Ladies, an author, freelance copywriter and professional blogger for hire. She works with small businesses, bloggers and individuals. She is also an author of a self-help and autobiography book “Deep Within my Soul: Hope after abuse”. Miraculous means extraordinary and Lady is a polite or formal way of referring to an amazing woman. That's you. You're a beautiful, strong, incredible, dynamic and powerful woman. Live your dreams. "If you can dream it, you can do it." ~ Walt Disney


  1. Hi June!
    Great new photo! Love this post! This will be our second Christmas with our little twins and it’s hard not to go overboard and their birthday’s are in January!
    I liked your idea to shop around for Christmas food. I never heard of those resources! Will check them out!
    I think for this Christmas, we are going to add some home made toys and toys that they have to share.
    I hope you have a great holiday! Keep in touch!
    Innovative Ink



    • Hi Elna,

      It’s lovely to see you again.:-)

      It’s a wonderful thing spending Christmas with your new additions.They must be so excited. I know they’re still quite young, but Christmas is fun for the little ones. I understand how hard it is not to spoil them.

      I’m not sure if you have the same shops in the US. But if you Google, you can easily find out. It makes such a difference where you shop. The prices vary quite a lot and it’s always good to save, isn’t it?

      Home made toys sound like a great idea. Maybe you should write a post on that. 🙂

      Have a wonderful Christmas too and I’m more than happy to keep in touch. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      June June


  2. That’s a great story June. I think a lot of people get caught up in the material things around Christmas that they forget the greatest gift of all, having each other.

    Materialistic things aren’t necessary for a happy life. Just like you illustrated, you can be happy without them.

    You provide some great tips about budget and saving money around the most expensive time of the year. I don’t just budget for Christmas but all year round. If I don’t I’ll end up wondering where all my money went lol.

    I save money by picking up wrapping paper and ribbons from the dollar store. And so many sites online offer free printable gift tags. People end up ripping through those things so quickly to get to see the gift inside why spend so much on it.

    Lea Bullen recently posted..5 Simple Ways to Turn a Crappy Day into the Best Day EverMy Profile

    Lea Bullen


    • You’re right Lea. Christmas these days is more about presents and food. The real value and meaning of Christmas is disappearing fast.

      Living in Jamaica without the luxuries and trimmings of life was the happiest period of my life. Whereas, being in the UK where the standard of life is much higher, didn’t make me any happier. It’s not about what you have, it’s about having people in your life who love and appreciate you.

      We also have lots of pound shops here in the UK. They’re fantastic for getting bargains. Thanks for the tip about the free printable gift tags online. I don’t believe in spending much on wrapping paper either. Like you said, they’re for ripping, lol.

      Have a great week. 🙂

      June June


  3. Dear June,

    I just finished a conversation with my niece out here who was telling me how she had to explain to her kids that she had financial issues and so Christmas (gifts and tree) this year will be low key. I reminded her of our story which is similar to your Jamaican story. You know I taught my boys that I don’t wait for Christmas to buy them clothes or toys, that what is most important is the love we share especially over a family meal usually at granny’s.

    Now that I have a few more years out here on my home, I make it very simple. I don’t look at those shops and really, I don’t need any of those luring items of the season – which soon become Junk.

    After all, January is sales season – and so if I really need anything, it can wait a few weeks. Thanks for sharing and loads of love to you
    Marie Abanga recently posted..My Super Super (Ss) HeroMy Profile

    Marie Abanga Marie Abanga


    • Hi Marie,

      I think your niece did the right thing by telling her kids about her financial situation. Most people would get themselves in debt to buy presents and a Christmas tree just to please their family. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. Getting in debt for one day isn’t worth it. And love is the most important thing we can share with our kids. Plus it’s not just about Christmas day, it’s every day.

      I’ve also become very disciplined and don’t buy things that will end up in cupboards or my wardrobe. I only buy what I need, not what I want. We also have a simple Christmas. I’m don’t see the point in spending a fortune on food that do not get eaten. Most of it end up in the bin anyway. There are so many people worse off and we tend to splash out on ourselves without thinking about those who haven’t got much money. Christmas is meant to be about love, but people can also be quite selfish during this season.

      Yes, the January sales are great. Patience is a virtue. It’s worth waiting the few days till the sale starts.

      Loads of love to you too Marie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

      June June


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