With the festive season just around the corner and the higher cost of living affecting us all, Laura Ellis from financial education charity MyBnk gives her top tips to reduce the strain on your bank balance.

  • Compare prices online: Before you buy anything, take a few minutes to look around for the best deals. You may be surprised to find that the same gift is much cheaper at another retailer.
  • Consider gift cards or online vouchers: Gift cards and online vouchers are always a good option, as they allow the recipient to choose their own gift. They’re also more convenient than wrapping and transporting physical gifts.
  • Shop at charity shops or car boot sales: You can often find high-quality items in good condition for a fraction of the price of new items. If you’re feeling creative you could even try making something yourself or crafting your own DIY wrapping paper from recycled materials.
  • Don’t go overboard with gifts: Put your financial needs first. Be honest and realistic with friends and family about how this year may be different financially. You could agree a spending limit with friends and family or do a Secret Santa style of gift giving where you only buy a small gift for one person rather than for everyone.
  • Beware of buy now pay later: These options can be tempting, but they can also lead to debt problems if you can’t pay back what you owe.

Festive Food Shopping:

  • Be realistic with your budget: Before you go shopping, decide how much you can afford to spend on food and make a shopping list to stick to. This will help you avoid overspending. It’s also best to avoid shopping when you’re hungry or tired when you’re more likely to make impulse purchases.
  • Try not to buy too early or too much: It’s tempting to buy all your festive food at once. However, it can be better to spread out your shopping over a few weeks for non-perishable items. This will help you avoid impulse purchases and food waste.
  • Look for deals and discounts: Many retailers offer deals and discounts on festive food. Be sure to shop around and compare prices before you buy.
  • Consider less traditional options: If you’re willing to opt for less traditional festive foods, you may be able to cut your costs further. Why not swap your turkey for chicken or even a meat-free option?

Just remember, Christmas is just one day, overspending will last the whole year; enjoying time with family and friends is free! Take the kids for a walk around the houses to see the Christmas lights, hot chocolate and a movie, invite people over and say bring a plate, make your own decorations; kids love glitter and boxes!

Your family comes first; work out what’s best for you and have a wonderful Christmas.

MyBnk is a charity that delivers expert-led financial education programmes to in UK schools and youth organisations. Head to their website using the button below to find out more about the work they do.