breaking the bank
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Kelly Feehan, Service Director, CABA, provides us with some top tips on how you can still spread festive cheer without breaking the bank this Christmas

Christmas is a time that is mentally and physically exhausting, no matter how much you love the holiday season. Be it juggling your workload, with increased social engagements through to the stress of Christmas shopping and managing a tight budget, it can be tough. In fact, for some the festive period can end up turning into the season they dread the most, not to mention the most expensive.

According to recent research, 31% of Brits are worried they won’t have enough funds to last through Christmas. Despite having a limited budget, 6 in 10 admitted they tend to overspend during the festive period, proving that regardless of our best efforts, Christmas budgeting doesn’t always go to plan.

But it doesn’t have to be stressful. There are ways to avoid spending your hard-earned cash on the less important parts of the festive season. Here, we’ve shared some top tips on how to spread the festive cheer without breaking the bank.

  1. Make some cuts

If you need extra money for Christmas this year, stop buying some of the ‘non-essentials’. Items such as magazines, coffees and snacks all add up even if it’s ‘just a little treat’. has a great tool called the Demohohotivator that shows you how much you could save by cutting back on certain items. When you get the urge to spend, put the money aside to use it at a later date.

  1. Be organised

Make a list of all the people you need to buy for and what you want to get them. Not only does this enable you to prioritise your spending, but it also helps you avoid a rush the week before Christmas, picking up anything that catches your eye.

  1. Buy fewer presents (or make your own)

If you’re worried about how you’ll be able to afford to buy lots of Christmas presents this year, why not have a chat with those closest to you? You might find your family and friends are in the same boat. You could suggest setting a price limit for gifts or organise a Secret Santa so that you only have to splash out on 1 present.

Don’t feel like you’re going to be judged on the price tag either, sometimes the best presents are homemade, thoughtful things that remind you of each other such as personalised photo books or a batch of homemade brownies, there’s loads of options, so be creative.

4. Switch to own brands

Where food and drink are concerned, there are lots of savings to be made at Christmas. Whilst the luxury ‘Taste the Difference’ or ‘Finest’ ranges might have the fanciest packaging, there’s a lot to be said for standard own-brand products. Check out discount supermarkets which stock good-quality festive treats at much cheaper prices. Most important, with both food and drink, don’t buy more than you need. Nobody likes Christmas Pudding (in February).

Remember, you don’t have to be a Grinch but equally, don’t put pressure on yourself – or your bank balance – in pursuit of the perfect Christmas. The holiday season is a time to spend with family and friends and it really is the little things that count. With careful planning and a little creativity, you can limit those spiralling costs and keep on top of your budget.


CABA is the charity that supports the wellbeing of chartered accountants. If you’ve got money on your mind, visit CABA’s website for further information.


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