Worried about spending money at Christmas? Well, never fear! We’ve gathered some super simple tips to help you save over the next few weeks in the lead-up to the holidays.
Since 2020 has been such a bizarre year, though, with the coronavirus pandemic having disrupted everything from our working lives to our social calendars, it’s only natural to feel a little caught out by the sudden sound of jingle bells.
Even at the best of times, Christmas can cause more than its fair share of concerns, particularly when it comes to the strain the festive period inevitably puts on our pockets. And, with Covid-19 having already put countless people across the country in an uncertain financial position, this year those concerns are likely to be bigger than ever.
According to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, around 7.6 million jobs were put at risk as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis and the restrictions that have been imposed to stem its tide. This means that a huge 24% of the UK workforce were affected by “permanent layoffs, temporary furloughs, and reductions in hours and pay”.
So, whether you have faced job losses, a wage cut, or simply feel you need to spend sensibly at such a strange time, now’s the time to start planning your finances a little more consciously. Saving is one of the best ways to do just that, and, while saving for such an expensive time of year may feel like a gargantuan task, there are plenty of handy tips that will help you do just that.
Beyond your finances, mental health issues can also be exacerbated at Christmas if you have money troubles. According to research conducted in 2015 by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and mental health charity Mind, “the pressure to have the ‘perfect’ Christmas” and “spend spend spend” in order to keep up with the festivities causes almost a third of people with mental health problems to feel as though they were unable to cope.
Clare Seal of money-saving Instagram account @myfrugalyear knows exactly how much financial stress can negatively affect your mental health, and it’s something that she frequently discusses on her feed. But she managed to turn her own finances around and has built a huge following of people who love her tips on saving any amount, whether large or small, through everything from standing orders to savings challenges.
So we asked her for her best advice on saving money in the run-up to Christmas, to help alleviate your worries and really enjoy the holiday period:
Work out a realistic budget
“It’s impossible to save successfully without a functioning budget, so make sure that yours is working for you. The concept of budgeting is fairly simple – it’s just balancing what comes in and what goes out, and deciding what to do with what’s leftover. But sticking with it can be tricky. Having a fair, realistic budget that allows for saving and enjoyment is key.”
Use a visual motivator
“One of my favourite things to do with any financial target, and one of the tools I’ve included in my next book, is to create a 10x10 grid, and then colour in a square every time you’ve saved 1% of your goal total. So, if you’re aiming to save £500, you colour in a square each time you add £5 to your savings.”
Cut down on your subscriptions
The Real Life Money Journal by Clare Seal (£14.99, Headline) comes out on 17th December.
Speak to a Financial Conduct Authority registered financial adviser before taking financial advice, and think carefully before making any decision.