Money

These expert tips could stop you from overspending online in the run-up to Christmas

Posted by
Aiden Wynn
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It’s easy to go a little over the top when you’re Christmas shopping, but there are little things you can do to stop yourself from spending too much while still having fun. 

It’s hard to believe that December is here. At the end of such a tumultuous year, it does feel a little odd to be opening up advent calendars and counting down to Christmas.

But still, even though festivities will have to be a little more low-key this year due to the “Christmas bubble” rules, there is plenty to get excited about as the big day comes around, from Christmas films to festive food. And who knows, it could be the boost everyone needs to see them through to 2021.

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However, one thing that tends to be at least a little stressful at this time of year looks to be more so than ever: Christmas shopping. 

Every year, British people’s spending goes way up in the run-up to Christmas, as they take to high streets and online shops to find the perfect gifts for friends, family and partners. But this year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many have experienced a strain on their finances, whether because they’re struggling on furlough or facing redundancy.

Even so, research conducted by financial comparison website Finder has found that Brits are still planning on spending an average of £476.05 each on Christmas presents this year. This is less than the £513 the average person spent in 2019, but still a considerable amount of cash to splash during such uncertain times.

And that’s without taking into account the amount people spend on food, booze and decorations. Clearly, it’s still set to be a pricey period, but that’s to be expected. It’s hard not to go a little overboard at Christmas. 

Not to worry, though, because there is a way you can mitigate the worst of your overspending with just one very simple tip.

Bukiie Smart is the founder of money saving platform Save Spend Invest, and she recommends “making a list of things you absolutely need to get and a few things you’ve wanted for a while, and be very strict with it.”

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Christmas shopping: Brits are planning on spending an average of £476.05 each on Christmas presents this year.

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When you’re making the list, she also suggests thinking about the price of each item you want to buy, so you can set yourself a budget that is realistic, but that still leaves room for you to get thoughtful gifts (plus a few treats for yourself).

Try to avoid the temptation to stray from your list, particularly when there’s a sale on. It may seem as though you’re making a smart spending choice, especially when shopping for Christmas presents, but as Bukiie explains, “buying things on sale when you didn’t budget or plan to get them isn’t really saving – it’s impulsive spending.”

And, when you’re shopping for yourself, it’s a good idea to make sure “you’re not buying things due to hype,” and to really think about whether “after the excitement of getting it passes, you’ll still like it and make use of it.”

Speak to a Financial Conduct Authority registered financial adviser before taking financial advice, and think carefully before making any decision.

Images: Getty

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Aiden Wynn

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