8 ways to cut costs this festive season but still enjoy the spoils


The holidays can be an expensive season, but there’s no need to fall into a financial rut because of it. Here's how to get your finances fit for the festive frivolities

Christmas spending

The Yuletide season is a time for happiness and good cheer – but all that festive spirit comes at a price. Findings show that the average Brit splurged anything from just under £1,000 all the way up to £1,700 on festive frivolities in 2022.

Gifts, it transpires, are what we shell the most out on with almost one third of budgets blown on presents for others. £100 a head is saved for food and drink, as well as another £100 for socialising. Meanwhile, travel and new clothes averages around £50 a head.

But due to the on-going cost-of-living crisis and inflation still uncharacteristically high (6.3% at time of writing), some Brits may have to scale back their celebrations this year.

If you are looking for some ways to manage of the cost of Christmas in 2023, here are some of Vitality Magazine’s top tips.

What can you afford?

Worrying about what you can afford at Christmas has some of the biggest impacts on our mental health, says UK charity Mind. Trouble sleeping, anxiety and feelings of guilt are just some of the symptoms that can be triggered by money worries.

So, it’s really important to get a handle on what you can afford, and budget for your needs. First, find out what your essential bills are over that period, such as: rent, mortgage payments, energy bills and travel.

Then, it’s a matter of working backwards. Figure out how much expendable cash you have left, and budget from there. If you’re hosting for family or friends, ask each of them to contribute a course or beverages towards the overall day.

Shop early and plan ahead

While January might not be the time you want to start thinking about next Christmas, the new year comes with discounts and savings on timeless items. Decorations, Christmas puddings and cards, for example, will last until the following year.

If you’re not in the right frame of mind for a January festive shop, there’s no harm in bagging a few bargains throughout the year when they inevitably come around. Be it for gifts or even some of the traditional Christmas spoils that can go in the freezer or drinks for the cupboard.

Consider a loyalty card

Loyalty cards can save more than just a few pennies here and there; Vitality members who use the Waitrose discount saved £68 per annum, and if you have loyalty cards for your favourite stores, consider cashing them in during December.

This can help relieve some of the financial burden that can come with buying everything over the Christmas period.

You automatically get access to the Vitality Programme when you take out a plan with us. Members can start earning points immediately and start accessing discounts from our partners including Caffè Nero and Mindful Chef.

These are not just things to enjoy, they also help ensure we benefit physically, mentally and financially too.

Find out more by logging into Member Zone and visit the Vitality Programme page.

Be honest

If you’re strapped for cash – be honest about it. Christmas is not about spending money on obligatory gifts for every man and his dog. If you are too stretched to get a gift for someone, be honest about it, they might even thank you for not having to reciprocate.

A no unnecessary present pact is not unheard of, or if you do want to buy for a select group, secret santa with a small spending cap is a good option.

Get creative

A great way to rein in the cost is to get inventive and artsy with your gifts. This not only helps reduce cost but is more personal and sustainable since we can be more specific with what we create and the materials we buy. Even when it comes down to what it’s wrapped in!

Consider swapping out your usual Christmas paper and opt for cheaper brown paper and get doodling, painting or drawing some festive fun. Why not get family or friends involved too!

Make it a Christmas tradition to help Santa’s elves get everything ready for the big day. Regift We’ve all been there, wondering what we’re going to do with a scarf from your auntie that’s not your style, or that Barbie for your six-year-old who prefers dinosaurs to dolls.

Keeping those types of items in a ‘gift’ cupboard, along with who you get something from, means you can keep it for another year or give to charity. This is an easy money-saver and ends up giving something a better home in the long-term.

Rethink the essentials

While Christmas may come steeped in tradition – from the star on top of the tree to Slade on repeat – you can always rethink what counts as an ‘essential’ item. Items like crackers may fall into this category – including the paper hat and toy that ends up in the bin after the post-dinner clean-up.

Nowadays, you could save yourself anywhere from £3-50 by skipping them this year.

Choose time over money

It’s worth remembering that Christmas gifting doesn’t have to be a physical item. As the saying goes ‘it’s the thought that counts’ and we can value experiences over accessories and conversation over clutter.

Giving someone the gift of your time, whether that be spending intentional quality time or to help with a task they’ve been putting off can be a thoughtful, environmentally friendly and budget-friendly alternative.

Around two million people in the UK are affected by the winter blues, so time spent together over this period is incredibly important. One-on-one time with a group, family member or friend can truly make a difference.

As a Vitality member, you could get partner benefits and rewards with a range of big brands. Available with qualifying health insurance and life insurance.

Log into Member Zone for the details.

Share This Article