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The cost of Christmas set to be £1,500

The cost of Christmas set to be £1,500

Category: Money Saving

Updated: 26/06/2017
First Published: 22/11/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

How much are you planning to spend this festive season? Well, according to research from American Express, it could tot up to a staggering £1,484, so it's time to see where savings could be made!

Where does all the money go?

The almost-£1,500 total may seem like a sum that you'd never spend in just a few weeks, but breaking down the figures shows that it may not be that far off. The total includes everything from traditional expenditure on gifts (£315) and the big festive food shop (£81), to the cost of hosting a Christmas party (£104) and new clothes for the season (£87), with Christmas jumpers and a new outfit for the office night out often high on the list of priorities.

And what about festive getaways? An increasing number of Brits are enjoying trips to Christmas markets both in the UK and abroad, with the average spend coming in at £386 for breaks outside the UK - the largest expense on the list - and £201 for festive trips on home soil. After you add in the cost of travelling to visit loved ones (£76), Christmas catch ups (£93), festive entertainment such as pantomimes (£91) and those new decorations (£50), you'll soon see how quickly the total can rise – are you factoring these kinds of costs into your festive budget?

Christmas on a budget

If that sounds like far too much to spend in the next few weeks, fear not – there are ways to cut the cost! Setting a budget is key: 28% of American Express' respondents said they don't have one while 33% have a budget but admit they don't always stick to it, but it really is vital. Keeping track of your festive spending can mean the difference between a wonderful Christmas time and starting the New Year with a financial hangover, so it's important to be on the ball.

One way you could be particularly savvy is by saving up reward points, something that 47% of respondents plan to do – and they expect to cut their festive shopping bill by an average of £65 in the process. And what about cashback credit cards or current accounts? Another way to boost your finances, perfect for this time of year.

Unfortunately, 22% of respondents haven't yet thought about how they'll make the most of their money, but they're running out of time to do so – so don't be one of them! Here are a few extra tips to help keep your festive spending in check:

  • Do your research. It's tempting to snap up that perfect present as soon as you come across it, but it could pay to take a bit of extra time to shop around online, as you could well find it cheaper elsewhere. In the same vein, make sure to check cashback websites before you complete your purchase, as you could get a bit of money back from something you were going to buy anyway – you'll truly be getting something for nothing!
  • Take advantage of discounts. The nation is in the midst of a Black Friday frenzy, with many retailers already offering great discounts on many of their products – and the bargains could be coming in even faster over the weekend. Again, this is where research comes in so you can take advantage of the best prices available, and make sure to be on the lookout for vouchers for added benefit.
  • Get creative. Making your own decorations, cards and even gifts can save a small fortune, and the internet can provide you with a wealth of ideas to suit all abilities, from recycling last year's cards into homemade gift tags to collecting pinecones for the Christmas tree. Not only could you cut the cost of your festive spend dramatically, but you'll be adding a personal touch to the festivities, and that can make the whole event feel even more special.
  • Book your travel arrangements early. Whether you're travelling to visit relatives or are heading off on a festive mini-break, booking your travel tickets in advance can save huge amounts of cash – and the earlier you do it, the more you'll save!
  • Make loyalty pay. Many of us build up loyalty points throughout the year by shopping at our favourite retailers, so it's time to put them to good use! From Nectar and Clubcard points for the festive food shop to spending your accumulated Boots points on their 3-for-2 goodies, now's the time to see just how much you could save.
  • Use plastic – but use it wisely. If you need to use a credit card to cover part of the festive spend, look for way to make it work harder for you. A 0% purchase card can be a great choice if you're looking to spread the cost, or alternatively, get something back from your festive spend with a cashback credit card. American Express says that its Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card, which offers 5% cashback for the first three months, could earn shoppers up to £100 in cashback, and if you make sure to pay off the balance in full when the statement arrives, you won't have to pay interest on it!

"While Christmas shopping can come with a large price tag for some, it's important to get your finances sorted as soon as you can," commented Sarah Willingham, American Express ambassador. "Start planning now so you can spread the cost of Christmas as much as possible, that way you can keep an eye on the budget and see where your money is being spent. By keeping control of costs, you can focus on spending more quality time with your loved ones during the festive season."

What next?

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.