How to manage your money and stay debt free this Christmas

SantaAs the iconic television advert has now informed us – holidays are coming!

For many of us, this means here comes the stress of buying presents for everyone, doing that huge Christmas food shop and not to mention all those Christmas parties to attend.

It’s an expensive time.

We’ve put together our top tips on how to manage your money this Christmas whilst still having a very merry time!

Let’s face it, nobody wants to start the New Year buried in debt!

Make a list and set a budget

Before you start your Christmas shopping, you should write a list of everyone you need to buy for.

Work out how much you can afford to spend on each person, and be realistic – this is for your own benefit. And more importantly, stick to it.

If you have any ideas on what to buy people, write them down too. If you head to the high street with a list of exactly what you need to buy, you’ll be less likely to spend more money on ‘bits and bobs’ you don’t really need.

Ask people to write you a list with ideas of what they would like.

You don’t necessarily have to stick to the list or buy everything on the list, but having ideas there will help you.

Bob’s tip: You could share lists with family and friends to avoid getting someone the same present. You could even club together to get someone a more expensive gift.


Shop around

Christmas debt guideShopping online is a great way to compare prices.

There are plenty of price comparison websites you can use such as Price Runner and Mega Shop Bot which will help you save some pennies.

There are also many cashback websites like Quidco which will give you back a percentage of what you spend, which can range between 1% and 20%.




Hand-made gifts

Making your own Christmas presents can be a great way to save money and it makes gifts extra special and allows you to add that personal touch.

christmas cheerThere is an endless list of things to make, but here’s a selection of our favourites:

Jams and chutneys – for the Delia’s amongst you. There’s hundreds of festive jams and chutney recipes online for you to follow, or you can be adventurous and create your own.

Christmas decorations and ornaments – the world is your oyster with arts and crafts for Christmas. You can create things from paper, fabric, wool and many more.

Christmas cards – why not make your own Christmas cards this year and have fun doing it! Get some glitter, some festive stickers and get creative.

Christmas hampers/boxes – instead of forking out for hampers and Christmas boxes that have been prepared by the retailer, why not make your own. You can buy little bits and bobs to suit your recipient and present them in one gift box decorated beautifully.

When making your own Christmas presents, use your talents! If you’re great at baking – bake presents! Who doesn’t love receiving some festive biscuits and cakes!?



Raise extra cash

christmas bah humbugIf you have children, odds are after Father Christmas has been you will be surrounded by new toys and have no space to put them away come January.

So before Christmas, why not sort through all your children’s toys and clothes (you could do your own too).

Get together anything that hasn’t been played with for a long time, hasn’t been worn in a long time or things that are broken.

You could have a car boot sale and make some extra pennies to spend over the festive season.

You could even donate things (although nothing that is broken) to charity shops or children’s hospitals.



Secret Santa

Christmas SantaIf there is a group of you that all buy gifts for each other, for example a group of friends, why not do a ‘secret Santa’.

Everyone picks a name from a hat and instead of buying something for everyone, just buy one gift for that person – it can be a great way of saving money and having fun at the same time.

A common idea is to set a budget so everybody gets the same amount spent on them e.g. £10.




Get together for Christmas dinner

christmas chestnutsIf you have a large family or a big group of friends, you could all get together for Christmas dinner and hold it at one house (you could rotate this every year).

You can save money here by all contributing to that big Christmas food shop.

You can also save time and effort by each bringing a different dish round for dinner.

For example, if mum makes the best roast potatoes, she brings those, or if your brother can’t cook, he can bring the cheese and biscuits.

Whatever works for you!

Save money with Bobatoo…

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We have also recently published a guide on how to use a prepaid card to shop securely online – which will come in handy over the festive season!