budgeting tips for christmasBudgeting Tips for Christmas is a paid collaboration with Sainsbury’s Bank

I don’t know about you, but this time of year always gives me The Panic.

We had a fabulous long summer, but we blew the budget. Three weeks in California with a teenager makes for a very sorry looking bank balance come the autumn.

Added to which, this is the time of year I renew my car and home insurance, pay my corporation tax and VAT.

Oh, and I’m moving to a new house.

Excuse me while I sit in the corner and have a little cry.

According to Sainsbury’s Bank I’m not alone. Two thirds of adults surveyed by Sainsbury’s Bank admit to not having a set summer holidays budget, and 54% are looking to tighten our belts in the run-up to Christmas.

With this in mind, I’ve been taking a fairly hard look at my expenses this month and working out where we can cut our spending. I figure a little bit of saving now means we’ll have spare cash to enjoy a lovely Christmas.

I started by looking at all my monthly direct debits, identifying the ones I’d set up but no longer need.

Removing Flea from our monthly gym membership saves us £70 a month, and shopping around for home insurance has saved us another £300 a year.

We are in the middle of planning for a house move. This means I’m trying to declutter like mad at the moment. I’ve gone through both of our wardrobes, clearing out unwanted clothes or things that Flea has grown out of.

Fellow Mums of teens will not be surprised to learn this pile also includes plenty of barely worn items that Flea has decided are TOO UNCOOL to consider wearing.

With these, I’m going to look at selling them on, using sites like eBay or Depop to generate some extra cash to offset the eye-wateringly expensive new coat that Flea’s going to need now it’s getting colder.

If you’re anything like us, you have a load of foreign currency lying around the house in drawers and at the bottom of suitcases.

I took a bunch of US and Canadian dollars and Euros to the supermarket and swapped enough to pay for an entire weekly shop! Since I got “free” shopping, this makes the chocolate biscuits I added to the basket entirely justifiable, right?

With Christmas coming up, it’s also worth looking for ways to make days out and trips cheaper – the Family & Friends Railcard is a brilliant buy, saving you up to 60% on train tickets. Your Railcard also gets you 2 for 1 access to loads of family attractions around the UK.

Sainsbury’s Bank provides some top tips for giving your finances an overhaul this Autumn:

  • Review your bills and contracts: Many of us stick with the same contracts for our phones, utilities and insurance providers just because it’s easy. By taking the time to look at what else is on offer, you might be surprised to see how other companies stack up – especially if you’ve been with your provider for a long time. Take a moment this month to compare competitor offers and don’t be scared to switch for a saving, or to ask your current provider what else they can offer.
  • Clearing clutter & making a few pounds: Undertake an autumn clean and boost your finances at the same time. You’ll be surprised how much you’ve accumulated over the past year or two. Go through your wardrobe, pull those unworn clothes or unused gifts out and sell them easily via a whole host of online auction or buy and sell sites.
    Plan ahead: If you’re planning family days out in the run-up to Christmas, look out for vouchers and discount codes. Taking advantage of family tickets or two-for-one offers can make sure you’re not feeling the pinch when spending quality time with your loved ones. Don’t forget to check your rewards points balance on loyalty and charge or credit cards. You might have enough to redeem against some family treats.
  • Spread out your spending: Consider spreading out major purchases over time so you don’t overload yourself – a worthwhile exercise is to distinguish the ‘nice to have’ items from the ‘essentials’ and prioritise accordingly.
  • When you are spending, make sure you’re getting something back in return. If you’re buying a holiday are you making sure you’re collecting the air miles? Is it worth shopping somewhere you’re rewarded just for spending what you would normally, for example in Sainsbury’s you’re rewarded with Nectar points just for doing your weekly shop which are especially helpful in the run up to Christmas. And with some Sainsbury’s Bank products you could earn even more points
  • Did you know that if you take out car or home insurance through Sainsbury’s Bank, you could get double or even triple Nectar points in the run-up to Christmas? You can then redeem the points however you like, whether it’s money off your Christmas food shop, or cashing them in for presents at stores such as Argos.

Do you have any favourite budgeting tips for Christmas?


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.