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  • Emily Friday

The Ultimate Christmas Budget Checklist | Save Money This Christmas

We've all been there... Christmas is expensive. And with the cost of living on the up and up, this holiday season may be looking a little different for all of us this year.

For every single Christmas, there are costs that you probably didn't predict - but with our ultimate Christmas budget checklist, you'll know exactly what kind of expenses you'll need to set aside some money for whether it's last-minute gifts, decorations or food.

Side note: whilst it’s useful to set money aside for these things, it may not be realistic to save up for all of them. So, prioritize your spending by deciding what you can do without this year, and focus your budget on the rest.

Without further ado, let's get working on that budget, shall we?

1) Gifts

Ah, the presents - the very first thing that comes to mind when thinking about your Christmas budget (and possibly the most expensive!). This year, it may be worth having a think about which distant friends or extended family members could do without the fancy biscuits. Better yet, why not get creative with some handmade presents?

Here are some categories to include in your gift budget:

  • Gifts for the family: parents, siblings, grandparents, kids etc.

  • Experience days (use a discount code if possible from BuyaGift or Wowcher)

  • Vouchers/gift cards (perfect for the people who are impossible to buy for)

  • Gifts for friends (handmade if you're feeling creative/ want to save some money)

  • A gift for your other half (agree on something sentimental and inexpensive for each other)

  • A gift for your furry friends if you're an animal lover - the pets need Christmas jumpers too!

2) Food & Drink

It's easy to get a bit merry with all of the delicious food on our tables at Christmas, and there's nothing worse than hosting the Christmas dinner than realising you forgot to budget for that one key ingredient.

Here's a non-exhaustive list of some things you'll probably want to add to your Food and Drink budget this festive season:

  • Coffee dates for those catch-ups with old friends

  • The Christmas dinner (sprouts, the roast, Yorkshire puddings, vegetarian gravy - list it all!)

  • Christmas markets - you'll probably want to enjoy a mulled wine in the cold and may even spot the perfect gift from a stall

  • Festive nights out - not just with friends, but the work do's too!

  • Your favourite seasonal drinks - those festive hot chocolates just hit different

  • Snacks to share on the day - cheese and biscuits, a tin (or two) of Quality street etc.

3) Home Decor

You can probably get away with not going too wild on the Christmas decorations this year if you're not the one hosting. But if you are, you'll probably want to create a cosy, feel-good environment for your guests (even if it is just Mum and Dad).

If you absolutely can't reuse any of the decorations from last year, add these to your Home Decor Budget list:

  • The Christmas Tree - fake or real, tinsel or no tinsel, matching baubles etc. And of course, lights

  • Other decorations - a wreath for the door, candles, fairy lights

  • Cosy blankets and cushions (electric blankets are a must if you're cutting down on your heating bill)

  • Stockings and stocking fillers to go inside - even if it's just a candy cane and some rolled-up wrapping paper!

4) Everything Else

Now that you've gotten the main categories out of the way, you'll want to add a couple of these extra categories to your Christmas budget - just in case.

  • Travel costs - going away for Christmas or visiting relatives? Don't forget to budget for actually getting there e.g. petrol, train costs, or even flights

  • Postage costs - if you're sending some cards or gifts via post this year you'll want to make sure you have some extra cash set aside as it can get pretty expensive (especially if you're posting internationally)

  • Christmas cards - consider limiting these to only your close friends and family this year to cut down costs

  • Gift wrapping supplies - scissors, gift tags, wrapping paper, plus glue and other craft supplies if you're going DIY on gifts

  • Secret Santa - only applicable if you get roped into this at the office!

  • Charity Donations - if you're able to donate any money this year, we at ImageNPay have a range of digital donation cards you can use to donate to your favourite charities this Christmas (or to simply show your support by setting as your default card design). If you aren't able to donate your time, there are plenty of other ways you can give back to those less fortunate this Christmas.


Looking for a way to keep track of your spending this Christmas? Try an ImageNPay Prepaid Card - top up your card with a balance that YOU choose to prevent overspending and help you stick to your Christmas budget.

To find out more, tap the button below and download ImageNPay FREE on iOS and Android!


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