How much Christmas is costing the lovemoney team

Rebecca Rutt
by Lovemoney Staff Rebecca Rutt on 24 December 2012  |  Comments 4 comments

Christmas is an expensive time of year and here's what the editorial team will be spending.

How much Christmas is costing the lovemoney team

Every Christmas I try to set a budget for my spending, but I usually end up panic buying at the last minute and spending far more than I can afford.

Turns out I’m not alone. According to Halifax, 37% of people have had to dip into their savings in the past three months, withdrawing on average £1,186.

A separate report from Nest shows that 77% of people are concerned about the cost of Christmas and 52% think they spend too much. It says over our working lives we’ll spend £20,072 on Christmas – working out at an average of £445 a year.

But just how true are these statistics and does anyone really spend that much? I asked the team at lovemoney to reveal how much they’re planning on spending on the day.

The lovemoney team

Ed Bowsher, Managing Editor of lovemoney, has set a budget of £160 for presents and £50 for taxi travel. He’ll be getting a free Christmas lunch but will spend an extra £70 over the festive period on food and drink bringing his total spending to £280.

Editor John Fitzsimons is buying presents for around 20 people so will spend between £300 and £350 as a family on these. Instead of spending lots of food and drink out and about at this time, he’ll be making Christmas dishes at home so will spend no more than around £30.

When it comes to travel this will be by car around different family homes so shouldn’t cost more than £20, so as a household Christmas spending will be approximately £375.

Simon Ward, our News Editor, is trying to limit his present spending this year, particularly in terms of the gifts between him and his wife. He’s also managed to get some presents for his two kids in charity shops, including one for next year – a fairy castle worth more than £100 new which he picked up for just £10.

As his in-laws are staying for Christmas, food and drink will be the biggest expense especially as he’ll get meat from a local farm shop rather than the supermarket. The one real treat he insists upon is a real Christmas tree and so his family Christmas budget is around £250.

Writer Reena Sewraz is splitting the cost of Christmas with her boyfriend and they have spent £240 on presents, or £120 each. Couples in the family get one present and children get the most spent on them, such as the Avengers Assembles action figures for £30 for her nephews.

Travel will be driving between London and Reading so £40 on petrol, and food will be free as she’s at her brother-in-law’s for Christmas Day. Therefore her total spend should be around £220.  

Finally, I’m attempting to be a bit more frugal this year by making piccalilli for everyone I know. It’s a cheap homemade gift and for my immediate friends and family I’ve spent around £150 in total on bought presents.

Travelling back to my parent’s house is another £30 on top of this and as I’ll be at home for Christmas lunch will be free.

On top of this I think I’ll probably spend another £80 on food and drink over the Christmas period which puts my budget at £260.

How to not blow the budget at Christmas

The key to not overspending at Christmas is making a strict plan and sticking to it. If you do it in advance you’re less likely to overspend through panic buying and it also makes the whole experience a lot less stressful.

If you’ve got some spare time you could also tackle your own homemade gifts, but with these it’s all about picking something easy to make which won’t cost a fortune. Our article on how to make successful Christmas presents is stacked full of ideas on where to start.

However, if you’ve not had time to pre-plan, there are still some ways to save on Christmas stress and spending. Many shops have started their sales early so you can pick up last minute bargains.

having said that, the key is to only buy what you can afford and avoid the temptation of overspending.

Christmas isn’t just about spending money so if you’re short try and think of other ways to spend time with your family and friends. A night in with board games where everyone brings a different dish is a good idea and there are lots of bargains to be had when it comes to Christmas food and drink.

Lastly, resorting to a payday loan or going into your overdraft for your festive spending is one of the worst scenarios and will leave you with a massive financial hangover in January. There are lots of other ways to pay for Christmas before going down these routes.  

More on Christmas shopping

Twelve good, cheap Christmas gift ideas

The best Secret Santa gifts

Christmas presents that make the world a better place

Price of Christmas lunch jumps 14%

Swap your unwanted Christmas presents online!

Sell your unwanted Xmas presents online

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Comments (4)

  • guardian1
    Love rating 9
    guardian1 said

    The amounts given for food spending seem incredibly low to me - considering that in Sainsburys a free range turkey was £38.00 - I ended up buying one at Aldi, still free range, for ten pounds less, but that's still a lot of money. I didn't buy any alcohol, but my food spending came to about £100.00 altogether. Granted, that includes food for the whole Christmas holidays (today, Xmas and Boxing days and probably a couple of days following that too). I would say I was quite restrained too, in terms of my buying this year - in the supermarket yesterday there were many people with trollies loaded to over flowing, or even with more than one trolley to a family. I dread to think how much their bills would have come to. I reckon if I'd factored in bottles of wine, let alone spirits, my bill could have been double what it was.

    I'd be interested to hear how other Love Money readers have managed their spending this Xmas - or any tips for cutting costs in future

    Report on 24 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • babyhk
    Love rating 10
    babyhk said

    Start early and open a Regular Saver - the best pay 5% ,Use Tesco vouchers for prezzies. I used some for magazine subscriptions for a variety of relatives. .

    Santander is good credit card for department and supermarket shopping and pays interest on purchases. If you link it to their 3% current account and pay your credit card by direct debit from that account it is so simple to know what you are spending - get the interest for a month in the current account before you have to pay the credit card bill off.

    Boots and Sainsburys have printed loads of vouchers when you shop.Take advantage of anyone in the family who is a student as they usually get 10% off on most things.Sounds daft but buy xmas cards, paper and anything xmas related in the Jan sales - perfume and gift sets are usually cheap - try Debenhams and Selfridges, I kept the body lotion as my reward!

    It is not just what you spend it is really how you manage it.

    Report on 24 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Tanni
    Love rating 92
    Tanni said

    Recently there was an article on lovemoney that collecting/picking up vouchers/receipts from the supermarket floor could help you save money. There was also another article which suggested rummaging through supermarket bins.....kindly stick to your advice and love the money you save!

    Merry Xmas lol

    Report on 24 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Iamcoldsteve
    Love rating 329
    Iamcoldsteve said

    On Christmas day we hosted a party for about 25 friends at our house, obviously we picked up the bill for everything. So that was easily £150 all in.

    We had a quiet dinner, just us four, so that probably cost no more than about £25. As turkey is horrible whatever way you cook it, we had something else.

    We decided long ago that buying even small gifts for friends came in at a lot of money (and effectively just passed money round the table), therefore we now do a 'Secret Santa' between us. £15 a main gift and £5 for a silly gift - with a prize for the silliest (but useful) gift to both the receiver and the giver. The winner this year was for a calendar with the same picture for every month, and the caption "Same sh!t, different day" - so now I am sure you can guess the picture... it was very apt for the receiver of the gift.

    Family gifts come in more expensive. Our 2 kids had about £120 spent on them each.

    My wife and I don't spend a lot on each other, as there isn't really anything we need. If we do need anything, we usually just go and buy it (best price available, of course).

    BUT, Christmas isn't about how much money you spend on others, or what presents you get. It is about spending quality time with those you love. Last night was really good, as we were all together and everyone enjoyed it. Who cares about the gifts?

    I had a thought the other day. Instead of buying your kids presents that will end up in the bin in a few months, why not put that money into an ISA (or something else) and just buy something low cost and necessary.....?

    The money thus 'saved' over the years would grow to be a tidy sum. What better Christmas present on their 18th birthday than a cheque for maybe even 10,000 pounds? OK, they may have had low cost Christmases, but now they have enough money to buy a car, or even as a deposit on a house (if they keep it up for a few more years), or Uni costs....... etc? What would be better, a load of time expired tat for landfill, or something really big?

    Report on 26 December 2012  |  Love thisLove  1 love

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