How to avoid over-spending on Christmas ‘grudge’ purchases

posted by in Budgeting

Christmas grudge spends

They’re not happy about the cost of the wrapping paper

Christmas, bah humbug. Well, it seems that the season of goodwill does bring out the Scrooge in a lot of us.

A recent study found out that we have a number of ‘grudge’ purchases we feel forced to make, and a number of Christmas ‘gripes’ that really get on our nerves. And all of these gripes, groans and grudges involve money. So how do you avoid wasting money on stuff you don’t need?

The UK’s Top 10 Christmas grudge-purchases

Alright, let’s dim the Christmas tree lights, turn off the festive tunes and get down to a real yuletide money moan. In reverse order the top 10 biggest Christmas money bugbears are…

10. Advent calendars: kids love them but we hate paying over the odds for them. And they seem to get more and more expensive every year. They’re even selling advent calendars for animals now.

Why not just make your own advent calendar with the kids? They’ll enjoy that a lot more.

9. The ‘work Christmas party’: if you’re lucky enough to have a job, the works Christmas party will always fill you with dread. What’s more if you have to spend money on tickets, clothes or drinks only to end up sitting with Dave from accounts (with apologies to Dave) you’ll understand the financial pain it causes.

We’d suggest you budget for this in advance and put some money aside in October and November for those Christmas parties you can’t get out of.

8. Christmas Crackers: all you want is the silly paper hat; instead you have to pay hand over fist for the rubbish joke, rubbish toy and all the packaging.

We’d suggest buying Crackers in the January sales – put money aside to do this for Christmas 2016!

7. Secret Santa for work colleagues: this is seen as worse than the works do. Being forced to buy a gift for colleague makes your blood boil.

We’d suggest re-gifting for this one – there’s no shame in doing this.

6. Presents for relatives you dislike: they get you a present every year, so you have to get them one, even if you don’t like them and only ever see them at Christmas. What makes it worse is that when you open your gift, you realise you spent miles more on them than they did on you!

We say don’t waste your money. Go for the basics like socks and chocolates, and stick to your budget.

5. Wrapping paper: overpriced, useless and lasts about ten seconds. In the UK we really hate paying for wrapping paper, only to see it ripped off in a matter of seconds. A bit like how we feel when we’re buying it!

Always recycle birthday and Christmas wrapping paper as it’ll save you hard earned money.

4. Sending Christmas cards: the fourth most hated grudge purchase. But if you don’t send the yearly Christmas card you’ll feel like a social outcast.

Send an email or a Facebook message instead or use online e-cards. You don’t need to send cards any more.

3. Parking costs while Xmas shopping: if it isn’t bad enough that you get ripped off in the shops, you’ve also got to pay through the nose for parking. It’s enough to set your blood pressure through the roof!

It might be difficult in the cold weather but walk, cycle or get the bus if you have to go into town; if you don’t use online shopping instead!

2. Paying more when eating out: the second most resented thing about Christmas. People hate that some restaurants and pubs charge more for a meal at this time of year.

We say eat at home, cook from fresh and save your money. Instead of going out with friends invite them to your house instead.

1. Uneaten food: unsurprisingly the number one money grudge for the Christmas period. It drives us all up the wall when we see food especially bought for the Christmas period go past its sell-by date and needs to be binned. What a rotten waste of your cash!

We say plan your shopping, stick to a list and only buy exactly what you need.

Christmas money memories

The truth of all these gripes and money groans is that we know, deep down that Christmas isn’t about money and gifts at all. Christmas is about memories, and they don’t need to cost the earth. Have a Christmas to remember, whatever your means.

Matthew worked as an IVA drafter prior to working in social media. In a former life he wrote scripts for Eastenders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks. He has 3 chickens, 2 dogs and a rabbit.

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  • Karen

    I start my Christmas shopping in the January sales, Christmas Pudding (long shelf life),wrapping paper,cards,crackers and gift packs. Both my children have birthdays by end of February so party food can be picked up discounted also perfect for birthday presents as shops clearing for new stock. Christmas cards received this year get recycled into gift tags for next year. If planning ahead remember where you’ve stored it rather than having to get again as you can’t find it. Lists of who you’ve bought for and what, also if re-gifting who gave as to save the embarrassing moment when you realise by the look on their face it was what they gave you previously.

    • moneyaware

      Great advice Karen,

      Particularly the point about regifting. My Grandma and Great Auntie exchanged the same soap gift pack with each other several times over a number of years (though I think it was more of a passive aggressive thing rather than embarrassing mistake!)

  • TrottieTrue

    I think sending Christmas cards is a nice tradition though. People get a buzz from receiving something in the post that you’ve taken the care to write out. Foregoing it for e-cards and Facebook messages seems a bit cold-hearted just to save money!

  • Lorraine Pulfer

    I always recycle my Christmas cards by using them as gift tags the following year. Just cut out the pretty pictures from cards you have received, put a little hole in the top and thread through some string. It works even better if you use the patterned scissors.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Lorraine,
      Thanks for the tip – that’s a great idea to give old cards a new lease of life!
      Kind regards,