This is a slightly different post to what you are used to from The Little Life of T, but I feel it is a post that is of the upmost importance in light of the current state of the UK's economy. We are in the midst of the biggest cost of living crisis to hit the UK. I know that a lot of us, regardless of our jobs and incomes, are tightening our belts wherever we can (I do not mean to be insensitive here as I do really understand and sympathise that many families simply cannot tighten their belts any further) and doing what we can to cut costs and our energy usage wherever possible. 

Earlier this year I was planning the biggest family celebration for Christmas with it being the first Christmas Alex will really be a part of; he was just 3 days old last Christmas and Steve and I were feeling the full force of parenthood. Last Christmas did not feel Christmassy in the slightest and I wanted to make this year extra special. Of course, financially (I am on maternity leave) and with the cost of everything set to rise the closer we get to Christmas we have decided to do Christmas on a budget this year. I am really embracing the whole "Christmas is about spending time as a family and not gifts" mentality. In order to ease my financial anxiety slightly, I have been researching how I can lessen the impact of Christmas on the old bank account and looking at areas where we could cut back. I thought I would share my findings with you and the things we are doing this year in the hope that it might help even one person this year! 

Tips for cutting the cost of Christmas

Save Steadily

This has always come up as the first tip for cutting the cost of Christmas. I know this tip will not be possible for everyone, but if it is possible for you it is certainly worth doing. 

I have only recently started to do this, but I am putting away a small amount each month into a savings account ready for Christmas so I know I have money available for the Christmas food shop, presents etc. I basically made a spreadsheet of everyone who I needed to purchase presents for, detailed the amount I would be spending on them and then added everything up to know how much money I needed to save to cover presents. I also thought back at previous Christmas food shops and worked out a rough idea of what we would need and set a budget of £150 for the food shop to last us Christmas Eve to New Year. of course, this is a bigger budget than previous years as we are hosting two sets of parents this year. I now know how much I need to save over the next few months to be able to make Christmas work. This helps as we have a budget for the costs that can spiral and we know where we stand with presents etc. 

Have conversations with family about presents

My second tip is to have a polite conversation with your family about presents this year. As I am on maternity leave I have had to mention to family members that I simply cannot afford to splurge in the same way we previously have on presents. Steve and I have also agreed we are not doing presents for each other and are focusing on Alex instead. These were conversations that can be quite awkward, but I actually found that everyone was thinking the same this year and they were relieved that I had broached the subject first. 

Shop at home first

I have started doing this for the weekly shop and found I have saved myself a lot of money. It is easy to forget what you buy every year, such as wrapping paper / cards and end up purchasing duplicates. Sometimes we also purchase bargains in the Christmas sales to keep for next year and forget about those too so shop your cupboards and Christmas bags first - you'll be surprised what you already have lurking at home. 


Following on from the shopping at home first, we all get presents we do not want and end up keeping as a 'just in case' - why not recycle those and use them for other family members or friends. Just make sure not to gift to the person who gave it to you as that could be a little bit awkward.

Stick to a list

When doing the Christmas shop make a list of everything you need and stick to it. I know little extras can be a nice addition to the basket, but I find they always add up (I get conned by the middle aisle of Aldi every time!). I would also recommend using your chosen store's online shop first to calculate the cost of your food shop before going so you have a rough idea of the cost of your shop before it smacks you in the face at the till. I usually shop online for the weekly shop and click and collect, but I will be going in person for the Christmas shop.

Start creating a Christmas stash

If you have the space creating a Christmas stash of non-perishable food and drink is a great way to spread the cost of Christmas. It is usually around this time when the Christmas bargains / stock comes onto the shelves and you can find good deals on alcoholic beverages, biscuits and chocolate. You could start small by adding one or two additional items to your weekly shop and overtime it will add up. I am thinking we will start adding an extra bottle of wine or alcohol to the food shop around the end of October to enable us to have a good stock for entertaining before the Christmas rush.

Try homemade

Pinterest has become both a best friend and demon to me since having Alex. Early morning scrolling and getting ideas whilst up for night feeding etc. has led me down a rabbit hole of crafty projects that would be cute to do. 

I was planning on doing handmade cards for everyone this year, but I think Alex is too young. If you already have paper and drawing utensils available why not ask the kids to make home cards or draw a picture you can frame for a present. Another sweet idea, which I will be doing, is buying a canvas and either doing footprint or handprint paintings. You can do butterflies or trees or search more options on Pinterest. 

If you are an avid baker you could make a Christmas cake or create deconstructed hot chocolates or cakes. Cake jars are another great idea. Homemade gifts are extremely thoughtful and can be a way to cut the cost of presents. 

Use vouchers and loyalty points

If you have been around for a while you know I rave about TESCO points, because we can exchange them for 3x their value and normally get a meal at the Axe and Cleaver cheaply. Clubcard have lots of options and we do have a little nest egg of points. We have also started getting our fuel from our local TESCO for the clubcard points. I know Boots have a good loyalty card if you shop there a lot. I am sure most places will have cards or points so it is definitely worth checking to try and maximise those points into prizes.

Buy online and shop around

This is an idea that we will be doing this year. Chances are you can find the presents you want online for less. We have planned to have a day of window shopping where we go and look at presents for Alex and then make a list of the items / toys we have viewed and liked. We will then look online to see if we can find those items cheaper online and will be making full use of shopping around and trying to find the best deals on all presents this year. Every little helps. 

Make more of less

I read this tip on Instagram and I actually really like this idea. Someone has suggested making a little treasure hunt out of the presents on Christmas day to spread the opening of the presents and make it an exciting hunt around the house. You could chose how to do this, but I liked the idea of the 'biggest' present being the final prize of the treasure hunt. I thought this made a very lovely twist on a traditional way to open presents and certainly will be something we will be trying to incorporate. It might be slightly difficult with a 1 year old though.

Know it is not about the presents, but about the time spent

My final tip is to remember that Christmas is never about the presents or the amount of money spent it is always about spending quality time together as a family. Some of the best Christmases I ever had as a child and growing up were spent when the whole family got together. We didn't exchange presents, but we had a lot of fun playing games, having drinks and just enjoying the hustle and bustle of having a full house. Steve and I are not getting each other Christmas presents this year, but we will have a full house of family with lovely food and drinks flowing and that to me is worth more than any kind of present! 

Those are the things we are doing this year to try and reduce and / or spread the cost of Christmas this year. I hope they have helped demonstrate the kind of areas where you may be able to save money this Christmas and if it has helped you or you have a tip that may help, please leave a comment below as it really helps my blog and helps support me. You never know your tip could really help someone save some pennies this Christmas.

Until Next Time 


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