As many households continue to face increasing financial pressures due to the rising cost of living, the upcoming festive season prompts the question, how can we keep control of our finances and still have a good time?

The festive season can exacerbate the mental health effects of financial pressure. Research from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute in the UK indicated that around 25% of people experienced increased levels of mental distress during the holiday season due to financial concerns.

YouGov reports that the average Christmas spending in the UK in 2022 was £642, showing a slight decrease from £670 in 2021. Nevertheless, households typically increase their spending by £740 in December, which is a 29% surge from the usual monthly spend, according to the Bank of England in 2020.

Effective Cost-Saving Strategies

One key aspect to effective financial management in the lead-up to Christmas is setting a budget and sticking to it. We explore effective cost-saving strategies designed to help make the most of your money during the festive season.


Gifts are the biggest expense for households over Christmas. Explore the following suggestions to efficiently reduce costs:

  • Crafting home-made gifts are a great way of giving meaningful and budget-friendly presents.
  • Initiate secret Santa arrangements or agree reasonable spending limits with friends and family so that everyone can enjoy gift-giving within their means.
  • If your family is large, consider making a pact to concentrate spending on the younger members.
  • Utilise sales leading up to the festive period. Also, consider delaying gift exchanges until December 27th to make the most of the reduced gifts.
Online Shopping

There are many discounted products online and every year more of us turn to the internet for shopping convenience and good prices. If you’re online shopping, consider the following:

  • Hidden shipping costs and fees.
  • BEWARE of scams! If something is ridiculously cheap from a small outlet, ensure you conduct thorough research before committing to a purchase.
Say No to Impulse Spending

At this time of year with so many lovely things in the shops packaged and presented to tempt us, it is all too easy to spend on impulse.

  • Resist the temptation and take a minute to pause, research products, read reviews and do price comparisons before committing to that spend.
  • Ask yourself can I afford this? Can I buy a less expensive alternative?
Food Saving Tips

The average cost of a typical British Christmas dinner to feed four people is expected to be around £70 – £80 this year. To keep your food shopping costs low, explore the tips below:

  • Cost-share your festive meals by asking your guests to bring dishes, snacks and drinks to share
  • Consider alternatives such as a crown instead of a whole turkey, or explore alternative protein options
  • Go for budget items where you are less likely to notice the difference e.g. vegetables
  • Look in your store cupboard for items you already have and don’t need to buy e.g. gravy
  • Make use of loyalty cards and schemes
Avoid Debt

Over the festive period maintaining sound financial management by avoiding unnecessary debt is crucial. It is important to:

  • Prioritise your immediate needs to cover rent, bills and other essential expenses before allocating money to discretionary spending.
  • Give yourself a reasonable budget and use the tips above to keep within your spending limits.

In summary, set reasonable spending limits and stick to them, avoid debt, no impulse purchases and shop around for deals. By following these guidelines, households can relax and enjoy the holiday season without compromising financial wellbeing.

If you have access to PAM Wellbeing’s EAP service and you are feeling overwhelmed due to financial pressures this festive season, please reach out for emotional support via the helpline or using your organisation code. Alternatively, request this information from your manager or HR department to access your EAP.

Useful Resources:

Which – How to Spot an Online Shopping Scam

To assist with seeking out the best prices check out:

Kelkoo Shopping Search Engine | Online shopping & Price comparison

PriceRunner UK – Save by comparing prices from 6,400 British stores

Google Shopping – Shop Online, Compare Prices & Where to Buy