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Things You Can Do Now to Spend Less Money During Christmas
Money Management

Things You Can Do Now to Spend Less Money During Christmas

The festive season is here, and with it comes the excitement of planning celebrations, gift-giving, and creating lasting memories. However, this year, the economic challenges have cast a shadow over the usual merriment, prompting many to seek ways to enjoy the holidays without breaking the bank.

In a world with financial uncertainties, it's crucial to approach the holiday season with a strategic spending plan. As the calendar inches closer to January, you do not want to go into the new year with tighter finances, increased money stress, regret over the excessiveness of holiday expenditures, or worse, unplanned debt. 

To avoid all those circumstances, you need to approach the festive season with a clear strategy that will ensure you spend less money. This article will explore steps you can take now to ensure you don't break the bank nor sacrifice the joy and warmth that come with the holidays.

Read Also: 10 Easy Ways to Make Money this Festive Season

Create a Holiday Budget 

Establishing a holiday budget is paramount for financial well-being. The festivities come with various expenses, from gifts and travel to food and decorations. Without a clear spending plan, it's easy to get swept away in the holiday cheer and end up overspending. 

A budget helps you set realistic limits, preventing financial strain and allowing you to enjoy the season without compromising your financial stability. To create a holiday budget: 

  • Take a close look at your financial situation. Consider your income, savings, and any upcoming expenses. Determine an amount you can comfortably spend. 
  • Divide your budget into specific categories: gifts, travel, holiday parties, and meals. Assign realistic amounts to each category based on your overall budget. 
  • Think about what matters most to you during the holidays and prioritise. Is it the joy of giving gifts, hosting memorable gatherings, or creating a festive atmosphere at home? 
  • If the numbers don't align, be willing to make adjustments. Consider where you can cut back or make sacrifices. 
  • Separate your holiday money from your other savings. 

Read Also: 5 Smart Ways to Survive the Tough Holiday Season Ahead

Look For Ways To Make Travel Cheaper

Being together as a family to celebrate the holidays is an important tradition for many in Kenya. 

For some families, travelling is one of the most significant expenses, especially if they're a large one. For instance, if you are a family of five and need to travel from Nairobi to Western or Coast Province, you could spend upwards of Ksh15,000 for a return trip. 

Luckily, there are some steps you can take now to lower that cost. 

First, consider taking public transport. Driving or taking a personal car can make for a fun road trip, but you don't need any reminder of how expensive fuel is. 

Second, plan your trip in advance and buy your return ticket now. Most bus companies offer you the option to buy your tickets online, and buying them early can lower prices.

Finally, when the travelling day arrives, bring snacks with you for the journey. This can save you money on expensive food sold at stopover hotels in Nakuru or Mtito Andei.

Read Also: 10 Tips to Survive the Holidays if You Have No Money

Postpone Your Upcountry Trip to February

February might seem an unconventional time for a holiday celebration, but it brings many advantages, especially when it comes to travel expenses. This off-peak season allows you to capitalise on significantly lower travel costs than the hustle and bustle of the traditional December holidays.

For families with school-going children, February aligns perfectly with the school half-term holiday. By planning your upcountry trip during this period, you save on travel costs and ensure your kids don't miss out on valuable school days. However, you may need to get permission from your employer if you are in formal employment. For instance, you can work over the holiday and take a break in February. 

Postponing your travelling to February could also be your only choice if you aren't financially ready. Travelling upcountry is a significant financial expense and, as such, requires enough preparation. Starting now could be late if you have not been saving for and planning for the last couple of months. To afford an unplanned travel could mean digging into your savings or taking a loan. 

Read Also: 6 Reasons to Postpone your December Vacation to February 

Set Aside Your School Fees Money

The holiday season brings joy, festivities, and, for many, a spike in expenses. As parents, it's crucial to strike a balance between creating memorable celebrations and fulfilling ongoing responsibilities, especially when it comes to our children's education. One effective strategy to achieve this is to set aside your school fees money before diving into the holiday spending spree.

Holiday overspending is a common pitfall and may leave you scrambling to cover the educational costs that await in the upcoming term. The repercussions extend beyond financial strain; parents might resort to loans to bridge the gap. And your kids might be forced to extend their holidays and effectively miss classes. 

Separating holiday finances from other necessary expenditures, particularly school fees, is a disciplined approach to managing your budget. This approach allows you to create a financial barrier that safeguards this essential aspect of your child's life. 

When the holidays arrive, you will be able to avoid overspending and when schools open in January, you won't need to worry about if you have enough money left to cover to pay fees and buy school supplies. 

Make Your Gifting List In Advance 

The holiday season is about exchanging gifts with loved ones and spreading joy. However, it can leave a dent in your wallet if not approached wisely. One effective way to manage your expenses during Christmas is by making your gift list and even buying the gifts in advance.   

Creating a gift list might seem simple, but its importance cannot be overstated. Without a plan, you risk falling prey to the allure of last-minute deals, extravagant gifts, and the pressure of finding something perfect for everyone on your list. 

Start by listing the individuals you plan to gift – family, close friends, and acquaintances. Delve deeper into each person's interests and preferences. This thoughtful approach adds meaning to your gifts and helps you tailor choices to fit your budget.

Shortlist gift options based on your budget, the recipient's preferences, and your relationship with them. This planning ensures you're not scrambling at the last minute, avoiding impulsive and expensive decisions. Making your list in advance opens the door to strategic shopping, taking advantage of sales and discounts before Christmas.

Finally, avoid over-committing to an extensive list or succumbing to societal expectations. Be realistic about your budget and prioritise meaningful gestures over extravagance. Stay vigilant for impromptu purchases that might sway you from your pre-planned list.

Learn From Your Last Holiday Mistakes 

Overspending during Christmas can lead to debt accumulation and financial strain in the following year. If you made some mistakes last holiday, your primary goal this Christmas should be to avoid repetition. 

You can do this by reflecting on previous errors, identifying bad spending patterns to make informed decisions, and creating a more realistic budget to ensure a financially responsible holiday season.

For example, if last-minute shopping and impulsive purchases derailed your budget last year, you should focus on mindful spending this holiday. For example, you can start shopping early, using a list and avoiding retail tricks supermarkets and malls use to get you to spend more. 

Identify areas where you overspent and understand the reasons behind those choices. Is it because you lacked a budget or didn't stick to it? If that is the case, consider creating a realistic budget for the upcoming holidays. Allocate specific amounts for gifts, decorations, and festivities, and ensure that everything aligns with your financial capabilities.

Set Boundaries With Family and Friends 

It's no secret that the pressure to exchange extravagant gifts or attend costly events can quickly escalate expenses. But if you've decided to cut down your spending this holiday, you need to set boundaries. 

Setting boundaries is not about being stingy but rather a proactive measure to align everyone's expectations. It's an honest way to ensure mutual understanding and prevent financial strain or post-holiday budget regret. Boundaries will help you avoid overspending driven by peer pressure or the desire to outdo last year's festivities. 

Therefore, let your friends know you won't be attending any expensive out-of-town New Year's Eve events, and if you don't plan to travel upcountry for a family reunion, let them know early. 

And if you are cash-strapped and won't be able to finance or take part in any holiday tradition this year, let every participant know early. Similarly, if you intend to take a new gift-giving approach to your kids and friends, informing them early about your decision could be helpful to avoid disappointment later.

Read Also: How to Set Financial Boundaries For The Holidays With Family  

Plan All Your Holiday Activities and Get Everyone Onboard 

Going into the holidays with a well-thought-out plan and the commitment of everyone involved can help you navigate the festive season without breaking the bank. 

First, planning helps you identify the must-haves and the nice-to-haves. This ensures that you allocate your resources to the most meaningful aspects of the holidays, preventing unnecessary purchases or hitting above your weight. 

Second, it helps with stress reduction caused by last-minute preparations and can prevent regrets and post-holiday buyer's remorse. When you plan in advance, you will enjoy the festivities, avoid overspending, and relish the memories. 

Hold a family or group meeting to discuss holiday plans. Establish a budget, allocate responsibilities, and encourage open communication. Consider using shared documents or budgeting apps for transparency. Getting everyone on board ensures accountability, prevents peer pressure and allows for shared responsibilities. 

Read Also: 10 Festive Season Hacks for Cash-Strapped Parents

Get Crafty to Save on Gifts (DIY Gifting)

Gifting is hard, and the pressure to find the perfect gifts can lead to overspending, which can be counterproductive when you plan to spend less this holiday. Here's where getting crafty and resorting to DIY gifting can help you give thoughtful gifts with a personal touch and also save you money. 

DIY gifts can cost a fraction of store-bought alternatives. Whether it's homemade candles, personalised ornaments, or hand-knit scarves, the materials for these creations are typically more budget-friendly than pre-packaged items. 

Consider the recipient's preferences and start crafting gifts; tailoring your creations to their tastes enhances the sentimental value of the gift. If you are not crafty, look for easy-to-follow DIY projects that match your skill level. Websites, blogs, and video tutorials offer a wealth of ideas for beginners. 

Alternatively, you can visit your local artisan markets to buy or outsource your DIY gift ideas to experts. This might cost you more, but you will save money than buying pre-packaged items in supermarkets. 

Read Also: 6 Big Holiday Money Mistakes that You Might Regret Down Down The Road 


As the Christmas holiday approaches, it's essential to strike a balance between celebrating joyously and being mindful of your finances. While family traditions are cherished, it's crucial to remember that no tradition is worth going broke for. In the pursuit of creating lasting memories, it's wise to adopt strategies that allow you to enjoy the festivities while protecting your bottom line.

When it comes to Christmas spending, one key aspect is capitalising on the numerous deals available during the holiday season. However, be on the lookout for retail tricks designed to entice impulsive spending.

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Farah Nurow is an experienced Content Writer who enjoys writing creative and educative articles meant to provoke readers' thoughts. He loves sunny weather and thick books. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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