Cut Christmas costs, not cheer, with 6 money-saving alternatives

4 min | 28 November 2022

Emmy Jenkins

Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive. Often, we put pressure on ourselves to buy heaps of presents and deck out our homes. But what if I told you that you could still enjoy Christmas without the hefty price tag?

In 2021, the average person's typical expected spending was £1,100 at Christmas. For some of us, this sum means worsening debt over the winter holidays.

Here are some things that people are spending extra on and some affordable alternatives that won't leave you feeling short-changed.

Electric-powered decorations

It’s no secret that energy bills have risen this year. Christmas decorations that aren’t energy efficient, like big inflatable characters or old incandescent fairy lights, will use more electricity than energy-efficient decorations.


  • Solar-powered decorations. While it might not seem ‘sunny’ in the winter, the UV rays will still charge your solar decorations. Just remember to brush any snow off outdoor panels
  • Looking for decor with low energy ratings. If you don’t want to rely on solar completely, find decorations that use less energy. Look for the energy-efficiency rating on the box and pick products with a green score

Last-minute gifts

During the Christmas shopping frenzy, you might forget who you're buying presents for and possibly end up paying excess in delivery charges for last-minute gifts.


  • Creating a gift budget. The key to budgeting is planning

Write a list of the people you need to buy gifts for. Then set yourself a realistic budget that you can allocate or save up in time.

Disposable gift wrapping

Not only is disposable gift packaging harmful to the environment, but it’s also an expensive cycle: buy, wrap, tear off, throw away and repeat the next year.


  • Saving the wrapping. 14% of people reuse wrapping to cut Christmas costs. While this measure may seem extreme, saving bows, ribbons and bags can considerably reduce gift wrapping outgoings
  • Reusable gift wrap. If you’re looking for an alternative option, try furoshiki. It’s the Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in fabric

Your Christmas card circle

It’s not just the price of physical cards, it’s also the cost of postage. For example, the cost of first class stamps has gone up by 11% this year.


  • Hand-making Christmas cards. For some people, Christmas cards are the only way to stay in touch with certain people. Instead of buying pricey cards, try making your own
  • Sending digital Christmas cards. If you want to cut out the costs of postage, a digital Christmas card can be sent over social media or email and there are sites that can customise a design and send on your behalf

New outfits for every occasion

Social media pressure can make us feel like we need a new outfit for every occasion – the big day, friends’ festive get-togethers and office parties.


  • Wearing clothes you already own
  • Buying your party clothes second-hand. Online marketplaces and charity shops often have all kinds of fashionable outfits for a fraction of the cost
  • Shopping the sales. Grab bargains in the sales for next year’s Christmas outfit. You can also do this with gifts

Overly generous portions

Brits waste a lot of food during the festive period. We all want to provide a generous, glorious spread – which is possible without costing a small fortune.


  • Following the recipe. It’s always tempting to throw in a few extra roasties. However, most online recipes or cookbooks are pretty spot-on with portion sizes
  • Condensing your menu. While it’s nice to offer plenty of choices, lower your costs by focusing on offering quality over quantity. Create a signature starter over lots of picky bits. Offer two cracking homemade desserts instead of 10 store-bought cheesecakes
  • Christmas Potluck. Why not ask your friends and family to help you create a hearty family meal? You cook the main dish and ask your guests to bring sides and desserts. That way everyone gets to show off their cooking, and you can split the costs

The bells and whistles without the big price tag

Christmas should be about making memories and taking photos, not about spending lots that could then cause worry over what January's credit card bill will be.

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