Keeping to a budget when you’re not keeping Christmas

man confused by christmas gifts when he doesn't celebrate during holiday season

This one goes out to all the readers who aren’t Christmas-keepers! Whether you’re beholden to Hanukkah, or eschew religion altogether, this time of year is expensive even without Christmas on the agenda. With a cost of living crisis on our hands, even avoiding Christmas can get costly, and we’re here with tips on how to keep those costs down.

Unexpected silly season costs

Chances are, you’ve noticed a couple of expenses starting to pile up, even if you don’t have to buy a tree or check off a Christmas list. Wondering what some of those costs could be? 

We’ve got you covered - here are just a few:

  • Secret Santa gifts for coworkers
  • Public holiday surcharges at venues
  • Airfares
  • Accommodation
  • Social events - end of year dinners, New Year’s Eve parties, etc
  • Petrol

Some, we’ve already shared some tips for, like keeping down your petrol prices or finding good gifts for coworkers. There are ways to avoid the merry mark up in other areas, from little tips to major changes.

Ways to keep your your end of year budget from busting

Here are a few hacks that will help keep end-of-year costs down:

Shift travel plans

Travelling over the holiday season is bound to cost you significantly more than any other time of year. Demand for domestic flights is majorly elevated, and accommodation is likely to book out. By shifting your plans to a slightly less in-demand time of year, post-New Year’s Eve, you’re likely to make some significant savings on your travel expenses. 

If your travel dates are non-negotiable, try to stay savvy with your plans. You can minimise costs on flights by being flexible with days of the week you’re willing to fly, opting for a low-cost carrier (and packing light!), or scouring for sales. Make the most of credit card rewards points, and look for last minute deals on accommodation.

Make budget-conscious plans

Having a big dinner? Opt for a potluck or bring-a-dish style that will save your on holiday grocery bills

Thinking about going to a big, ticketed New Year’s Eve event? Think about how much time you’ll be there, and whether or not it’s worth it - you might be better off having a picnic at a park, or enjoying champagne with friends at home!

There are plenty of ways to make plans that won’t break the bank, from making the most of the great outdoors to avoiding bookings on public holidays with pricey surcharges. But there’s an art to arranging things in a way that works for you.

Avoid unnecessary gift swaps

As a person who grew up without Christmas, I’m constantly fighting the urge to get gifts for every person around me. It’s not sustainable, it’s not affordable, and it doesn’t seem like it’s socially correct either - but I never learnt the decorum!

Fight past those frustrating social barriers and ask people what’s happening with gifts. You might find that your friends all know you don’t observe, and don’t expect anything from you - even if they’re gift-givers themselves. 

With people you do want to give gifts to, perhaps as a symbol of thanks or gratitude, there’s no underestimating the value of a homemade gift. Put your hobby to work: knit a scarf, glaze a pot, paint a portrait or write a poem. A gift like that is sure to go down a treat without costing you a fortune.

Want more money news this season? Stay on top of seasonal stories at our family finance hub.

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