Christmas budgeting tips

I just took a look at my bill for the wines I’ve bought for the big day (and the various other days around it). It was a bit of a shock if I’m honest.

Just wondering if anyone has some handy tips for sticking to a budget over Christmas so that the cost doesn’t get out of hand? Not just money-saving tips, but also suggestions for ways of avoiding spending without realising.

One area we’ve thought about in advance this year: My partner’s family lives in different parts of Canada so we always make a point of chatting to them all if we can. It was a shock to discover last year that a 20 minute call cost over £5 so we’ve pre-scheduled FaceTime and Zoom calls with everyone instead this year (plus we get to show off our Christmas jumpers).

Do let us know if you have any suggestions of your own

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I start saving for Christmas a year in advance. So this year I’ve managed to save £500 (for Xmas 2019) - the max I’ll spend - and stashed it away with Atom for an initial 6 month and then I’ll likely refix for 3 month to attract a little extra interest (where were you when I needed you Dozens!?!).

This year I’ll be doing the Monzo IFTTT penny challenge in conjunction with spend roundups. The penny challenge means you start off on the 1st of Jan saving 1p, then 2p on the second (and so on) until the end of the year. I reckon I will have around £800 which I can split up and save accordingly this time next year. It’s a great way to passive save - just leaves your account automatically every morning and at max is the equivalent of a coffee.

Budget wise I like Monzos budgeting although categories are lacking. I add an :christmas_tree: to the notes to get around this so I can keep check of my spending (using their transaction search).

I’ve been trying to duplicate my budget using Emma…but I just think the UI is so cluttered.

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ha! We’ll make sure we help you for the next round, don’t worry :slight_smile:

Yes, an interesting way to gamify the saving process - though could make December a little costly, so be prepared!

When I first heard about this I thought it was suggesting you double the savings each day … would be a great demonstration of “exponential growth”. Do you know the story of the rice and chessboard? :exploding_head:

Thanks for the interesting feedback on the budgeting tools - definitely something I’ll look into

Never seen that before - that’s really interesting. Just tried to get my partner to guess and she went for 2000…

It does indeed make December expensive, but it’s the month I do the least in the shopping part of my budget (not groceries) and the month I get a performance bonus so it works out nicely for me. If anyone wants to try it you can actually run a reverse version of the 1p challenge where you pay £3.65 on New Year’s Day running down to 1p on the 31st December.

As a side note for anyone interested the penny challenge alone will passively save you £667.95 or £671.61 in 2020 (leap year!)


Christmas is one of those times when I plan to put money away each month throughout the way and then use for spending nearer the time. But this never happens!! Every year I also say that I will buy presents throughout the year and not panic buy in December. Again never happens :smile:

Monzo have a feature where you can lock a savings pot. Maybe an idea is to put money into that locked pot and only access it in December. Or if you can tag a transaction as Christmas that would allow you to move money out of the pot for those purchases only.

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That’s quite dramatic :astonished:

I like the idea of a dedicated pot, but it would be rather harsh to make sure this is locked in a way that you could not access it if you wanted or needed it. It certainly would not make financial sense to have to find other money (e.g. an overdraft or loan) if you did really need it just to keep the pot locked. However, if it encourages you not to spend it without consideration, then it would be good.

It could be interesting to add a second layer of confirmation I guess, at least to try and ensure that it is not used by accident or under the influence in some way.


You can unlock the pot by messaging support.

It’s just a little layer of friction to try and keep your savings as just that.