Financial Planning

6 December money tips to avoid problems in 2023

6 December money tips to avoid problems in 2023

This content is for information and inspiration purposes only. It should not be taken as financial or investment advice. To receive personalised, regulated financial advice regarding your affairs please consult an independent financial adviser.

British households spend, on average, £740 more in December compared to about £2,400 in other months – primarily to pay for the festive season. Moreover, debt-financed December spending worked out at £439 per person in 2021, leading many people to paying off their credit cards months afterwards (even as far as Easter). With the rising cost of living in 2022, however, it is even more important to have a firm grip on your money this December. It is possible to enjoy wonderful festivities without jeapordising your financial plan. In this article, we share six ideas for households to help manage money effectively in December. We hope this is helpful to you. If you want to discuss your own financial plan with us, please contact our team for more information or to access personalised financial advice:

020 8366 4400 or


#1 Use family gifts or Secret Santa

You may be in the habit of sending a gift to each cousin, niece and nephew in December. Yet these can quickly lead to a high total bill. In 2021, the average spend was £388 (down £20 on the previous year). One idea to keep down costs is to consider sending a gift to families rather than to individuals – e.g. your sister’s family rather than individual gifts for her, her husband and each of their three children. Secret Santa can also help keep costs down amongst friends, siblings and colleagues so that each person does not feel obliged to give to everyone.


#2 Limit (or avoid) paying later

If you do not have the money to buy the gifts, food or other festive items you want, then think about ways to cut your spending. Paying on the credit card (unless you have funds to pay it off quickly) could undermine your disposable income in 2023 as you get saddled with hefty interest payments. If you have a robust plan to repay a loan within an interest-free period, then make sure you do so before the 0% period ends. Be careful about paying on finance unless you have carefully mapped out your income and expenses for the coming months and wish to preserve your short-term savings.


#3 Keep a clear record of spending

It can help to set yourself a total limit on how much you intend to spend on festive-related items (e.g. £300). Try to divide this budget into different categories – e.g. food, decorations, gifts and “other” items – and then take a note whenever you make a payment related to any of them. You might make do with a simply pen and notebook, whilst others may benefit more from money managing apps. This will help you notice if you start to near your budget limit, adjusting your spend accordingly to stick to it. If possible, try to “underspend” within each category to increase your chances of having a big left over once you have gone through your list. This can allow you to justify buying something extra special.


#4 Watch the energy bill

A key part of December festivities is the lights and enjoying feeling cosy indoors. Yet with energy prices running high in 2022, households need to take care not to let their gas and electricity costs run out of control. Some simple tricks can help with energy efficiency. Keeping radiators clear, for instance, can help heat spread throughout a room (rather than getting trapped behind furniture). LED lights can also help to bring down the bills, as can allowing excess heat emitted from your cooker to fill the room after dinner.


#5 Watch out for delivery costs

In April 2022, there was a 10p increase in Royal Mail stamp price – pushing the cost of a first class stamp from 85p to 95p. Sending packages (e.g. gifts) can also quickly add up in price. Some people may be able to mitigate these costs earlier in the year by preparing December gifts far in advance and dropping them off during family visits in different parts of the country. Now, however, it can help to focus your online shopping through one vendor to try and bundle up the packaging and delivery costs (hopefully saving some money). Certain platforms might also offer a time-limited free trial for a higher membership package, allowing for free delivery. Make sure you cancel within the terms and time limit, however, if you opt for this and do not want to continue it into 2023.


#6 Spend time and effort before money

Often, it is the thoughtfulness that counts more in a gift than the amount spent on it. A spouse may greatly appreciate a peronalised collection of memorable photos of you relationship in a cheap frame. Children might enjoy a table card game that you designed – including pictures of them, their toys and favourite places on the cards. Musical and artistic people may relish in painting a picture, writing a song or poem for a loved one. New parents might jump for joy if offered a “free” babysitting vouncher! If you can commit the time and effort to create low-cost, thoughtful gifts this festive season, it could surprise you, your loved ones and your wallet!



Interested in discussing your financial plan with an experienced financial adviser? Get in touch today to discuss your financial plan with a member of our team here at Cedar House via a free, no-commitment consultation:

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