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How to get over your Christmas spending hangover


If you find mid January the toughest time of year for your finances, you won’t be alone. With the parties, presents, travel and food, as fun as Christmas is, it can really take its toll financially. On average, British people spend £868 on food, drink and decorations and, of course, presents at Christmas, and that can be a big financial burden come January.
Whether you have spent too much on presents, forgot to factor in the cost of entertaining or fell short on your Christmas bonus, here at, we have put together a guide to help everyone trying to get over their Christmas spending habits.

The hard part

It’s usually around about this time in January when you start to receive credit card, store card or bank statements. Unfortunately, it is also the time to be honest with yourself and write down what you have spent this Christmas. It may be painful, but it's important to know exactly what you have spent on what, and what you owe to who.

If you’ve overspent using credit, make sure you check out the interest rates on you cards and your overdrafts. These can add up quite quickly and it’s important to see the difference in interest rates and charges you might have accumulated, so it will be easier to prioritise paying them back.

If you have taken out a pay day loan to help pay for the cost of Christmas, it is important to try and get that paid back as soon as possible. They are designed for short term lending, and interest rates can skyrocket if you don’t pay the loan back in the agreed timescale.

If you really feel like you have got in way over you head this year, try not to panic. With credit, especially credit and store cards, it’s usually best to try and pay back what you have spent on the card the month after. If this is not possible, try to pay back at least something above the minimum payment each month. If you find all you can afford is the minimum payment, you may have to keep paying that back for a long time as interest will also be added each month, so it will only be a small amount of the actual money you have spent that you will be paying back.

If you feel you can not afford the minimum payment on your loan or cards, can not pay back your pay day loan or are incurring massive overdraft fees each day, it might be time to talk to someone who can help. You can call us and speak to one of our financial advisers, and there are also free debt charities such a Step Change and the Citizens Advice Bureau who will be able to talk you through what you can do next.


You might not have used credit to pay for Christmas, but still find yourself short on money come January. The most important thing to do now is to make a budget of the money you have left, AND STICK TO IT. I understand that sometimes sticking to a budget can be the hardest thing in the world, but if you think “It’s just for one month!” you should be able to get through it with a bit of willpower.

There are lots of budget planners available online, which you can then print out and stick on your fridge, your bedroom wall, the bathroom mirror if needs be! Once you have figured out what you can afford, you may need to alter and prioritise your spending to make your money last.

Shopping at cheaper supermarkets, making food for work at home and sacrificing little luxuries this month may be enough. If you are really short, as in you are struggling to meet your rent or mortgage payments without going hungry this month, its important to let your bank or your landlord know exactly what is going on, and when it can be resolved. Check what food you might have in your freezer left over, and plan exactly what meals you will be having each night, and work out how much they will cost.

Sell Sell Sell

It’s happened to us all. On Christmas day, a family member or friend gives you yet another pair of novelty socks, or a gift set that will be lying on your bathroom floor for years. We’ve all had to utter the disappointed “thank you”, but there is a way you can use these gifts to your advantage.

If you have received a present from someone, which is not to your taste, doesn’t fit or is something you already have, don’t just leave it to rot in your storage cupboard, resell it on Ebay (link) or Gumtree! (link)
There will be a number of people looking to snatch up offers around January, as for the savvy shoppers out there they know its one of the best times to grab a bargain. You may be able to sell your gift for a fair amount, instead of leaving it in the cupboard to be forgotten!

Become a coupon master

January is a notoriously quiet time for retailers, as many people already have what they were planning to buy through presents, or have overspent. If you are struggling to make ends meet this month, it might be beneficial to start using coupons. If you get really into it, you can potentially save a whopping 70-90% off your grocery bill per week. Start looking in your local newspapers and checking your junk mail- there might be massive savings to help you get through January by spending as little as possible.

Chat to family and friends online

If your phone bill is usually the length of your arm from chatting to your family and friends, it may be time to look for alternatives.

After all the festive fun it’s really nice to have a big catch up with everyone and reminisce once you get back to normal. Rather than making a phone call, which could cost you your monthly credit or use up your minutes, why don’t you ask your close ones to download Skype or another free video call service, so you can talk for free over the internet? It will save you money if you are a regular phone caller, and it will be nice to see a face to their voices!


The most important thing to do is not to panic. It’s incredibly easy to overspend at Christmas time, and January is a hard month for almost everyone. If you are really worrying about money, follow our advice here and try to work out exactly what you have left to last you till the end of the month. If after January, you are still worried about making ends meet, it may be time to seek some advice on your finances. You can call us here on 0800 092 1245, or speak to a debt charity such as Stepchange.

If you think you will be back to normal after January, February might be time to start saving for Christmas 2015, so you don’t end up in the same boat again next year!

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