How to enjoy Christmas without breaking the bank

Christmas is an expensive season, but you needn’t get in a financial pickle. Follow our top tips for frugal festivities to protect your wallet

By Sophie Cole

According to the Bank of England, the average family spends an additional £500 in December to keep up with the costs of Christmas. That gives an indication of the expense of the festive season – showing why some households feel the pinch as the jingle bells start to ring.

    Follow our savvy tips and you can enjoy plenty of Christmas cheer without the hefty price tag.  

But there’s no need to splurge a load of cash at Christmas. Follow our savvy tips and you can enjoy plenty of Christmas cheer without the hefty price tag.

1. Make a plan

Don’t even think about hitting the shops until you’ve had time to sit down and plan your Christmas giving.

Make a list of what you’ll buy everyone, thinking not only about what they’d like but how much you’re willing to spend per person.

Be sure to set yourself an overall budget and divide it between your loved ones however you see fit. If you don’t know the exact gift you’re going to buy for each person, try to jot down a detailed description (e.g. a floral bath bomb set for your niece; checked hankies for Dad) plus how much you want to spend on it.

And if you really want to resist the temptation to overspend, consider shopping online. That way, you won’t be drawn to unnecessary items that catch your eye in-store.

2. Agree a spending limit with friends and family

If you’ve got friends and family who splash some serious cash every Christmas, but you’re trying to keep costs down, it’s a recipe for awkwardness.

To make sure you’re not embarrassed by your modest gifts on the big day, it’s a smart idea to agree a spending limit for each person’s presents.

Suggest a budget of £10 per person, for example, and ask that everyone tries their best to stick to it.

Be upfront about your reasons for proposing the spending cap. Your loved ones won’t want you to feel embarrassed so will most likely stick to your agreed limit. Which means you won’t spend Christmas lunch feeling guilty about buying your Great Aunt Joan a pair of socks when she bought you a designer handbag.

3. Shop around for the best deals

Are kids crying out for this year’s latest toys and gadgets? Make sure you shop around for the best deal before whipping out your wallet.

Try to start shopping as early as possible to take advantage of deals that may crop up way before the Christmas rush. This will also help you avoid missing out on must-have items, or paying over the odds to buy them on eBay.

Even if you have left it to the last minute, a quick scan of a few retailers’ websites will show where you can get the cheapest price. A few choice clicks could save you a chunk of cash, especially on big-budget electrical items.

    ...a quick scan of a few retailers’ websites will show where you can get the cheapest price.  

4. Do it yourself for twice the fun and half the cost

If you really want to keep a lid on Christmas costs, make your festive season a DIY one.

This is particularly good if there are people in your life who already own everything they need. You’ll be able to gift them something that’s got sentimental value rather than monetary worth.

A personalised photo album or handmade cushion will always pull at the heartstrings of a much-loved friend or relative. And if you’re not the creative type, fill a box with random items (think facemasks, fluffy socks, sweets) and tie it with a pretty ribbon. That sort of thing always goes down a storm.

5. If you must borrow money, go to a reputable lender

Christmas really isn’t worth getting yourself into debt for, but if unexpected expenses mean you just don’t have the money this year, there are good and bad ways to borrow.

Never, ever, choose a payday loan or other kind of high-interest borrowing option, as costs will quickly spiral and become unaffordable. It’s also wise to be wary of retailers that offer a “spread the cost” option over a period of months or years, as this can increase the amount you pay overall by hundreds of pounds.

According to, an interest-free credit card is one of the best options, because it allows you to clear the balance without paying additional fees. Make sure you double-check the 0% fee period on the card, though, as this varies between lenders.

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

Published: 21 November 2019

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: How to make extra money with a side hustle

You may also enjoy: Everything you need to know about “Happy Christmas Ipswich”: an evening with Griff Rhys Jones and friends in aid of EACH

Jobs currently available

New job
Care Coordinator
Sector: Healthcare
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: BUC-CC
About the role

Back Up Care is recruiting for a Care Coordinator for their Colchester Office to work on the busy Healthcare desk.

Previous experience in scheduling care and support staff would be preferred and a healthcare background is an advantage. You will be extremely confident and well-presented and be able to use your own initiative.

This position will involve working alongside the Office Manager, supporting them with the day to day running of the desk.

The role will include:

  • Registration interviews with potential new candidates, and completion of all necessary compliance documents for successful candidates
  • Booking clients rotas to relevant active care staff, and ensuring that all care staff availability is booked to full potential
  • Service calls to clients that are using service meetings to ensure current clients’ needs are being met by Back Up Care
  • Telephone calls to prospect clients
  • Email and Mailers sent to prospect clients
  • Source leads for possible new business
  • Sales calls to obtain new business
  • Sales meetings to obtain new business
  • Ensure specialist software is updated with carer and client information and all bookings are entered onto the system
  • General administration duties
  • On-call rota duties

This requires you to work at an extremely fast pace, placing candidates into both temporary and permanent placements to match their qualifications, skills and experience.

There is a large amount of telephone calls liaison with candidates and clients, therefore excellent clear communicational skills are a must and excellent interpersonal skills are essential.

Other essential skills are:

  • An ability to work as part of a team and as a lone worker
  • A proven ability of effective time management and organisational skills
  • Excellent administrational skills are vital and attention to detail ensuring all candidates are compliant prior to assignment
  • Due to the requirements of the role, a driving licence and access to a vehicle for work purposes is essential

Holiday entitlement:

28 days holiday including public holidays, increasing to 33 days after 2-year service.

If you wish to apply for this role, please forward your CV to

Read more
New job
Maintenance Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £24,000 - £26,000 per annum
Location: Braintree, Essex
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910878
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Maintenance Engineer on behalf of a company based in Braintree, Essex to assist its maintenance team in planned maintenance and breakdown repairs throughout the site.

You will ideally have gained experience within an industrial/heavy engineering environment.

The focus of this role is to ensure the smooth day to day running of the company wide machines and buildings.

The role will require close coordination with the maintenance team.

The main department responsibilities in this role are as follows:

  • Assist in the planning of breakdown maintenance of the whole site.
  • Assist in the planning and implementation of new project installations.
  • Assist engagement and liaison with sub-contractors vehicles service operators and insurance inspectors.
  • Assist in purchasing maintenance-related products and services. Maintain efficient maintenance spares and factory consumables store.
  • Routine production-related tasks.
  • Site Security.
  • Assist in the management of staff overalls.
  • Assist in the management of company vehicles.
  • Supervision of labourers working in your immediate area.
  • Assist in Lean Manufacturing initiative and tidiness of your area.
  • Assist in Supervising apprentices/trainees when allocated to the maintenance department.
  • Provide full support to all maintenance team.
  • Provide feedback to Managers
  • Suggest improvements to procedures, equipment, operating methods etc. to increase efficiency.
  • Work to provide results in a timely manner in accordance with planned dates/times.
  • Note: Training will be provided on company-specific systems and machinery, but you should have a good understanding of mechanical and electrical engineering and be able to learn the roles above quickly.

Skills, Experience & Qualifications:

  • Apprenticeship minimum to NVQ Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Mechanical Engineering (Craft and Technician).
  • Hydraulics and pneumatics training.
  • Electrical qualifications - Electrical Maintenance basics at a minimum.
  • IOSH or NEBOSH qualification.
  • Ideally, 3+ years experience as a maintenance Technician/engineer.
  • Experience 3+ years of team working (2 or more people).
  • Ideally have 5 GCSE’s including Maths & English and Science (C or above).
  • A working knowledge of Windows and MS Office, Outlook, Word and Excel most importantly.

Candidates without these qualifications but who can demonstrate relevant knowledge and experience will be considered.

Hours of work:

  • 39 hours per week.
  • Monday to Thursday: 7.00am – 3.30pm.
  • Friday: 7.00am – 2.30pm.
Read more
New job
QA Manager
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Saffron Walden
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910873
About the role

Our client is seeking an experienced Quality Assurance Manager to join them on a permanent, full-time basis. This opportunity offers stability, longevity and professional development.

Reporting directly to the MD, the Quality Assurance Manager will be responsible for:

  • Maintaining and improving the Company's Quality Management System and ensure internal compliance
  • Working with all departments to ensure their procedures are being followed and to improve their internal and cross-functional processes and procedures
  • Ensure that the quality of current and newly introduced products is compliant and traceable
  • Coordinate Quality activities with all over departments
  • Develop and improve quality relationships with all customers of the Company
  • Responsible for all Quality activities and personnel in the Quality Department for the Company
  • Provide strong leadership in the day-to-day operations of the Quality department and mentor the members of the team
  • Establish performance goals for all departmental employees and monitor performance on a continual basis
  • Oversee all hiring, appraisal, training and discipline of Quality personnel
  • Member of the Company's Management team
  • Produce the Quality element of the company's annual Budget
  • Formulate the departmental strategy aligned to the overall Company strategy
  • Embed a Continuous Improvement culture within the Quality Dept and contribute to the Continuous Improvement programme across the site


  • HND or equivalent qualification in Engineering or a related technical field required
  • Minimum 5 years experience in a Manufacturing environment
  • Ability to articulate (verbally and in writing), defend and negotiate Quality expectations with internal and external customers at all levels of management
  • Good interpersonal skills with the ability to guide and educate/train at all levels
Read more
New job
Customer Service Administrator
Sector: Customer Service
Salary: £22,000 per annum
Location: Halstead
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910871
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting a well-regarded organisation at the forefront of its sector that is looking to add a Customer Service Administrator to its team, due to growth – based on the outskirts of Halstead.

The main purpose of the role is to service current and prospective customers by receiving and processing orders, enquiries and general information in a timely and courteous manner.

Key tasks include:

  • Answering incoming calls, giving product information, lead times, dealing with general enquiries and queries, redirecting calls to relevant departments
  • Raising and inputting orders and proforma invoices
  • Raising quotations
  • Amending orders, as required
  • Scanning documentation
  • Liaising with Areas Sales Managers and responding to their requests
  • Arranging couriers and/or carriers as required
  • Any general office associated duties

Key requirements for the role:

  • Excellent computer skills
  • Good eye for detail
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • Courteous

Previous experience requirements:

  • Previous Customer Service Administrative experience gained within an office environment
  • Excellent telephone manner with the ability to communicate at all levels
  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy
  • Good working knowledge of Microsoft Office and experience of in-house systems
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritise own workload
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Understanding of the importance of data protection and adherence to the process

Offering free parking and an excellent working environment, this is a great opportunity to join a growing team.

Working Monday to Friday 37.5 hours per week - offering a competitive salary and company benefits.

Read more
New job
Production Operative
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £8.91 per hour
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 910811
About the role

Want to work in a safe, clean environment?
And have the possibility of ongoing work?

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Temporary Production Operative to be based in Needham Market.

Duties include:

  • Ensure all final and completed products are packed to the customer specifications                               
  • Informing Line Leaders of defects found in the products
  • Keep machines supplied with packing materials and labels
  • Assist the Line Leaders with handovers and changeovers
  • Responsible for general cleanliness of the production area and removal of production and general waste
  • Check products on the line for quality and defects
  • Basic production duties carried out in a fast-paced environment

Working hours:

8.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday

Read more