Christmas can be one of the happiest times of the year for many families, but it is also one of the most expensive. With the rising cost of living, many people might have to part with more this year when shopping for gifts, food, Christmas decorations, and travel.

According to the WorldRemit annual Cost of Christmas study, Kenyans’ average spending for Christmas is estimated at $215(KSh32,847), a 7.73 per cent increase from $212 in 2022(KSh32,374).

The anticipated higher spending for the holidays has been primarily attributed to the higher cost of food items despite a decrease in the overall inflation rate.

The hike in prices notwithstanding, Christmas is always a season to be jolly, but you don’t have to dent your pocket in December to have a good time.

Currently, as it is the holiday season, many travel companies have started the lipa pole pole payment plan, and you can also start a lipa pole pole plan or start saving early for your Christmas plans.

If you want to make it your goal to be better prepared financially for the holidays, saving for the festive season throughout the year can ensure that you have a wonderful Christmas without the guilt of a debt-ridden January.

Here are some tips to help you save money during the year as you gear to the end-of-the-year holidays:

Search for the best prices

So, your mum has been dropping hints about a certain brand of pots she’d like? Since you’re already making a Christmas shopping list at the beginning of the year, you might as well start looking for the best price before it gets to the end of the year.

Make sure you get gifts, food, and decorations at the best prices by shopping around. Compare prices by searching online and in-store for the same items.

Beat the Christmas rush

For Christmas to run smoothly, don’t leave the preparations and plans until the last minute. That includes shopping. You can prepare the list during the year and start ticking things off. Do your best to take advantage of offers and deals while they last, as prices tend to go up the closer we get to the big day.

If you’re planning to travel, you can start setting aside the money at the beginning of the year to ensure you don’t have a heavy bill during Christmas. For instance, you can start saving up for fares or fuel.

You can also buy dry foods a few months to December to reduce the food bill.

Put it on your list

Christmas can be a busy time, what with winding down the year at work and making personal plans. Making lists is a great way to ensure you get organised and take advantage of deals and savings.

Have your eye on a Christmas candle set or trying out a new recipe this year? List everything from ingredients and gift ideas.

Pro Tip:  include an estimate of the cost of each item so you have a good idea of how much you might have to spend on it.

Stick to a budget

It may be the jolly season, but the last thing you want to do is be reckless and not budget for everything. Creating a Christmas budget early in the year will help you to start budgeting early, and you will fully understand where your money is going and where the most spending will take place. Try splitting the budget into various categories like food, drinks, gifts, travel, entertainment and decorations.

Plan early

You can save a lot of money by planning early. For instance, if you plan to travel to the Coast during Christmas, you can start paying for your trip as early as January. You can also make flight bookings early to get a better cost.

It’s never too early to start thinking about and planning for Christmas. Let’s face it: it’s an expensive time of year, and trying to plan for everything using one month’s salary can be unrealistic for many. But if you want to have a fun and memorable festive season without the worry of sinking into debt come January, it will help a great deal to start even a year early.

Happy holidays!