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FES Money Hangover

Avoid money hangovers this season

17 Nov 2023 | 2 minutes to read

We are all gearing up for that time of year when many will be partying more, buying more gifts and spending more on food and drink.

But with huge pressures still being felt on normal living costs, there are some things that can be done to still have fun but to avoid a ‘money hangover’ with your own financial health in 2024.

1. Set a spending budget

For gifts, food, drink and socialising for the season. Ensure it is what you can afford, monitor it and stick to it. It doesn’t have to mean missing out on family, friends and fun - just about doing some things differently. Here’s a handy budget planner.

2. Agree a spending limit

Agree a maximum cost for gifts with friends and family. Sometimes it can be even more fun to search for suitable gifts for a strict, lower cost.

3. Gift tombola/Secret Santa

Instead of everyone buying everyone a present in your family/friend group, why not approach it like a Secret Santa or tombola where each person buys only one gift and each person gets only one gift?

4. Made with love

Give something you make instead of buying gifts. Handmade food, like truffles, florentines, mince pies, gingerbread biscuits are always welcomed. Try some of these Christmas gift recipes. Or hand make a card, tree decoration, table setting, wreath, cutting the cost even more by foraging for your raw materials. Here’s a helpful guide to foraging for Natural Christmas Decorations.

5. Go more environmentally friendly

Make paper chains from old wrapping paper or other used paper. Colour some homemade popcorn to make fun decorations. Don’t wrap gifts, buy and decorate brown paper bags instead – they can then be reused and recycled.

6. No cost/low cost gifts

There are plenty of ways to give something without spending money and often the gift of time/help is more appreciated, especially with our growing conscience for the environment, by reusing and recycling rather than just accumulating new stuff. Why not…

  • Offer to baby sit
  • For nieces/nephews/godchildren/friends’ children, offer a ‘reading’ gift and spend some time each week in the run up to Christmas reading them special book/story
  • Be a taxi driver for friends/family one night
  • Make someone’s packed lunches for a week
  • Walk their dog for a week
  • Watch a Christmas film together once a week in the run up to Christmas
  • Frame a special photo
  • Write a poem/story/song/limerick
  • Offer to clean the house/tidy a draw/sort their wardrobe/declutter/sell their unwanted stuff/wash their car
  • 2024 promises – promise to hug/phone/have coffee and a catch up once a week/month in 2024

7. Share the load

For parties or entertaining this season, why not share the load between everyone. For example for a dinner, someone brings a starter, someone a pudding, someone brings drinks, someone cooks the main course etc. Everyone can get together and have fun but the cost and organisational loads are shared by many.


If money is something you are worrying about this season, talk to someone about it. In this year of all years, with everyone still feeling the bite of the high cost of living, others will want to know if you are worried, so they can they support you and also so they can support the approach you want to take to spending this year. You never know, they may well thank you for bringing this topic up so they can adopt the same approach themselves!


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