The Christmas period is notorious for being an expensive time of year, causing financial headaches for many people up and down the country. However, there are a number of ways to ease the pressure on your wallets and focus on really enjoying everything the festive period has to offer.
While this advice might seem a little late for this year's celebrations, there is genuinely something to be said for the idea of starting your saving for next year as soon as possible.
It's no secret that paying for Christmas out of one paycheck can be a little bit of a stretch, so it really does help to spread the cost across the whole month. The earlier you start saving, the less you need to set aside from each month.
Set a budget
If you haven't managed to save up this year though, there are still some ways in which you minimise the damage on your wallet. One of the most obvious ways is to set a budget.
When considering food, presents and other expenses, there is plenty of room for expenditures to pile up, so it is important for you to predict as much as as possible as this will help you avoid any nasty surprises come January.
Make a definitive list of family and friends, while also including an itemised list of everything you intend to buy for them. This will help you to work out just how much money you can afford to spend on each person and whether you can afford any welcome luxuries, like that extra bottle of brandy for your Christmas Day tipple, or that extra box of decorations to help add some magic to your tree.
Never assume cost is king
There is a feeling among many people that Christmas is a time where it is excusable to to purchase only the finest food items, leaving an almighty scrum on the "Specially Selected" and "Finest" shelves of supermarkets all over the country.
Yet in the age of the value supermarket, people have learned that costlier does not necessarily mean a higher quality of product.
Always buy food that you already know will taste great, rather than plumping for a new option just because it has some fancy packaging on it. Although it's difficult to get away from the fact that Christmas is a drain on the bank account, there's really no need to go overboard with things. It's a time for being with the people you care about most, so it doesn't hurt to give yourself a gentle reminder of that fact by spending silly money.
While resisting the urge to splurge over Christmas is one way of saving some pennies, there are several other ways in which you can make your cash go further.
Vouchers have long-been an integral weapon in the arsenal of the thrifty shopper. Yet there are better ways in which to use them
For instance, if you happen to be a Tesco Clubcard holder, you can increase the value of your vouchers fourfold by trading them in for certain items. This means you can knock off a hefty chunk of your gift shopping, which is far more preferable than just saving a few quid from your food shop.