For many people, Christmas is the best time of year as it gives families across the country a chance to get together and show each other just how much they care.
Presents, food and travel are all staples of the Christmas period, meaning that the costs can soon begin to mount up. Given the fact that the cost of living is already soaring, it is safe to say it could place an added and unwanted strain on the bank accounts of many hard working families across the country.
Starting in debt
Many families often approach the Christmas season in full acceptance they will accrue a sizeable amount of debt as a result of the celebrations.
Research from the Money Advice Service has found that around 34 per cent of people knew they would be starting the new year in debt.
It added that it was too easy for festive spending to spiral out of control, having a knock-on effect on personal finances year-on-year.
But it was quick to claim that potential financial problems could be eased by making a few simple changes to everyday spending habits in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
One of the first thing to do is to draw up a solid budget plan. List all of the items that you expect to purchase during the Christmas period, including presents, decorations, food, socialising and transport.
Not only should you try to stick to this budget, but you should also be aware of putting money aside for the post-Christmas bills.
This will allow you to boost your festive spending cash pool, with possible cutbacks including takeaways, lunch and that morning cappuccino from the local cafe.
Internet or high street
Christmas shopping can prove to be a stressful aspect of the seasonal period. The rushing around, as well as the amount of thinking that goes into getting the perfect gift is seen as being a hugely daunting prospect for many.
And in a world where many of us live busy lives, there is a growing willingness for people to buy their gifts online.
Deciding between staying in and shopping for stuff on the internet and hitting the high street may also have an impact on your finances.
Much like many of the well-known physical retailers, there are plenty of great deals and discounts to take advantage of. Just be sure to plan out your shopping as thoroughly as possible as this will reduce the likelihood of any surprise expenses in terms of postage or packaging.
Jane Symonds, money expert at the Money Advice Service said:“Christmas can easily turn from an exciting time with the family into a big financial stress. If you haven’t already set a budget, now is a good time to take control of your spending.
“We also have plenty of impartial advice to help people prepare for the year ahead – from how to set a savings goal to why it's important to review all your borrowing options before you take on extra debt.
“Christmas can be an expensive time of year, but it’s important to know that you don’t have to live beyond your means to make it a fun time, especially if you plan well in advance – after all it does come every year!”