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The words control and Christmas don’t really go together – as many people woefully discover in early January when they look at their bank balances and their credit card totals. Often you’ll find you can’t even remember what you spent the money on – but there the proof is in black and white and you’re in the red! The end result is that you start January off on a sombre note, which can be avoided if you add a touch of control now. Here are our top tips on how to do this:

7 Christmas saving tips to take note of

1. Make a list

No, this is not a wish list of everything you’d like to find under the tree on Christmas morning – it’s a list of everything you need to buy. Plan your spending around each person in your family and allocate a budget per person. This way you can avoid impulse buys a and the end result is you’ll be calmer, you’ll buy everything you planned to, and your bank balance will thank you.

2. Shop online

Shopping online is a great way to see exactly what you are spending and it allows you to shop around for the best prices before you make your purchase. You’ll be amazed to discover how much you can save – especially in the pre-Christmas sales that are often held online.

3. Consider doing a Santa Gift Exchange

If you have a large family a Santa Gift Exchange is a good idea. The way it works is you place everyone’s name in a hat and each person draws one name and just buys a gift for that person. This helps keep your costs down – and you can spend a decent amount on that one present, giving the person something they’d really like instead of buying a whole bunch of smaller items that often end up being ‘re-gifted’.

4. Just buy for the kids

Some families with many relatives make the decision to just buy for the children – especially where multiple cousins are concerned. This way you can keep your costs down and ensure the children have memorable gifts.

5. Don’t use your credit card

Yes, this can be a very hard one – but imagine ending Christmas with no debt – what better present could you give yourself? If you do decide to use your card, try and set a budget that you can easily repay in January. However if you aren’t good with that kind of discipline, put your card away and rely on cash.

6. Homemade is wholesome

Get baking, cooking and making. Homemade gifts like chutneys, jams, fudge and cookies are always appreciated. Making gifts always works out cheaper than buying the same item in store – and they come with that extra touch of love that store-bought goods just don’t have.

7. Start planning for next year

Instead of arriving at December 2018 with a whole load of stress on your shoulders, start budgeting every month for Christmas. Buy Christmas paper on sale after Christmas this year and put it way.  Set up a Christmas fund and save every month. Before you know it you’ll have a treasure trove of savings to enjoy next Christmas!