It’s the most expensive time of the year.
While we can’t wait for the festive season to arrive for all of the fun that it brings, there’s no denying that it brings a whole lot of headaches along with it.
There are presents to buy, cards to write and food to prepare - and all of this comes with a pretty hefty price tag.
So how do you celebrate Christmas in a cost-saving way, without being a Scrooge? Take a look at our list of money saving tips.
Don’t forget it’s about family and fun: The stress of Christmas time can often run away with you but remember, no matter what you buy, eat or drink you will be together as a family. And that’s what matters.
Don’t buy unnecessary presents: It can be easy to get swept up in the Christmas excitement and over indulge on buying exciting presents from everyone to your parents to the postman. But try and make a limit. Does that person on your team at work really need a selection box from you? Do you need five presents for your brother when one will do? Set a limit, and do not cross it.
Do it yourself: Are you a dab hand at sewing? Do you make a mean Christmas cake? Why not don your apron, grab your safety pins and set about making a home made present for your loved ones? It’s the thought that counts, after all.
Have fun at home: Christmas parties, visiting Santa, attending carol concerts. You want to get the most out of Christmas, but don’t want to break the bank. Why not have your mates around for a singing session, or set up Santa’s grotto in your dining room with the help of a willing friend? There is always a cheaper alternative than paying over the odds.
Look for the best offers and deals: Three for two, buy one get one free, three for £5. The offers are endless. Don’t be too tempted to opt for the first offer you see. Check who stocks what you’re after, and check out the competition.
Make a list, and stick to it: Christmas impulse buying. We’re all guilty of it. But before you pop into the local department store and buy a dozen pairs of gloves, some slippers and 20 selection boxes, just think: what did I actually come in here for?
Set a spending limit: As well as sticking to a list, it’s important to not go over budget. So while you decide on slippers for dad and a dressing gown for mam, don’t forget how much you normally spend. If the pennies are tight and £30 is all you can spare, don’t spend £50 just for the sake of it.
Spend time, not money: No matter how many adverts we see about offers, gift sets and bargains, Christmas isn’t just about the presents. Haven’t seen your friend for a while? Pop over and watch a Christmas film together. Or if you’ve been short of time to visit your grandparents, this will appreciate a cuppa and cake with you more than a potted plant sent in the post. Make time for your loved ones
Think personal: Nothing does it like a personalised present. A cushion with an initial, a candle with their name on it, or even a horoscope bookmark. Dig a little deeper, and pick something that will really count when December 25 rolls around.
Try own brands: We all have that one friend or relative who is a little bit (whisper it) snobby. Only the finest champagne will do, darling, and the chocolates must be from a “proper shop”. But there’s nothing wrong with branching out - especially when you’re on a budget. Don’t be afraid to check out the own brand toiletries in Boots, Superdrug or the Body Shop, or the makeup from Marks & Spencer. You might find your new favourite product.
Visit a budget supermarket: It’s time for the dreaded Christmas food shop, and you’re loathe to see the receipt. Why not choose Aldi or Lidl for something different this Christmas. Both supermarkets stock a delightful and delicious range of Christmas only products, from Panettone to Iberico ham. Tighten the purse strings and pop an extra hole into the belt instead.