Created by: Dave Harland | 26 November 2019

Dreaming of a debt-free Christmas?

With huge costs, endless presents to buy and a Christmas gift list that keeps on growing, this time of year can be daunting for those on tight budgets. 

But with some small changes, you can forget about your money worries, take back control and stop feeling pressured into spending more than you can afford during the festive season.

1. Make a budget
Set aside an hour to go through your income as well as any important outgoings such as bills, rent and food shopping. Then write a list of what you have to buy and how much you think it will cost. Once you’ve added up your spending, you can then begin to make cuts and save.

2. Reconsider your gift list
Take a good look at who you buy presents for. Sure, there will be some people that you wouldn’t dream of removing, but do you buy some presents out of habit? Why not make a mutual pact to stop - it’s likely that the other person feels the same way!

3. Secret Santa 
If you’ve got a large extended family or big group of friends, you could save money by trying a Secret Santa, giving everyone one gift each rather than buying presents separately.

4. Don’t feel that you have to buy something expensive
If you don’t want to take someone off your gift list, smaller items can also be a great choice. Think a bottle of wine, costume jewellery or a framed picture of the two of you. As for small children, the wrapping paper and boxes can be just as exciting as the present, so don’t feel like you have to buy the most expensive toy.

5. Bulk-buy Christmas bits
It’s often cheaper to buy wrapping paper, crackers, gift-tags and Christmas cards in the January sales. Simply put them in a spare cupboard until they’re needed later in the year.

6. Use your credit card carefully
Using a credit card to spread costs can be a great way of affording big events but it’s important to use it carefully. Check that you’re using the correct card – are you entitled to a 0% interest period? And make sure you stay up to date with repayments.

7. Avoid store cards
Store cards can seem tempting, especially when they’re offering 25% discount on your shopping. But they often come with much higher interest rates than ordinary credit cards. Taking out too much credit will also affect your credit score.

So, while this time of year can be very expensive, with a few easy changes you can enjoy the Christmas period and save some cash!

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