Guest Post: Spreading the cost of Christmas – start now!

With the pressure of getting the right gifts, decorating the house and preparing the perfect Christmas meal, the cost of the festive season can quickly spiral out of control. But there is help at hand: let us give you a guide on how to make Christmas more affordable by planning for it now; don’t be fooled into thinking it needs to cost an arm and a leg every year and prevent January debt. Shopping out of season for your Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and so on means you can pick up bargains – sites like eBay have decorations on offer all year round.

One of the biggest expenditures of the festive period is presents; especially for those with large families and extensive social circles. One simple piece of advice is to simply buy fewer presents or cut them out altogether for people – a shocking move perhaps, but for those with low incomes your bank account has to come first.

If that’s too much then there’s a clever way to save money on larger gifts such as consumer electronics: this Christmas give the gift of an IOU and then shop for the gift in the Boxing Day sales. With the Guardian reporting that these sales are still going strong a bargain can be easily found and gifted, saving a huge amount compared to buying in December.

our present cupboard for birthdays and christmas

Next up, you’ll want to save money on decorations. For those who enjoy prettying up the house during the winter months keep an eye out for decorations when temperatures are warmer – Spring and Summer are the ideal times to be either looking online or on the high street for cheap lights and tinsel.

New christmas lights and crackers bought in the january sales

Don’t forget to keep them in good condition too, as they can last several seasons only being used for a few weeks of the year. This can be applied to wrapping paper too – no one will notice if you keep rolls of leftover paper until next year. For the ultimate saving don’t be afraid to simply wrap presents in coloured paper, as they’ll still seem festive in green and red without any patterns.

25p a roll wrapping paper. I bought mostly plain ones so I can use them for birthdays too

As for food, it’s the natural habit of Brits during Christmas to go crazy and buy mountains of food for the big day – that’ll not only lead to your waist widening but your wallet thinning. One of the first places you can cut costs is snacks for the day: never buy more than you need and watch out for pricier items like chocolates.

For the centrepiece dinner you don’t have to rely on huge turkeys that are on high demand to make everyone happy; take a look at some alternative Christmas dinners at BBCGoodFood and find one that suits your taste and your bank account. Don’t be a sucker to brands and packaging either, as food and drink (especially ingredients for the dinner) will still taste delicious whether they’re £5 or £20, so think with your wallet and not with your tastebuds.

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