As we approach that time of year again, follow this top 10 list and enjoy Christmas essentials, without feeling the pinch of debt in the New Year.
Wrapping paper and postage
Every year British people spend over £17 on Christmas cards and postage. A cheaper alternative is to make your own using old wrapping paper or re-using embellishments from other cards. This adds a more personal touch and if you post them by hand you will be helping the environment too!
As the weather gets more nippy try turning your thermostat down a notch. Studies show that even if you just reduce your temperature by 1 degree you could save £5 a month.
Bring and buy
Last year £594 million was spent on unwanted Christmas presents. On Boxing day 2011 there were 1.5million new items on ebay. By returning or selling unwanted gifts you can get extra money to buy the things you really want OR start saving for the New Year.
Buying your food shopping online will save you a lot of money this Christmas. Not only are you less likely to be tempted by the seasonal offers supermarkets encourage you to impulse buy, but you can get your items delivered in advance and make the most of online discounts.
Most familes spend over £500 on Christmas so by putting money aside throughout the year you are unlikely to pile up debts on your credit card. Start a special savings account just for this so you can’t touch it and you will be amazed at how quickly it builds up.
Nowadays there are often sales before Christmas. If you can hold off and wait until Christmas Eve you can even save up to 75% on presents and food. When the January sales hit start to stockpile Christmas decorations in preparation for next year.
The gift of giving
Secret Santa has been far more popular since the recession. Rather than buy something for everyone, put names in a hat and buy them a gift for an agreed amount. Having only one person to buy for reduces mental and financial stress.
Trash or treasure
The office Christmas party is always a time for dressing up, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Charity shops and ebay are perfect for finding the right outfit at a fraction of the cost. You can even get your hair done cheaply if you go to your local hair and beauty college. You will look super glam, but no one will know you hardly spent a thing!
If you are worried about how you are going to afford this Christmas there are several online tools that can help you save in the run-up to celebrations. If you find out how much you could save you are less likely to overspend.
Cut back on non-essentials and get creative in order to have a fabulously festive Christmas and a stress free start to 2013.
These are just some of the ways you can prepare yourself for the festive season without worrying about the cost. Use the resources and skills you have in order to make this the best Christmas you and your family have ever had.
*This post was written by the StepChange Debt Charity, the new name for the leading UK debt help charity, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).