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The festive season is upon us, but what can you do to keep your finances in check and have a cool yule without breaking the bank?

While the holiday season is a time to be jolly, typically the UK household spends an extra £500 in December alone. Embracing a thrifty approach this year will let you get creative and might be a way to lessen financial woes and keep the January blues at bay*.

Debs Vickers, personal finance expert at said,

“Every year a number of people leave the festive season with lighter pockets than they can afford, and in many cases this is down to an over-exuberant Christmas beyond their usual budget.

This time of year doesn’t have to leave you broke in 2019. This is the best time of year to get your thinking cap on and wow your friends and family over the holidays without anyone guessing how much you have spent.

From secret Santa ideas to festive dining hacks that will leave your guest’s mouths watering, we’ve got you covered.”

Try these holiday hacks this December and you’ll be on your bank manager’s nice list as you head into the new year.

How to save money this Christmas - don't go overboard on the dinner!

1. Don’t go overboard on the dinner

Last year supermarkets raised the cost of Christmas dinner by around five per cent, so festive revellers should be wary of the typical turkey and all trimmings spending spree**. Going overboard on the food supplies over the holiday season is common practice in homes across the country, however, being cautious with the festive purchases will do wonders for your bank balance. While, festive shoppers can make the most out non-branded supermarket products, which typically come at a fraction of the price of some of the UK’s best loved brands. Alternatively, you might want a healthier dinner this year and skip the turkey, choosing a healthy veggie option to cut costs.

2. Exchange gifts through secret Santa

Secret Santa, is a cost-effective method to avoid buying a present for everyone and keeps everyone to an acceptable budget. Sick of getting piles of socks on Christmas morning? Why not incorporate this into your families Christmas buying habits? It helps you stick to a budget, gives you time to put thought into your gift and you get the added fun of guessing who bought what.

3. Keep costs low for the kids

When it comes to buying presents for the little ones, it’s easy to be lured in by the bright lights of big stores and high-value brands. However, the chances are young children may well be as interested in the box you’ve wrapped the present in rather than the item itself. Parents can put a lot of pressure on themselves in pursuit of the perfect Christmas, but financial strain could be avoided by just being a little more frugal when it comes to the kids. While a good option to keep the costs low this holiday season is to let the kids get artistic with paint, pens and clay. It’s typically a cheaper substitute to the latest high street toys and will aid creative learning.

How to save money this Christmas with DIY presents

4. Make your own gifts

Handmaking gifts for your loved ones will show that you have put care and attention into their presents, as well as save you a penny or two. Dazzle your family and friends by baking some tasty treats or hand craft your holiday cards to give people something that they will treasure forever. Take inspiration from sites such as Pinterest and Instagram to find the latest festive trends and impress with some quirky gifts this season.

5. Keep tabs on your spending

Start with a budget before you begin to make sure you can keep tabs on your spending. It’s best to work out what you can realistically afford and once you’ve got a clear idea of what you can spend you’re halfway there. Make sure you are keeping track of your spending, as it can quickly spiral out of control once on the high street and leave you with a nasty shock when you get your next statement through.

The Guru is here to help you with you presents AND your financial future. Visit our wisdom section and surf into 2019 on a wave of financial enlightenment.