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Brace yourself, friends there are only five more pay days until Christmas 2017. I’ll wait while you let that sink in.

It might only be August but Christmas will be here before you know it. But never fear wisdom seeker, I The G, am here with a beard full of advice that would put old Father C himself to shame.

In 2015, the average UK household spent a staggering £800* on Christmas, which mainly went towards food and booze, and this looks to increase over this year’s festive season. The study also showed that nearly a quarter of Brits felt under pressure to spend more than they could afford, meaning costly repayments when the big day was nought but a faint memory and indigestion.

As many as one in ten families begin planning for the festive season several months in advance to help spread out the financial burden, which enables them to save more money and to enjoy the holiday season stress-free. Here is how you can be one of them:

1. Set a budget

Make a list of family and friends who you like enough to buy for, and allocate an amount you’d like to spend on each, aiming for a maximum rather than a minimum. If you’re hosting festive drinks or Christmas dinner on the day, make sure you know how many people you’re expecting, and from there you can budget for how much each individual is likely to eat/drink (and remember to factor in Grandma’s Christmas sherry habit).

2. Consider a Christmas savings account

Putting money away into a savings account can be so satisfying, especially when you set a goal each month and get closer to achieving it. Why don’t you open a new saving account now specifically for Christmas – even putting away as little as £50 a month will get you £250 by December!

3. Think clever…

Shop around for the best deals and you’ll be amazed at how often you can find the same thing for a fraction of the price! Be a deal hunter, find those nifty coupon codes, and your bank account will be looking a lot more elf-y come the new year.

4. DIY gifts

If you want serious festive brownie points, hand make gifts for your nearest and dearest. Buy a bundle of baskets or hamper wraps, and then bulk buy Christmas items that will look both impressive and thoughtful when opened on Christmas morning. You could split a multi set of candles across a number of gifts, or buy a discounted crate of wine and dish the bottles out between hampers. Simple, but much cheaper!

5. Make money

The summer months are great for car boot sales and clear outs. You can make a little extra cash by clearing out items you haven’t used in a while, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure after all. If car boot sales aren’t quite up your street and you’re pretty nifty with tech, try your hand at selling on eBay, Gumtree, Shpock or Facebook Marketplace. You could pick up a bargain or two yourself while you are at it.

Some people may still struggle to fund everything this festive season and if you decide a short term loan is the best thing for you, make sure you check out the best deals before you take the plunge. Check out credit cards with the best supermarket rewards to help you save on wine and cheese or how about air miles to help you escape the madness completely…


Cash you on the flip side

The G