|christmas 2012 (Photo credit: paparutzi)|
Think about what you can realistically afford to spend on Christmas and stick to it. List everything you need to budget for. Food and presents are obvious, but don't forget your Christmas tree, or added extras such as a day out at a Christmas market.
2. Plan your gifts.
Plan who you need to buy for and what you're going to buy. Instead of rushing out to the shops, spend time researching online to compare prices. Shopping online means you'll make fewer impulse purchases, but remember to factor in postage costs. Once you have started your shopping, keep a list of what you've bought and how much it cost. It's easy to forget how much you've spent if you don't keep a running total.
3. Make use of cash back and loyalty schemes.
There are plenty of free websites that offer you cash back on your purchases, and now is the time to make use of them. If you have a store loyalty card then this might be a good time to spend your points, especially with some stores offering good deals when you exchange your points for vouchers.
4.Have a clear out.
You'll need to make some space for new presents, so spend time having a clear out and put your unwanted things for sale on eBay. A little time and effort could bring in some extra cash.
5. Ditch the cards.
It's lovely to get Christmas cards, but rising postage costs have made it expensive to send them. Most people would appreciate a heartfelt and personal Christmas message sent by e-mail just as much as a card through the post.