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Let’s face it, Christmas is an expensive time for most of us. Often, you don’t realise how expensive it is until after the event, when you’re faced with multiple bills. To make sure you don’t spend more than you can afford to this Christmas, we’ve put together this list of simple ways you can get around splashing the cash this festive season, whilst still having fun at the same time!

1. Cut down your presents list

We don’t want to sound like Scrooge but have a serious look at the list of people you’ve got on your present list and try to cut it down. Sit down with your family and friends and see what they think about presents this year. You could collectively decide on a ‘child only’ rule, opt for a Secret Santa or simply come up with a budget to spend on each person.

2. Homemade gifts

Another option could be to make homemade gifts – there’s nothing more personal than receiving a gift that someone has made for you. For a little inspiration on what to make, have a look through our DIY gift ideas

3. Use comparison websites

When it comes to buying gifts for your family or friends, make sure that you do a quick Google search beforehand to see if you can get the item cheaper elsewhere. Once you’ve done this put the item through comparison sites like PriceRunner and mySupermarket (for health, beauty and entertainment) to double check that you’re getting the best price for it.

You should do this when picking up food for the festive season, sites like mySupermarket will point you in the right direction of the cheapest produce. For ideas on how to cut the cost of your Christmas dinner, check back on Saturday for our full guide.

4. Set a budget

Don’t start buying presents until you’ve got a clear idea of what your budget will be per person, and this may vary depending on who you’re buying for. For example, you’re likely to have a larger budget for your little one than a colleague at work.

When it comes to your child’s presents, don’t feel like you need to buy everything on their wish list. Based on your budget, you should get their main gift first and then you could enlist certain family members to pick up the other items (if they can afford to, of course).

5. Use your loyalty points

If you have points saved up on store loyalty cards like a Nectar card, Tesco Clubcard or Boots Advantage Card, try to use these points to help bring down the costs of the gifts you’re buying. Nectar card points can be used in Sainsbury’s, Argos and Debenhams for example, so check either store to see if they have anything a loved one would like.

6. Make a bit of money before

As most of us are likely to receive gifts around Christmas time, why not have a clear-out before the big day? You could sell any items that you no longer want or are still in fairly good condition on auctioning sites like eBay – you may still have unopened Christmas presents from last year, or clothes that still have the tags on.

You never know, you could get more for them than you expect and this could provide a helpful boost to your Christmas budget!

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