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It may sound a little crazy talking about Christmas just as the kids get back to school, but there are only 16 weeks left until the big day! For some, this may seem too far away to think about, yet for most, it’s really important to start planning and budgeting to avoid financial problems nearer the time.

Plan now and spend what you can afford

The most important rule to follow at Christmas is to start save early, and only spend what you can afford. It may sound simple, but if you don’t it can be a disaster not knowing how to pay it all off in January.

Look at your monthly incomings and outgoings, and calculate where you could make some cuts. Once you’ve done this you can start to put small amounts aside regularly. Think about making your own lunches for work, saving on travel journeys, or even have look at cutting energy bills at home. Work out what’s left over and add this to your savings pot.

Need a little help? We take you through how to start saving for Christmas now.

Drop hints and ask the kids

Start making a shortlist of what the kids would like and ask the rest of your family for ideas. You may see a reduction in the autumn sales, Black Friday or offers leading up to Christmas, so start ticking items off the list and buy them if the saving is worthwhile.

The most wanted toys always go fast, so to avoid disappointment keep checking price comparison sites like PriceRunner to search availability and the best deals. 

The must have toys this year are

So here they are, the most wanted Christmas toys this year as unveiled by Amazon.* 

1. The Barbie 3 storey town house, £74.54

2. WowWeeChip the Robot Dog, £199.99

3. Furby Connect, Pink £89.99

4. FurReal Friends Torch My Blazin Dragon, £73.99

5. Nerf Modulus Tri-Strike Blaster, £49.99

6. Finding Dory My Friend Dory, £36.10

7. Fisher-Price Think and Learn Code-a-Pillar Toy, £38.95

8. Vtech Kidi Super Star Toy, £34.99

9. Thomas & Friends TrackMaster Thomas' Sky-High Bridge Jump Train Set, £89.99

10. Lego Nexo Knights General Magmar's Siege Machine of Doom, £45.14 

In the run up to Christmas, we’ll give you ideas on how to save money by making personalised Christmas gifts. The current trend for personalising gifts could save you heaps on main presents and stocking fillers.

*Prices correct at time of writing - 01/09/2016

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