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It can be hard to think about Christmas at this time of year. In fact, it might be at the back of your mind if you’re dreaming of a summer holiday.

But it can pay to start saving for the festive season as soon as you can – and there’s no better time than right now. Today marks the five month countdown to the festive season, and with a little early planning and budgeting it could be the least stressful yet.

Getting started

According to research from GetPaidTo, a third of Brits started this year with debt from the last festive season and won’t clear it until September.

A further third of people will take the whole year to pay back what they spent over the last festive period. This is not an ideal way to start the New Year and as the figures show, it can have a knock-on effect to your finances.

One way to get around this is to start saving as early as possible. The first thing you should do is set up a savings pot. This could be something as simple as a jam jar if you’d prefer to deal in cash (but be careful when keeping this in your home) or a savings account.

If you opt for a savings account, you could set up a regular standing order either weekly or monthly to help you contribute. Putting the money in a savings account could mean that you’re less tempted to spend it and you’ll earn interest on it along the way.

How much will I need?

Think back to last year and how much you spent. Do you need to spend the same amount this year or can you make some cutbacks? Your budget should help you figure this out, and how much you can realistically afford to put away each month.

As of today, there are just over 21 weeks until Christmas day. Based on this amount of time, you could save up the following:

£5 per week = £105

£10 per week = £210

£15 per week = £315

£20 per week = £420

Make cutbacks

To find some extra room in your budget, you could look into make a few savings. There are a number of ways you could do this.

You could save at work by starting to make your own sandwiches instead of buying them every day. You don’t even necessarily need to make your lunch fresh every day – you could just make an extra portion of dinner the night before and take the leftovers to work with you the next day.

Or if you commute to work, you could save on train tickets by signing up to a railcard or see if it’s cheaper to split your fare.

Whatever you decide to cut back on, you could make your Christmas run that little bit smoother by watching what you spend and saving regularly.

Good luck!

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