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It’s never too soon to start planning for Christmas. Starting earlier means you have longer to work out what you need to spend – so you can spread the cost over more paydays – and even plan to bring in extra cash if you need to. It’s important to avoid spending more than you can afford, but if you do think you’ll be short now is the time to work out how to bridge the gap. Being organised now and budgeting well could help prevent those January bill blues.

Make money

Start organising your home and have a clear out of things you don’t need. Look at every item as potential to sell on and make some extra cash. If you’ve never used auctioning sites, we'll take you through how to get the best return on what you sell on eBay.

We'll guide you through all the do’s and don’ts to help you maximise the potential of your sales. By having a good tidy up, you’ll also get an idea of what toys the kids have, or things that people may need as gifts.

Make savings

Now's the time to squirrel some money away into a savings account. Look for ways to make savings across all your outgoings. Make a list of all your bills and what you spend month to month and think about which you can trim back – here's how to start saving for Christmas now.  

Go for the quick and easy ways to cut costs: such as switching your energy supplier, turning the heating thermostat down a degree or two, and replace light bulbs with energy efficient ones. Look at making your own lunches for work, and cutting back on treats like takeaways. All the cash you can save now will help you enjoy an affordable family Christmas without relying on borrowing.

Make lists

Start making a list of the people you’ll need to buy for, and prioritise one main gift for all at first. That way you can be sure that everyone has something they’ll love.

Don’t just budget for presents; they’ll be Christmas dinner if you’re having it at home, a New Year’s Eve party (maybe), and you may need an outfit for work’s Christmas outing or a special evening.  By making a list early on, you’ll avoid missing out on the latest craze gifts that may sell out fast. Toys in particular can sell out sharpish, so get ahead of the game and find out what the most wanted Christmas toys are.

Make plans

Try to plan Christmas dinner and who’ll be popping round over the festive season. You can look to buy meats and freeze them when they are on offer. Try to cut out panic buying and last minute rushes – which is when you often end up paying over the odds.

Think about items that you may see on offer beforehand, such as large tins of chocolate, biscuits and crackers and stock up if you can. The same applies to other things you may need such as candles, napkins and even the odd stocking filler.

Coming up

Lastly, if there are things you can make yourself then it can be a great way to save – and have fun at the same time. This autumn we’ll be running a series of blogs showing ways to create your own hand-made personalised Christmas presents – so look out for that. Also, store some seasonal fruits, as we’ll be sharing ideas on making homemade preserves and jams to eat over the festive season, or to give as gifts.

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