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christmas chutneyShoppers are out in force on the nation’s high streets, sparkly celebrity-filled adverts are taking over our TV screens, and the first flakes of snow are falling.
Incredible as it seems, another year is drawing to a close and Christmas is just 17 days away!

Consumers are embracing the opportunity for some festive cheer, with Christmas providing a much-needed distraction from the onslaught of economic doom and gloom that’s dominated the news for what seems like an age. When times are hard, people are even more desperate for the escapism of gifts, good food and gallons of booze.

But there is a risk that seasonal celebrations could leave you with more than just a slightly bigger belly, some especially garish socks, and a very sore head. If you get carried away, Christmas could be followed by a financial hangover for which there is no easy cure.

Of course, the next few weeks should be a time for indulgence and enjoyment, but that doesn’t mean financial common sense should go out of the window.

So grab a Glühwein, stick on some Slade, and check out our top tips for saving money and avoiding debt problems this Christmas…

1. Be realistic about what you can afford to spend. Create a budget and STICK TO IT.

2. Do you knit? Are you a great cook? Love taking photos? Then think about making your own gifts using the skills you have. People will appreciate the personal touch.

3. If you’re buying presents online, be aware of delivery charges. Buying lots of presents from different sites might not be the best idea.

4. Check voucher code sites to see if you can save money on internet purchases.

5. Christmas TV is usually an anti-climax so make sure you’ve got plenty of entertainment and activities you can enjoy at home. Staying in is the new going out.

6. If you’re expecting lots of visitors, head to a cash and carry to stock up on cheap drinks and snacks.

7. Ensure you’re on the cheapest electricity and gas tariffs and only use the heating when necessary. Invest in draught excluders and warm jumpers!

8. Make sure you’re taking advantage of any state benefits or tax credits you’re entitled to.

9. Don’t waste anything. We all love turkey sandwiches but there’s plenty more you can do with your leftovers. Be imaginative.

10. Don’t rely on credit. If you can’t afford it now, can you really afford it later?

Do you have any great money-saving tips of your own? Head over to our Facebook page to share your ideas.

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