Here, I have put together a guide to help you have a fantastic Christmas, without having to face the New Year with some serious debt to consider.
First, avoid taking out store cards. As tempting as '10% off' sounds, these cards are often disguised as a money saving option but can get very expensive, as well as making it easy to accrue a large amount of debt in a very short space of time.
Secondly, chop up the credit cards. If there is plastic cash available to you then there is a greater temptation to buy.
Wait until your bonus is in your bank account before you spend it. Businesses have had a tough year and therefore bonuses may not be as high as they have been previously.
Christmas shouldn't be all about lavish gifts. Explain to people that you are trying to control your spending this year, so look out for small token gifts which will mean something to that person rather than forking out on something expensive.
Try to spread the cost of Christmas by starting your shopping as early as possible. This will prevent panic buying situations on Christmas Eve.
A personal budget listing how much you have to pay out on essentials like bills and the mortgage will give you an idea of your Christmas budget. By reviewing and analysing your income vs. outgoings, you will highlight areas where spending can be cut down.
If it is possible, try and spread the payment for presents over a period of time. This will mean that you don't have to pay lump sums all at once. Give yourself time so your finances are not hit in one go.
Get crafty! Instead of forking out on decorations, entertainment and cards, have a go at making your own. Get your kids busy making bunting and paper snowflakes, send e-cards and plan games to play on Christmas morning. Not only will you save cash, you'll have lots of fun too!
Victoria Poolman is a freelance writer who writes for many UK businesses. For debt management plans, she recommends Debt Advice for Women who provide a specialist service just for women.
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