Counting the costs early: How to avoid a Christmas credit crunch

Counting the costs early: How to avoid a Christmas credit crunch

It's June. The beginning of summer – meteorologically speaking, at least. So it's way too soon to start thinking about Christmas, right?

Wrong. If you want to make sure your festive season doesn't leave you counting the cost in the New Year, now is the perfect time to think about what you want – and can afford – to spend.

Plus, as the countdown on our Christmas Money Planner shows, it's actually only 203 days until the big day itself. Eek.

With the average spend topping £500 per person, as revealed in last year's Money Advice Service Christmas survey, stashing away about £2.50 per day would be a great start.

Make your Christmas list now

If £500 or so doesn't sound right to you, make your Christmas list now and come up with your own magic number.

Decorations, food, presents, socialising – it all adds up. Write down everything you reckon you'll spend money on this year and tot it up.

Then you can chunk your total by days, weeks, whatever works for you, to see how much you need to set aside to make sure you don't need Christmas credit.

Other ways to save on Christmas

Here are some other tips to keep the costs of Christmas under control:

  • Start early. Picking up Christmas essentials like crackers or decorations in the sales can mean big savings, sometimes around 50%.
  • If you know what gifts you need to buy, why not pick up an item a month to help spread the cost.
  • Embrace the digital age and email Christmas cards to save on postage. There are lots of free websites that let you create your own cards, with family photos and videos.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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