December is finally here, and no doubt your diary is already packed. There's the work Christmas party, drinks and dinners with friends, plus family gatherings to attend. You might even be heading to a panto, carol service or other festive event. It's a busy time – but it doesn't have to break the bank.
We've four ways you can be #XmasReady and still have a fun social life at Christmas without worrying (too much) about how much it's costing you.
1 Leave the cards at home
It's easy to get carried away with the egg nog and lose track of how much an evening out is costing, especially if you're paying with contactless cards.
Instead take with you just the cash you can afford for the night out. Parting with the physical money will slow down your spending so you can stretch out the night until it's time to head home – just don't spend your bus fare!
2 Be honest with friends and family
When your friends aren't on a budget, there can be pressure to go along with pricey nights out and activities.
But if joining in means you'll get into debt, be upfront and suggest a cheaper alternative. It might also mean you have to say no to some things, so prioritise the ones you really want to attend and can afford within your budget.
3 Pay your own way
If you're worried about splitting the bill or joining in on rounds, just tell your friends you're going to pay for yourself as you're on a really tight budget.
Yes, it means more trips to the bar, but at least you'll be able to make sure you don't spend more than you can afford.
4 Put some plans back until January
There are only so many days to fit things in before Christmas, but that doesn't mean you have to be out every evening.
If you can schedule some get-togethers in the new year rather than December, you'll be able to cover the cost of your nights out from next month's payslip.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.