Festive finances can be a sensitive topic. Everyone wants to impress by laying on the best Christmas cheer, but it’s easy to let things get out of control in the money department.

Here are some handy tips for stretching your budget, so you won’t be out of pocket this season.

1. DIY Decorations

          Instead of buying expensive baubles to deck your halls, try making gingerbread designs to hang, or occupy the kids by having them create their own.

2. Use a budgeting app

          There’s a huge variety of financial planning applications to choose from, for your phone or desktop, so you’ll find it easier to keep your spending under control.

3. Discount days

          Make the most of any discounts or sales events in the run-up to Christmas by buying presents, decorations, or other items during this time. By planning ahead, you can easily make for a more affordable Christmas.

4. Buy second-hand

          Does someone you know love vintage books or clothing? Some cherished items in your loved one’s collection could be the gems you found in a second-hand shop.

5. Sell last year’s unwanted items

          You can supplement your budget by selling any old or unwanted items, or creating something specifically to sell (such as a bake sale, or handmade cards).

6. Book travel early

          If you know you’ll be making the annual pilgrimage home on particular dates, try to book your travel as early as possible. You’ll make the most of discounted travel fares before the prices rise closer to the date.

7. Save on postage costs by collecting in person

          Does the added cost of postage dampen your Christmas mood? If the items in question are local, why not collect them in person rather than have them delivered. Alternatively, you may find items which offer free postage, if travelling is not an option.

8. Cashback on purchases

          Opt for brands or items which offer cashback on your purchases to make your seasonal salary go a little bit further.

9. Check your gift list (twice)

          Thoughtfully preparing a list of gift ideas which fit your budget is a great way of preventing over-spending. Try your best not to deviate from your plan, and your finances should remain in a healthy condition.