Christmas may be a magical time of year, but it can also be an expensive one. If you're like me then the chances are you want to spoil all your friends and family, supply great food, and have the odd tipple at the ready. However, all of this comes at a cost that can leave your bank account feeling unloved well into January.
The festive season is seen by many as a great excuse to indulge, but while this can be fun for the family, you still need to be sensible about your outgoings. It is all too easy to get carried away and then find the kitty is totally empty before Christmas has even arrived.
To avoid this happening, here are some great tips and tricks you can use to keep track of money and reduce how much you spend.
Presents are one of the biggest expenditures at this time of year as people rush to spoil those they love. However, you can save money and still get everyone a great gift.
Rather than just buying things as you see them, planning ahead and creating a list of who you are buying for, what you want to get them and how much you are willing to spend on each person will help you stick to budget.
Once you have this sorted, you can start looking for their presents at the best price. The Jewellery Channel has a great range of gifts for everyone at brilliant prices so you are sure to make a lot of people happy on Christmas morning, as well as keeping your bank account happy.
Just remember, you don't have to spend every penny allocated to a single person. If you manage to get them the gift you wanted for less money, it doesn't mean you need to buy them something else to hit your budget.
Stick to budget
It's all well and good creating a budget, but it can do little to curb your spending if you don't stick to it.
You should have a certain amount set aside for food, drink and gifts and you should be sure not to go over this. If you finish your food shopping and come in under budget, you can put the spare cash towards an area you might overspend to give you a bit more leeway.
However, if you go over budget on everything, you'll be struggling to get through the month.
Look for deals
Keeping an eye out for deals on everything from mince pies to free gift postage can really help you save the pennies.
When it comes to food shopping, make a list of everything you are going to need and then look for the best deals from your local supermarkets.
You can get great low prices at some of the budget supermarkets without compromising on quality, while online shopping can help you accurately compare the cost of bigger supermarkets. You might also find that online shopping stops you from impulse buying, which can end up costing you.
The Jewellery Channel has great offers and deals everyday that are hard to beat. Whether shopping from the TV or on our site, you'll be able to get hold of stunning gifts at low prices, helping to reduce your outgoings.
You need to look at how much money you have coming in before Christmas and what you need to spend on before even thinking about presents and festive food. This will help you create an accurate budget.
You should also aim to set some money aside for emergencies. This will cover you if anything unexpected happens that requires to shell out. Not having an emergency fund at the ready for December could leave you out of pocket.
Don't feel obligated
If you think you've finished all your Christmas shopping and then someone gives you a gift, you don't necessarily have to get them something. I know it can be an awkward moment, but if you weren't aware they were planning on buying you something in the first place, or if you don't know them that well, you don't have to give them a gift in return.
For those that can't quite deal with not giving something, most people will be happy with a box of chocolates or tin of biscuits. Getting them something low cost will still be okay; after all, it's the thought that counts.
Spend within your means
If you can't afford a big Christmas, don't try and have one. We all have years when we can't do as much as we would like over the festive period but this doesn't matter.
The season is all about family and friends, so if you have that, what does it matter? You can always spoil people more next year.