5 ways to avoid overspending this Christmas

Jane Symonds at the Money Advice Service has collected together her top tips for ensuring you enjoy the celebrations without the New Year financial hangover:

1. Fix your budget

List what you expect to spend on Christmas – from presents and decorations to all other expenses such as food, socialising and transport. Keep a detailed list of your expenses so you don't blow your budget. Be mindful that you'll have to keep some cash to pay the mid-January bills after Christmas. Use the Money Advice Service's Christmas Money Planner to help you stay on track.

2. Boost your Christmas fund

You might be surprised at what you can cut back on to free up some spare cash! For example, limiting takeaways, taking a packed lunch to work, and swapping your morning cappuccino for an instant coffee throughout December can make a real difference. Try Money Advice Service's Cut-back calculator to see how spare change soon adds up!

3. Online or offline?

Watch for special offers, and check for discount vouchers online and in newspapers. When comparing costs, always check if delivery charges are included in the total cost so you don't get a shock when you get to the checkout.

4. Credit warning

Payday loans are advertised as quick access to cash, but can cost a lot more than you bargained for if you do not repay in full or on time. Always explore all the alternatives before considering this option. For example, you could extend your overdraft, apply for a credit card or join a local credit union instead. 

5. New Year's resolution

Come January 2015, next Christmas will seem far away but it's never too early to start a savings plan to fund the festivities in 2015. Open a savings account and transfer a set amount via Direct Debit each pay day. Over the course of a year, a small amount each month (say £10) could accumulate a tidy sum (£110) which could make a big difference when Christmas comes around again.


There's more money-saving advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.