Bonfire Night has passed and – you guessed it – that means Christmas is next on the list. The big turkey dinner, countless presents and plenty of mulled wine is just around the corner. But with that comes a bit of a downside – and we don’t just mean the Brussels sprouts.

Of course, we’re talking about money. From present-buying to the big Christmas food shop, the festive period certainly doesn’t come cheap. In fact, the average household spends more than £500 extra in December. But you don’t have to let finances take over the most wonderful time of the year.

In this post, we’ll take you through five easy budgeting tips for Christmas.

1. Lists, lists and more lists

Our first tip is to stay organised. Whether it’s food, presents or even extra furniture to accommodate your distant relatives, make lists of everything you need to buy over Christmas.

Most importantly, estimate how much it’s going to cost. If you can’t afford it, you’ll have a list of everything you’re buying so it’s easier to shuffle things around or remove a couple of items.

2. Start early

Some people swear by buying Christmas presents in December only. But is it the best way? We don’t think so. Basic supply and demand means that retailers can bump up their prices in the lead up to Christmas – and still sell out.

By buying in October or November, you can make the most of plentiful stock for everyone’s gifts and you’ll have a lot more time to shop around. If you’re really committed to the cause, you can buy presents ridiculously early in the January sales… But we think that might be a step too far.

3. Shop online

Shopping in store, you’ll likely spend hours searching for the right product. When you see what you need, you’ll grab it and buy instead of thinking about the price. Instead, why not buy things online?

For one, you don’t need to walk around the shops to find exactly you need. You can also compare prices from different shops at the click of a button rather than having to drag yourself around. That has the added benefit of saving money on fuel or fares.

4. Regifting

Remember that bodywash gift set your cousin got you last year? It could make the ideal gift for someone else. Rather than reluctantly opening and using it, or even throwing it away, why not pop it somewhere safe and give it to someone else the following year?

If there’s someone you were going to buy a similar present for anyway, there’s no point spending extra cash… Just make sure you don’t give it back to the same person!

5. Plan ahead

Okay, this might be a bit late for this year. But it could be a good lesson learnt for the future. Saving for Christmas throughout the year is a great way to make the festive costs easier to manage.

Keep track of how much you spend on Christmas this year, then break the costs down over eleven months from January to November next year. £500 is unaffordable for most households as a one-off cost, for instance, but it breaks down to just over £40 a month.

How we can help

At Metro Moneywise, we offer a Christmas saving account, which allows members to save directly from their salary. It’s a great way to save for Christmas without feeling like you’re consciously putting money away throughout the year. Even better, it will contribute to the money you receive in your annual dividend, so join us here.

However if all this advice has come a bit too late for you, why not take advantage of our £500 Christmas loan which costs just over £33 in interest if taken out over the year.  Scan and download our Nivo app to apply.