The Citizens Advice Bureau forecasts an increase in personal debt for many as consumers spend more than they can really afford over the festive season. After all, Christmas doesn’t come cheap! In 2008, the British spent a combined total of £43.9 billion and that figure is forecasted to rise to £44.7 billion this year. However, there are a few steps you can take to cut your spending without budgeting your enjoyment.

  • Set a budget and stick to it! If you haven’t done so already, you should sit down and calculate exactly what you can afford to spend. Take into account your income and your regular living expenses and calculate conservatively!
  • Use cash! Alright, so this is not possible if you are spending online, but when you’re spending in the shops, using cash means that keeping a tally on your Christmas spending is much easier. You know how much you have and you can see instantly when it runs out!
  • Shop around. This is far easier online of course. But it’s a practice you should really employ in the shopping centres too. Yes, it can be nightmarish fighting your way through shops around the festive shopping period, but it’s worth your while to ensure you get the best deal.
  • Special offers! Employ a little frugality and take advantage of the 3 for 2 offers and the discount days in major High Street stores. A number of the major chains have planned sales in the run up to Christmas and buying during these sales will make your money go a little further.
  • Check online for discount codes. A quick search in any search engine will return a huge number of these that can be used when shopping online at various e-commerce sites to take a sneaky little discount off. 10% off a £10 purchase might not make an obvious difference to your bank account, but at Christmas we tend to spend significantly more and these discounts can make a noticeable difference.

Christmas tends to be expensive regardless of what thrifty tactics we use to cut our spending. However, the Citizens Advice Bureau warns of excessive credit card spending in the festive season, leading to a nasty debt hangover in the new year. Being a little more thrifty can help you stay within budget and avoid spending money you don’t have!

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