As December approaches and the winter weather draws in, there is often only one thing on people’s minds. Twinkling lights appearing in the windows, and people are putting up their trees and decorations. Shopping for gifts and preparing the biggest feast of the year.

Yes, Christmas and the festive season are always a huge priority and focus for many families. For some people, this time of year is full of fun and laughter, whereas others will start to feel the stress that Christmas can bring. Especially if you are watching the pennies.

Christmas is traditionally a time of year to give and spend time with the people that you love, but you don’t need to break the bank to have a good time. Here are some of the ways that you can have a fantastic Christmas on a budget.

Create a budget

A great way to be more clear on Christmas is to create a budget and think about what you have available to spend. Take time to write a list of all of the potential outgoings, and then look to take off the list of the non-essential things.

Or find ways you can do alternatives instead that won’t cost anything or as much. Once you have the final list of the things that will have a cost, set an amount that you want to append.

Think about gifts for specific people, the Christmas feast, and additional extras such as visits to Santa or events. The earlier you do this, the more time you have to save and plan.

Have a Christmas savings pot

An easy way to create some funds is to start saving as early as possible in the year. Creating a separate savings account dedicated to Christmas and adding what you can each week or month gives you some guilt-free money to spend.

You could add the cost of a takeaway each week, or set yourself an affordable amount each month and have it automatically transferred.

Plan ahead for the festive feast

It is the feast of the year, the time where you eat all the wonderful tasty foods that have been appearing in magazines for the last few months. But if you don’t plan ahead, you could miss out on the big turkey or ham that will be your centerpiece.

Buying food in advance that can be stored is a great tip. Keeping it locked away ready for Christmas week. Things like meats can be bought in advance and frozen until needed.

Or, better still, order a hamper and designate a delivery day. Pay for it in advance or installments, and that is the feast taken care of with a few clicks of a button. Easy!

You could also start to buy items each week that can be easily stored in a cupboard or pantry. A great tip is to buy one extra item each time you do your weekly food shop.

Whether it is a box of chocolates, biscuits, or an extra bottle of wine, these things can be easily stored away ready for the Christmas period to start, and helps spread the cost.

Declutter before Christmas

Another great tip is to consider decluttering your home before December. Not only does it create more space and clears your home ready for the festive season, but you could also find some items that could be resold online. The money you make could be added to your Christmas fund.

Have a budget for gifts and alternative ideas you could try

Buying gifts for friends and family can get a little out of hand when you don’t organize yourself. You might miss someone out completely, or end up buying for someone twice over.

Writing a list of what you need to buy and your budgets will keep you on track and also help you to not overspend. Doing this early will allow you to enjoy the lead-up to Christmas, without that mad dash to the shops or the worry over your finances.

You could also try alternative options for Christmas gifts this year. Maybe a secrets Santa for the whole family with a set budget for adults could be a good idea to reduce what you have to spend.

When it comes to buying gifts, you could look at price trackers online to ensure that you are paying the best possible price. This is especially useful for children’s gifts where many shops could be selling the same thing.

Let’s talk Christmas cards

Christmas cards are the one thing we can send out too late, or forget entirely. But I guarantee the thought of writing them and sending them out will have crossed your mind. It is at this point you need to take action. It is never too early to start writing those cards out and leaving a pile to deliver when December arrives.

A great tip is to start writing them early and budgeting your costs when it comes to stamps by buying one as and when you can. The earlier you start, the better. This spreads the cost.

You should also consider creating your own this year. It adds a real personal touch. Finally, it might be time to ditch the card altogether? Many people are going digital, which means you could send an ecard to the people you love.

A little note about security

Christmas is a very difficult time for many, so it is also important for you to protect yourself. While you may be trying to ensure you have the best Christmas without breaking the bank, you also don’t want to undo any hard work if your home isn’t as secure as it could be.

Ensure you are keeping your home secure

Home security needs to be a top priority at this time of year. Burglary increases due to the number of high-priced items in your home and how frequently you vacate them to see family and friends. Make sure that you keep things secure.

Be careful what you announce on social media

Finally, be careful what you announce on social media like Facebook and Twitter. It can be a time of year where people will broadcast what they are spending and doing. Ensure you have the right levels of privacy on your social media platforms to protect yourself.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to have the best Christmas on a budget.

And for more Christmas on a budget ideas, be sure to check out these top 10 Christmas traditions that are either free or very affordable too.

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