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The cost of Christmas can be a financial burden for many families. Instead of a time of happiness and goodwill, the season can be one of financial misery.

We hope you'll find a few tips here to help you prepare, enjoy and survive the financial challenges of the Christmas season.

The best suggestion we can offer is to follow our budget programme. Just like any other expenditure, you can regularly budget for the cost of Christmas, building up a fund over the year.

If you don't establish a regular budget, then we suggest that you make some sort of estimate of the total cost of your Christmas spending. Please use our Christmas Cost Calculator. This will help you account for all the costs of Christmas and will quickly give you an idea of what you're going to be up for at the end of the year.

Other tips

  • Join a Christmas club programme, for example at your local supermarket. These are not a bad investment in themselves. The programmes we looked at give you an extra five dollars for each hundred dollars of Christmas club vouchers you buy.
  • Open a special bank account dedicated to your Christmas fund and automatically credit to it a regular amount from your pay.
  • Plan early for Christmas, for example buy presents during the year. You might get some bargains along the way.
  • Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the true spirit of Christmas doesn't have to include the most expensive presents. The Oily Rag series has some ideas for heartfelt giving, such as baking or growing gifts.
  • Find Christmas craft ideas at TipzTime.