Don’t panic!There’s fewer than 100 days to go!

Julian Berkeley of Christians Against Poverty kindly reminds us that Christmas is not far away. But he has some good news for those on a budget…

EACH year, September 16 marks the start of a very special countdown. The summer months fade into a distant memory and as the air gets colder and the evenings get darker, the reality is it’s only 100 days until Christmas.
The cash conscious adult masks the excited child in us, and the “to buy” list seems to grow as the days tick by…

But don’t panic, we’ve got you covered. Christmas may drain your energy but it doesn’t have to drain your bank account.

We have put together some top tips to make January a little more manageable, whilst still achieving the magic of Christmas.

1. D.I.Y – Everyone knows the Christmas bill would be much smaller if everything were handmade.

However, in reality – we aren’t all Christmas elves and our everyday jobs aren’t put on hold just for the festive period.

We suggest batch making presents, and then personalising them slightly for friends and relatives.
Some popular ideas are festive chutneys and biscuits – this way the gift will be truly appreciated and a quarter of the price!

2. Christmas cupboard – Allocate a storage space in your home and collect festive treats and goodies.

Grabbing one or two items from each weekly shop leading up to December will dramatically reduce the size of your last-minute Christmas Eve shopping list.

3. Don’t rely on the December income – Work out in advance what you can afford to put aside in September, October and November, then add this to your December fund and your Christmas budget will stretch much further.

Don’t forget you’ll still have bills to pay in January.

4. Book in advance – If you’re planning on travelling for Christmas, whether it’s coming home from University or a getaway to visit relatives, booking ahead is the key to the getting the best price.

Train tickets, flights and accommodation will rocket in costs around the festive period, so do your research now and steal the deals. Check out Martin Lewis’s moneysavingexpert.com site for cheap rail tickets and split ticketing to save you £££s and also cheap flights/packages.

5. Don’t buy things that don’t get eaten – Resist the temptation as you stroll the supermarket aisles to pick up everything that is mildly related to Christmas.

Things like Christmas cake may be traditional but they aren’t everyone’s favourite. If they’re likely to end up in the bin, don’t waste your money!

6. Don’t procrastinate! – It’s tempting to ignore the fact that Christmas exists until it’s staring you in the face; get ahead of the game now and start your prep early.

Team up with family members and plan in advance; you could group your funds together to buy a big present for a member of the family that you wouldn’t be able to buy alone.

For more information about CAP’ s services, or to find a CAP Money Course or CAP Debt Centre near you, check out capuk.org or free phone 0800 328 0006.

Living with unmanageable debt can be debilitating; you don’t have to do it alone.