With Christmas just around the corner, it’s not a bad time of year to take a look at your finances and put some plans in place to avoid the debt crunch that usually follows the Christmas period. Many people find themselves in a cold sweat as they anticipate the January credit card bill, well aware of what is listed, and what they are not holding in the bank. If Christmas costs are already keeping you up at night, check out these 5 useful tips below. You can also find more information online from budgeting assistance services like Debt Rescue.

1 - Get Ruthless Between Now and Then

Okay it’s a couple of months out from Christmas – time to get serious. Work out what discretionary spending you can cut out entirely (it’s only for a couple of months after all). Corral this money for Christmas spending, and challenge yourself to spend only this money on Christmas presents. Stick to your budget no matter what – remember that friends and relatives who turn up their noses at inexpensive gifts may not be worth spending a fortune on.

2 - Take Stock Of Your Current Situation

Take a few hours to get clear on where you’re at with your finances this far out from the holiday. Set a few rules regarding how much you might want to spend, and where you’d like to see your finances tracking in the months following the holiday season. This will give you some guidelines within which to operate.

3 - Pay In Advance

This one is one of the best Christmas presents you can give yourself; pay a bit extra into your regular debt accounts like your mortgage or rent, utilities, mobile phone and internet plan – just in case you need some breathing space after the holidays. You’ll feel so much better knowing you’re that little bit ahead of the game.

4 - Go Cash Or Go Home

In the couple of months between now and the end of the year, challenge yourself to leave your credit cards at home. Take only a certain amount of cash with you when you go out – and when it’s gone, it’s gone. You’re done; you can spend no more. See how much this saves you in a week, two weeks; a month. You might surprise yourself – and you’ll do wonders for your Christmas fund.

5 - The Christmas Fund

Lastly, there’s the easy matter of setting up a specific account for Christmas monies. While you may not be able to put much away in the two months till Christmas, a little is better than none. Perhaps you can begin to eBay last year’s Christmas pressies in order to fund this year’s – have all proceeds for online sales funnelled into your Paypal account and discipline yourself to spend only from that account for your Christmas items.

Christmas needs not be a scary time for those of you who are budget conscious enough to be aware of the impact this holiday has on your wallet. With a little planning and a few strategies, you can get your finances ready for the assault of holly and tinsel.

What’s your top tip for getting your finances ready for Christmas? Let others know via the comments box below.

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