Start planning Christmas early to catch the best bargains! Christmas is an expensive time for everyone, leaving everyone strapped for cash in the New Year. There are plenty of ways to save money, or enjoy Christmas on a budget with just a little know-how so take a look at our guide to spreading the cost of Christmas 2012.
Get online to take advantage of discounted decorations, Christmas trees, cards, gift wrap- and many, many more festive must haves. There are many online stores offering these items at a slashed price. Alternatively, keep your eye on sites like Gumtree - often people are giving away items which would make perfect Christmas presents, because they are moving house and cannot take the item with them. The items for sale section might also have some bargains so it's worth logging on to have a look.
Look out for Voucher Codes
Be sure to take a look online for vouchers, coupons and discount codes before you buy. Sites like Groupon, VoucherCodes and Living Social offer daily deals on a range of activities from great gifts to weekends away and spa deals- so if you are thinking of giving a gift experience this Christmas, check out these sites.
Hang on to reward gifts
According to a recent survey by paid surveys company Valued Opinions 41 per cent of people will be using rewards in addition to Christmas presents with 31 per cent of people mostly likely to use their rewards on themselves, 24per cent on their children and 10 per cent on their partner. So it's worth hanging onto any vouchers or coupons you may come across or accrue throughout the year.
Visit a charity shop
Visit your local charity shop for fun Christmas inspiration which will cost you a fraction of the price. Things like board games to play on Christmas Eve, household accessories like tree decorations and tableware are popular donations are most charity stores and could be a treasure strove for someone on a budget.
If you have older children who might be looking for a bike or iPod this Christmas, ask them if they would mind waiting on their special gift until Boxing Day. Many sales take place between Boxing Day and New Year and you can pick up lots of bargains if you are willing to hit the shops- and the crowds! Fill up their stockings with sweet treats, trinkets and small gifts to open on the day then take to the streets for some post-Christmas indulging. For some more inspiration we have put together a pinterest board looking at frugal ideas for Christmas gifts.
What is Santa bringing you this Christmas?