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Start planning now for Christmas

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Start planning now to avoid overspending in 2015.

I reckon you should start planning for Christmas 2015 right now. In January.

Here are three things to focus on now:

1. Think about who you want to give to

Draw up a list now of all the people you’re likely to want to buy a present for in December. Then think about how much you want to spend in total on presents. Write all this information down.

Now that you’ve set budget targets for your Christmas spending, you’ll be less likely to go mad making expensive impulse purchases in the run-up to the big day.

In fact, budgeting is a great strategy for controlling all your spending, not just for Christmas. One of the best budgeting tools out there is lovemoney.com’s MoneyTrack tool.

And you can also get a great view of your finances and take control of them using our Plans tool. Sign up today for your free 30-day trial today and plan out your year.

2. Buy a present a month

You can spread out the cost of Christmas by buying presents gradually through the year. Just keep an eye on your total Christmas budget and don’t spend too much on the presents.

You don’t have to stick rigidly to the ‘one present a month’ rule. If you spot an amazing bargain at some point, then fine, snap it up! As long as you stay within your overall budget. If you need to buy more than 12 presents, you’ll need to buy more than a present than a month!

A 0% purchase credit card could be useful in helping you spread out your spending if one present you want to buy is particularly expensive, and you can also earn cashback with top cards like the Santander 123 credit card. This offers a 23-month period where no interest will be accumulated on purchases, and better still offers up to 3% cashback on your daily spend.

This particular card does have an annual fee of £24, but this is waived for the first year. Most importantly, make sure you're able to pay off your debt before the 0% period ends on any purchase card, or you'll start paying heavy interest! 

3. Save up for your food

Of course, you’ll have to buy most of your food in December, so it also makes sense to save up throughout the year.

Savings rates aren't great right now, but you can compare all deals, including peer-to-peer and cash ISA rates in our savings store. You might also consider making your money work harder in a top current account, as both TSB and Nationwide offer accounts with a 5% (variable) interest rate, although the Nationwide deal reverts to 1% after a year.

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