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With twinkling lights, cheery carols, and colourful decorations already brightening up shopping centres and airports, it’s easy to forget your budget and spend a little more than you intended on Christmas gifts, food and decorations.

However, with a little planning you can reduce the cost of Christmas. Here’s five easy ways to get you started.

Start Shopping for Christmas Gifts as Early as Possible

Don’t wait until December to start your Christmas gift shopping.

By then, all the good quality, reasonably-priced products will have been sold and the stores will be filled with expensive, over-priced gifts.

If possible, shop for Christmas gifts throughout the year.

Whenever you see a great gift for someone you love, purchase it immediately, if funds allow.

At home, wrap it up, add a gift tag, and store it in a dedicated cupboard or “hiding place”.

If you haven’t yet started Christmas gift shopping this year, start now!

There are still many sales and good deals to be found in early November like this one from The Book Depository. Enjoy up to 40% off their Christmas selection PLUS we’ll give you up to 5% cashback here.

The Body Shop are offering those who spend $90 or more (after any discount and excluding shipping costs), a FREE Coconut Bundle providing you with an extra gift for another friend or family member. Click here to access the offer.

For mens and womens shoes and bags, shop before November 30 via this link, and Styletread will give you $20 off your full priced purchase. PLUS we’ll throw in up to 10% cashback.

If it is makeup, skincare, haircare and/or fragrances you are looking for, for your loved ones this Christmas, Strawberrynet have a huge selection at great prices. To access their latest Christmas coupons and 8% cashback, click here.

Spread the Cost of Food and Drink

The last grocery shop before Christmas is always expensive.

In order to reduce its cost, start buying two or three extra non-perishable items each week.

Store them in a separate cupboard and, by the time Christmas rolls around, all you’ll need to shop for are meat, vegetables and other fresh food.

If you start shopping for Christmas food and drink 12 weeks before Christmas by adding just two extra items a week, you’ll have 24 products ready for Christmas.

Make Use of What You Already Have

Most people have lots of Christmas items tucked away in their garage or attic.

However, instead of getting everything out and reusing as many things as possible, many people tend to just buy more.

Challenge yourself to find all the Christmas-related items in every corner of your home and see how many you can use again this year.

Don’t buy anything new until you’re convinced that you don’t already have something similar!

You might also have food and drink that you can use at Christmas. Look through your kitchen cupboards and freezer to see what you can find.

Make Things for Christmas

You can make many things for Christmas yourself, including decorations, Christmas cards, gift tags and wrapping paper, which can be especially fun if you have little people to help you!

You can even make some Christmas presents.

You don’t have to be very creative to make unique personalized gifts.

Look online (Pinterest.com) and in magazines for ideas and inspiration.

If you enjoy baking, you can make a Christmas cake, Christmas cookies, gingerbread, and many other Christmas treats.

Schedule one or more baking sessions in the run-up to Christmas.

For a cost-effective range of baking goods and arts and crafts supplies, shop with Target and receive up to 6% cashback here.

Send Christmas e-cards

Sending Christmas e-cards has become an increasingly popular alternative to sending paper-based Christmas cards by mail in recent years.

Consider sending Christmas e-cards to at least some of the people on your Christmas card list.

You’ll save money on Christmas cards and stamps, and the environment will benefit because fewer cards will end up in landfill sites and less energy will be used during the paper recycling process.

You also won’t need to worry about mailing deadlines because you can send an e-card to anyone in the world as late as Christmas Eve.

Christmas doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive.

If you save some money on gifts, decorations, cards, food, drink, and other Christmas essentials, you’ll still enjoy Christmas and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when your bank and credit card statements arrive in January.

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