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There is no doubt that Christmas is an expensive time of year for all. By the time the New Year ticks over most of us probably refuse point blank to look at our bank statements and dread the "January Blues".

But the Festive Season doesn’t have to be a money drain and there are indeed ways to save money this Christmas. So put down that extra turkey you think you may need and return the pool of fairy lights you just had to have. We’ll show you how to do Christmas the right way this year.

Here is a list of 10 ways to save money this Christmas

Make a shopping list

If you only buy what you need, shopping doesn’t have to be expensive. Create a shopping list with items that you need (i.e. a gift per person), instead of items that you want. This helps you avoid impulse purchases and keep track of your budget and the cost of each item.

Make sure you establish a budget ahead of time to avoid spending more than you should. Remember, January is a long month and overspending before your next pay check could initiate a Hunger Games situation if you aren’t careful.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa doesn’t have to be just for the office. As a family you can decide on a budget that you are all comfortable spending and then each draw a name from a hat.

A great way to ensure that each person will love their present is for everyone to fill out information with the following questions; “What do you have enough of?”; “What do you need?”; “What do you not need?”

They can also add a couple of hobbies and interests to help make the Secret Santa process easier. This way everyone will get a gift that they will definitely like.

Shop online

Shopping online is a great way to take advantage of a wide variety of great deals. Instead of trudging to every mall in your area in search of the perfect gift and at the right price, shop online and let your gifts come to you.

This will also save you plenty of money on petrol and parking tickets, not to mention less frustration over battling the Christmas mall crowds.

Give gifts of service

They say that everyone has a love language, and more often than not, a gift of service can be extremely significant to someone in need. The ballpark for a gift of service is endless but usually revolves around acts of kindness to others.

This could include mowing the lawn for your elderly parents, helping around the house, running an errand for a friend or family member or cooking dinner for someone when you know they have been run off their feet and just need a bit of a break.

Consider a cashback credit card

Cashback credit cards like bsmart work by giving you a percentage of your purchase back each time you swipe your card at an accredited retailer. This means that your shopping will be instantly cheaper.

You can then save the rest of your budget for something that you really need or want. This could mean supplementing your holiday fund or helping to pay back any debt – the choice is up to you.

Don’t overbuy food

We often think that Christmas is the time of year where we fling all our diets out the window and eat as much as we like. While this may be true (January You is going to hate this) we are often left with more food than we need and give large amounts of it away with departing Christmas guests.

Be smart with your Christmas lunch choices this year and cater how you normally would for a dinner with a specified amount of guests. This way, everyone is well-fed, January You will thank you and you are not left with a huge hole in your pocket.

Start shopping now

There is no time like the present. Start shopping now so that you can spread out your budget over two or three salary months. This way, all purchases are quite manageable and don’t have you gasping for air at the end of the Festive Season.

As you clink glasses to welcome in the New Year, be satisfied that you have made your budget work for you in the best way possible.

Give homemade gifts

While you may not be a Picasso or a Da Vinci, you can make homemade gifts that you know will be well-received. This type of gift could be the result of a longstanding joke between you and the receiver or simply just a sweet little gift to show that you care.

Never underestimate the power of a well-thought out and time-spent present. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that remind you of each other and not by how much they cost.

Use voucher codes

When in doubt, go the coupon route. Often enough, if we do our homework, we can really make our Christmas budget work for us. Keep an eye out for potential deals and when they are happening and get more bargain for your buck.

Share the cost of Christmas

If you are playing host this Christmas, why not inform everyone of what they can bring? Nine times out of ten, guests are just waiting for you to let them know what you need help with. Don’t be shy to let some of your excellent cook friends know that you would be grateful for the help.

When it comes to Christmas, make your budget work for you. This will really help you ease the ‘January Blues’ and it won’t be at the expense of celebration and fun for you and your loved ones.

Remember, Christmas is about spending quality time with your loved ones. It is a time where you get to bring family and friends from far and wide together once a year. Make it a holiday to remember instead of a holiday you wish never happened (financially.

- bsmart