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Don't panic, but the main event is just three weeks away! If you're still in the midst of a present and food-shopping frenzy and are wondering how you're going to pay for it all, fear not – we've got some top tips on how you can cut the cost of Christmas to have a debt-free New Year.
· Do your research. Research is key, so have a look through your gift list and start comparing prices online. The first shop you think of invariably won't be the cheapest, and you could be surprised at how much you can save. As an added bonus, heading online means you can avoid the mad rush of the high street, so it's a win-win.
· Use cashback. If you've got a cashback or reward credit card, now's the time to see just how many rewards you've accumulated this year – and see where you can spend them. And, if you're using plastic to fund your festive shop, make sure to use one of these cashback cards (or a 0% purchase card if you want to spread the cost) and get money back in your pocket with every spend. If you're really savvy, you could even put the extra cash into a savings account for next year…
· Use vouchers. Vouchers and discount codes can be lifesavers at this time of year, so never buy anything without having a quick search to see if you can instantly cut your costs.
· Do it yourself. From Christmas cards to decorations and even the gifts themselves, now's the time of year to roll up your sleeves and indulge in a bit of DIY. Think homemade fudge and truffles for recipients with a sweet tooth, look for candle or soap-making tutorials online, and head outside to find holly, branches or other festive sprigs to create a natural and completely free display. You could even go old-school with paper chains for added decoration – it'll look retro and save a small fortune!
· Don't feed the five thousand. When it's time to do the festive food shop, remember that you're not trying to feed the whole street, just your household. It can be easy to get carried away at this time of year, but if you only buy what you really need, you'll save huge amounts of cash and avoid wastage in the process. Remember to do your research here, too, and don't overlook discount food chains – you could halve your costs and then some by going for cheaper brands (they often come out on top in taste tests, too).
· Make the most of festive rewards. It's time to take a close look at all those loyalty cards filling your wallet – have you racked up enough points for a few freebies? Head to the shops and take advantage! And, if you're shopping online, make sure to use a cashback site for an added cash boost next year.
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