CHRISTMAS will be a struggle for many this year – but you can still have a very merry time without breaking the bank.

We overspend by an average of £740 in the run-up to the big day, according to the Bank of England.

But with families set to be worse off by an average of £3,000 this year and next, you'll likely have less cash to spare than you normally do.

You can avoid getting into debt trying to afford presents, food and parties by following The Sun's Squeeze Team expert Jonathan Chesterman's tips.

Our Squeeze Team is here to help you through a crippling cost of living crisis.

If you’re worried about how to make ends meet, are struggling to pay off your debts or don’t know how best to manage your cash, get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Read More in Money

Buy now, pay later warning over Christmas shopping that could lead to debt

I’m a debt expert – how to get free cash help if you’re struggling to pay rent

Make a list – and check it twice

It's not just Santa who should be making a list and checking it twice this Christmas – you should too.

It's easy to get drawn into tempting offers, deals and discounts at the supermarkets and shops at the best of times.

But a simple trick can stop you from falling into this trap, Jonathan said.

He said: "Go through your budget to look at what you can realistically afford to spend over the festive period.

Most read in Money

SHAKE UP

Five DWP benefits to be scrapped by the end of 2024 – are YOU affected?

WINTER ALERT

Emergency blackout plan WON'T take place tomorrow, National Grid says

BIG BITE

I have to sell my own clothes after my son splurged cash online without me knowing

BEDDING BLISS

B&M is selling a 10p essential – and it may help you avoid having heating on

"Making a list in advance of your Christmas shopping may help you to stick to it and prevent you from buying extras you may not need."

Apps can help you keep on track.

The Christmas Gift List app lets you set a spending limit on presents and tracks who you’ve bought for and which presents you still need to buy.

Set a present budget

Costs can start spiralling if you have a big family with lots of presents to buy.

Sit down with loved ones and set a budget this Christmas, Jonathan said.

He said: "We are all feeling the pressure of increased prices for essentials at the moment, so it may be helpful to discuss with your family and friends the best way to help those who may be struggling financially this Christmas."

Jonathan suggests using Secret Santa as a way of exchanging presents with friends on a budget, while keeping things fun.

You can use free websites like drawnames.co.uk and Elfster to help set up your secret Santa.

Don't be loyal

We all have our favourite supermarket we go to out of habit – or convenience.

But the supermarket just down the road might not be the cheapest.

Jonathan said: "Consider switching to a cheaper supermarket when buying food over the festive season and try looking for websites that compare prices between different supermarkets."

Trolley.co.uk for example compares the prices of 130,000 products across 14 major supermarkets and lets shoppers know which retailer is selling them for less.

While you're at the shops, make sure to download money saving shopping apps.

Cashback apps like Shopmium, CheckoutSmart, GreenJinn and ClickSnap are good ones to try.

They agree on offers with retailers and pass these on to customers.

You can pick up items at big supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury's.

Simply go to the store, buy the product under offer, take a picture of your receipt, upload it to the app and you can get your cash back.

Think before borrowing

If you're finding it hard to scrape together enough to cover Christmas costs, you might be tempted to borrow cash.

But as a cost of living crisis continues to squeeze budgets, you could find yourself struggling to meet repayments.

If you don't keep up with repayments or default on your debt, you could get a black mark on your credit record.

That means you could struggle to get a credit card, loan or mortgage in the future.

Think seriously about whether you can keep up with repayments before taking on any debt – or you might not be able to get a loan or credit card in the future when you really need it.

Jonathan said: "It’s worth pausing for a moment to think about whether your friends and family would really want you to suffer financially as a result of your generosity,"

Read More on The Sun

I’ve been forced to sleep in TENT because my mouldy house is making me sick

I’m a time-traveller and I KNOW who wins the World Cup…I have video proof

Read More on The Sun

People are just realising how to unlock supermarket trolley without £1 coin

Mike Tindall reveals secrets of staying over at the Palace on I’m A Celeb

We explain how you can make £527 in time for the big day.

Plus, here's the full list of Christmas menus at pubs and chains including Nando's and Wetherspoons.

Source: Read Full Article