With most of us having cashed our last paycheck well before Christmas, every penny counts.

1. Make a list and check it twice.

Do you really need to get your partners aunties husband a little something? Be harsh with your nice list and avoid getting pointless presents that will go unappreciated. For all those people that fall into the ‘little something’ category consider making a big batch of something tasty and packaging up smaller bundles for people. Chances are they will appreciate the gesture of something hand made more, just check for any allergies.

Here is a great recipe for chocolate truffles, it will cost about £2.50 to make 50 and takes about 35 mins. What’s not to love.

2. Get the best deal.

If you didn’t manage to get all your shopping done on Black Friday don’t worry. There are lots of tools that can help you find a discount code on whatever site you are shopping on automatically. Our favourite at the moment is Pouch who you might recognise from Dragons Den. Just download the handy plug in to your browsers and whatever site you are on it will pop up with the discount codes. Get it here.

3. Free delivery.

If you are shopping online all those delivery fees can add up quickly. Try opting for click and collect if you can or order early and go for free delivery. If you have ran out of time, take a look and see if you can find it on Amazon. If you can, consider signing up for Amazon Prime. With it you get unlimited one-day delivery. Normally this would cost £79 for the year but right now you can sign up for a 30-day free trial. Just remember to cancel before the end of the 30 days!

4. Get crafty.

There are a few things which we buy and literally throw away days later every year, even though they are suuuuper easy to make. You guessed it, Christmas cards. First establish who will actually notice / appreciate a Christmas card. No, everyone on your street, office, class does not need one. Then get to work making your own. There are loads of great ideas which you don’t need anything special for and look great. Here are a few examples. Or if you don't fancy yourself a crafter, why not print out your cards and save the ££. Your office has a printer right? Here are great printable cards.

5. Travel tips.

Lots of us will be travelling to visit home over the festive season. With train prices and fuel prices soaring it pays to be prepared. We all know the sooner you book the cheaper, but what you might not know is you can usually still get advance tickets on the same day. Apps like the Trainline can be a great place to look. What’s really good is that they now have a Price Predictor tool on their mobile app which does exactly what it says on the tin. Using the tool you can see when prices will go up on train tickets and plan your journey accordingly.

Another great tool is the Fare Splitter by MSE, often it pays to buy multiple tickets for different parts of the same journey rather than one. In their example For a London to Durham return, the cheapest ticket was an anytime return at £301, but four singles stopping at York (which the train already did) was only £82.

6. Christmas party cull.

This time of year there is no shortage of Christmas drinks and parties with friends, family, ex colleagues, neighbours….This can really add up if you are expected to foot some of the bill yourself. Even a work do with dinner paid will end up at the pub with your name on the tab. This can really quickly add up over the course of the festive season. Take a firm hand, if you are going out of obligation or you haven’t worked there for 6 years, you do not need to go and spend £50 on drinks/food at a Christmas party.

7. Cash in.

This is the time of year you are likely to be spending the most. So don’t forget to put those loyalty cards and cashback cards to good use. If you don’t want to carry around a stack of loyalty cards with you try downloading Stocard. This app stores all your loyalty cards ready to use on your phone, it can be used in store or online and will save you fumbling for or more likely forgetting to bring loyalty cards.

8. Boost your budget.

There are lots of ways you can quickly boost your pot of Christmas cash. But as much as it might make sense to clear out your wardrobe and sell unwanted items, this time of year we have enough on our todo list without running a small ecommerce operation. A really quick and easy way to boost your income is by utilising referral schemes. We recently did a blog post about how our top referrers made over £1k a month using simple tricks. Many companies offer referral bonuses so it’s worth checking out!

9. Take a page from The Grinch.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the materialism of Christmas, but sometimes the best gifts are not wrapped. Try offering something else more experience based. Cooking their favourite meal, babysitting the kids, breakfast in bed for a week. You get the idea, chances are they will get far more joy from it and you will save on wrapping paper too!

It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ~Dr Seuss

10. Stay away from credit.

Of course, there is a limit to what you can do to make things more affordable, and somethings will not be possible to avoid. But buying things on credit more often means they are more expensive in the long run. That’s where Plum can help, while you have been living your life, Plum has been busily squirreling away in the background. If you need to dip into your savings, then do, it’s far better than racking up debt and Plum will save you up another pot in no time. Just remember to withdraw by the 20th December to have money in time for Christmas due to banks closing times.

Hopefully these tips help you all to have a wonderful and budget friendly holiday season!