Christmas falls on December 25 every year and we all know it’s coming but some of us forget to tell our wallets! This time of year is a favourite among young and old, and the lights, decorations and the joy of being around those you love makes it all the more special.

But how about some tips to help make your season even merrier by saving some money? Here are a few ideas to make your holidays a little easier (and cheaper) to get through and allow you more relaxation time with family and friends.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Write out your plan listing everything you will need to buy and do this Christmas. Plan your food shopping list in advance, and check where you can get the cheapest ingredients and groceries. If you are doing the cooking, work out a menu plan, including everything you will eat and what groceries you need to buy.

Make Your List

Making a list assists you in determining a budget and can help you stick to it. Write down the names of those you will be buying presents for and what you plan on buying them. It’s not necessary to spend a small fortune on presents, choose to embrace a season of simplicity and go for handmade gifts and fun ideas that make Christmas more enjoyable anyway. Check out etsy.com for some great handmade gifts!

Prepare your budget now

Work out how much Christmas will cost you and start putting aside the money for it each week. When you see something on special, buy it from your allocated Christmas money and do not go over budget. Don’t rely on credit cards; you don’t want to be still paying for Christmas into the New Year!

Stock up each week

If you have your Christmas plan and know what groceries you will need, stock up a little each week. It will reduce the stress and expense the closer it gets to Christmas as you will have absorbed the cost each week instead of doing one big Christmas shop. Save the perishables for last!

Look for the sales

There are sales going all the time for various things. Keep an eye out in your letterbox and newspapers for specials at your favourite stores. This way you will know when something on your Christmas list is a bargain and you can buy it at a reduced price. A little bit of saving here and there will add up and make your 2011 Christmas just that little bit easier on your pocket. HO HO HO !