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No matter how far in advance we prepare for Christmas, many of us will end up with unexpected costs, which often results in over-spending. With more festivities, parties, and reasons to be merry in December, budgeting and financial planning can sometimes come in at the bottom of the priorities list. However, being prepared and savvy with your money doesn’t mean you must play by Scrooge’s rules.

Personal loan provider, Hitachi Personal Finance, has collated a simple list of useful dos and don’ts to help keep your finances under control over the festive period.

Do keep on top of bills

With so much more to think about in the run up to Christmas, it can be easy to forget that day-to-day life still goes on and that your suppliers still need paying on time. To make life easier, why not set up direct debits and standing orders to ensure you’re on top of payments? Plan these into your budgets, so you don’t have to think about it on the day a payment is due.

Don’t get carried away with an early December wage

Most UK companies pay their staff slightly earlier in December. But don’t forget that a short and sweet December makes for a very long January, so make sure you plan ahead and budget accordingly.

Don’t be tempted into spending more than you can afford

This sounds obvious, but for those with a lot of people to buy for, and the inevitable last-minute shopping trips, it can be tempting to rely on credit. Try to set reasonable budgets for payments on gifts, social events, food and other areas you may need to account for, and do your best to stick to them.

Do start spending early

Whether that means buying next year’s wrapping paper in the January sales, or buying gifts as and when you see them throughout the year, starting early could stop you from panic buying, spreading the overall cost and reducing the pressure on you and your finances.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on your bank accounts

It takes courage to glimpse at your bank account after a spending spree. However, with online fraud increasing, Christmas can be an opportunity for hackers, as they take advantage of blending in with any above average spending behaviour. Whatever you do, don’t forget to keep an eye on your bank accounts and credit report regularly, to ensure everything looks in order.

A spokesperson from Hitachi Personal Finance said: “Planning ahead might sound like a bit of a chore when there are other priorities that need your attention, but in the long run it could save time and money. Nobody likes to start the New Year with money worries after all!  Remember, as long as you’re with those you care about on the day, you’re guaranteed a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!”

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