The adverts have started to appear, the seasons are changing and the shelves are getting a more festive cheer. That time of year has come around once again, Christmas is edging into our minds. So it is time to make sure you are prepared for all that the next few months bring.

Starting with what can be the most daunting of the two days, the meal. Turkeys, hams, sweets and yams – there is seemingly no end to the trolley dash around supermarkets in these periods. But don’t be fooled by advertisements and catchy slogans, the shops know you are going to be spending big to cater to everyone’s needs and they are looking to cash in on your good will.

The most common mistake made in the lead up to Christmas is spending beyond our means. The National Retail Federation suggests in 2018 consumers are expecting to spend 4.1% more in the winter holidays. These days there are so many demands on our purse strings that come these big family-centered days we suddenly put extra stress on our bank accounts that they aren’t prepared to cope with. For example, according to household debt was as high as $12.73 trillion in 2017, and that is a figure high in anyone’s book.

So what are the tips and tricks for navigating the next few months to avoid spending big but also making sure the family is catered for and everyone has a good time. Well for starters coupons are a big help with any shop and can often reduce your spend. It may take some time to find what you need but in the long run, making sure you keep your cash in your pockets is worth the energy.

Staying with shops, one thing that can be a big help year round is keeping an eye on price comparison websites. Using these helpful websites won’t just assist you when it comes time to buy the presents but also with purchasing food and drinks. And best of all, sometimes a comparison website will direct you to a smaller store that you wouldn’t have considered before so you get to spread your seasonal cheer to a local business person or family.

Finally, don’t be afraid to get experimental in the kitchen. With some good organization is the days and weeks leading up to Christmas you can make a lot of the treats and snacks yourself, making a saving in the meantime. A lot of the cakes and sweets that we buy at this time of year share common ingredients so bulk buying those and putting your baking skills to the test will help you save and give you the reward of knowing not just what your family is eating but also that you made it for them.

So put down those credit card bills and be prepared to win at Christmas spending this year and every year going forward.