Christmas Market
The AFA claims companies that go out of their way to advertise holiday products without including the word "Christmas" are attempting to censor the holiday. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

It's that time of the year once again. The parties, the presents, and the dreaded Christmas dinner are all back and ready to give your bank account a good old knocking.

You may be looking forward to the festivities but your budget is already stretched thin and just thinking about the stress and expenses that comes with the festive season is enough to make you go into hibernation until the New Year.

Not to worry, help is at hand. We have compiled a list of simple tips to help make life in the run up to Christmas just that little bit easier. You can breathe now.

Rule Number 1: Plan ahead

(This is the Golden rule to saving money this Christmas)

Planning ahead is one of the easiest and most efficient ways of saving money this Christmas. Start making lists for everything from what gifts you will be buying, to what you will be serving for Christmas dinner as soon as possible. You will be so glad that you started early. Giving yourself lots of time will not only enable you to budget your spending more affectively it will also reduce the chances of you panicking and making useless purchases on impulse. Spreading you spending over a period of time rather than in one go will be easier on your wallet.

Tip Number 2: Look out for the bargains

More expensive does not always mean better. Hunt for the best deals on everything, from trees to turkeys, to make sure that your Christmas celebrations does not leave an unsightly dent in your wallet. For example, rather that fork out on a lavish Christmas tree costing between £50-100 from Homebase why not opt for a cheaper alternative costing between £ 1- 16 at Poundland or Tesco.

Tip Number 3: Make your own decorations

To make sure that its only extra pounds rather than extra debt that you are carrying into the New Year, why not make your own decorations this Christmas. Homemade decorations such as streamers and chains cost next to nothing to make and add a personal touch to the season. Plus most of the supplies can be found lying around your home. So why not get all the family involved and have some festive fun!

Tip Number 4: Don't overcook and make sure you use leftovers

When it comes to cooking food over Christmas and New Year it's easy to overcook. To makes sure that you won't be throwing money away, only prepare what you will need. But if you find you have leftovers from Christmas day, cut down you food waste by using them to make new meals altogether. Reusing left over food over the festive season will drastically reduce the cost per meal in your household. Be creative with it! Leftover turkey can go into salads, sandwiches and curries and vegetables can be put into soups and stews.

Tip Number 5: Combine gifts

This is an easy way of saving money if you are buying gifts for a couple or even a family. Just make sure to take all parties into consideration to ensure that it's something that they can all enjoy and appreciate. Cinema tickets, spa dates or even dinner at a restaurant are all relatively inexpensive combined gifts.

Tip Number 6: Give a loved one a treat instead of a gift

Why not cut back even further this year and give your loved ones treats instead of gifts. Rather than spend hours trailing the high street award your loved ones coupons on Christmas day that they can trade in for a treat whenever they want. Take time to consider the type of person the recipient is and personalise their treat to their likes and interests. Treats could include a long full body massage for your partner, a day out for the kids or even a romantic home cooked meal. The possibilities are endless!