Does anyone else face the constant temptation to overspend at Christmas? It is a real battle sometimes to tame my shopping desires, but this year, for many of us, it is absolutely necessary. If budgets are not set, the likelihood is that the number of people living in debt will increase significantly. Despite this, it can be a tricky subject to tackle.

Here are five ways in which you can broach the subject of budget setting for Christmas without sounding like Scrooge.

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Suggest Secret Santa

No one is suggesting that presents should not be exchanged but partaking in Secret Santa could significantly reduce the overall costs and everyone receives a gift in the end. It really only works with 10 or more recipients to ensure everyone gets someone not in their immediate family and make it fun.

If you have a large family get-together at Christmastime, this could be a fun way of spending time together, trying to guess who the mystery gifter was.

Although you can do this the old-school way of putting names into a hat and drawing them out, many families live away from each other and you could look at an online Secret Santa organiser, such as elfster.com.

Suggest a Limit

If you still wish to give presents to everyone, suggesting a limit may help to keep costs down. If you are buying for eight other people and are limited as to what you can spend, suggest £5 to £10 maximum per person, knowing that you would then be spending up to £40 or £80. If other people choose to indulge further by spending more, that is their decision.

Suggest Just the Children

For large families with lots of children, there would be absolutely no harm in putting forward the idea that presents are purchased solely for young people. Christmas would not be the same without the beaming smiles of youngsters, so it is ok to make them centre stage. Of course, where there are only one or two kids, this might be a little odd and frowned upon.

Suggest an Outing

Instead of forking out loads of money on presents, why not suggest that you all club together and spend money on an outing together? It could be something that you do during the festive period, such as a meal out followed by the local pantomime. Alternatively, you could buy vouchers for an amusement park, theatre performance or safari trip. That way, you get to experience the joy of the Christmas present altogether.

Suggest Sharing

It is not just presents that many of us overspend on at Christmas. Food and drink are two other significant areas where we plough money into something for one or two days of fun. Whether you are hosting or not, suggest sharing the workload and providing a course each perhaps or bringing a variety of dishes to help the host. It is a bit like that end-of-term party where parents can sign up to get something specific; it really helps to lower costs and makes everyone feel useful.

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