Research has shown that 74% of Aussies are stressed about their finances because of the pandemic – and many will spend less on the holiday season this year. Here are some tips on how to have a merry Christmas on a budget.

“Planning ahead can save you big bucks, especially if you spread the cost over a number of months rather than holding out until December,” said Bessie Hassan, money expert at Finder.

Here is a countdown to Christmas day with handy tips to make sure you don't overwork your credit card.

September: Write your Christmas gift list now and divide them into three categories: those who you are looking to buy gifts worth more than $100; those who you think will appreciate homemade gifts and those who will appreciate homemade Christmas cards.

October: Avoid the last-minute online shopping rush and order what you need this month. Start on those homemade gifts.

November: Watch out for the November sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to save on pricey gifts that could be on sale

December: Some people appreciate getting Christmas cards by mail. Send yours by the first week of Christmas.

Two weeks before Christmas day: Homemade gifts like Christmas biscuits and homemade yema (Filipino sweets) are perfect for those surprise guests or as an extra gift on Christmas day. This is also a good time to start buying what you need for your Christmas party.

A week before Christmas: Don’t go shopping. You’ll only end up making unplanned purchases and blow your budget.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Enjoy! Whether or not you give or a receive a gift this Christmas, this year is an even bigger year to appreciate the value of your family and friendships, and the importance of good health.

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