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Christ­mas can be stress­ful and VERY ex­pen­sive. But our guide can get you in the fes­tive spirit with­out break­ing the bank or break­ing down. fea­tures@sun­daymir­ Write a plan to in­clude meals out, meals in and par­ties. Talk to fam­ily and friends and com­mit to dates. Set a bud­get. Start with fam­ily. Don’t for­get work’s Se­cret Santa and teach­ers. Sign up for store sales alerts – it can save €100s. Get the fam­ily to join in. Put lose change into a jar to go to­wards Christ­mas din­ner. A fam­ily of four could save €150. Start a sep­a­rate bank ac­count and put in a reg­u­lar amount. Don’t touch it un­less it is for tick­ing things off your fes­tive list. To­day is the per­fect day to buy a real tree that will still look­ing sprightly by Christ­mas. Try to hold off un­til now to avoid the nee­dles drop­ping be­fore the 25th. Spray branches with water from an old clean­ing bot­tle to keep them fresh and water it from the base too. Noth­ing gets you in the mood for Christ­mas like a good film. To­day a high bud­get re­make of Mary Pop­pins star­ring Emily Blunt hits cin­e­mas. Do­ing your food shop­ping on De­cem­ber 23 means you won’t be fight­ing crowds on Christ­mas Eve. Shops are only closed on Christ­mas Day, so don’t buy too much. Stick to your list. You should by now be or­gan­ised enough that there is no rea­son to leave the house. Put on some Christ­mas mu­sic, wrap the pressies and peel the spuds if you’re feel­ing en­er­getic.

Cut out the booze and raise cash for Macmil­lan can­cer sup­port. It could save you up to €200.

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