Six months until christmas means its time to start a financial plan

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CHRISTMAS is just six months away and households are being urged to get their festive budgeting plans in order to avoid getting stung in December.

The old-fashioned Christmas Club accounts are a good way to save ahead of December 25 but whichever way you do plan to stash cash its best to start now, experts say.

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Credit cards always get a good workout in the lead up to the festive as many shoppers end up having to resort to plastic to get them through one of the most expensive times of the year.

Analysis by financial comparison website Canstar shows while interest rates on Christmas Club accounts are very low, the money often cant be touched until November or you lose your any interest earned and will be charged a fee.

The sites spokeswoman Justine Davies says with just six months until Christmas now is the perfect time to get a savings plan in place so youre fiscally prepared closer to December.

It gives you enough time to save gradually without panicking in the last month or two,’ she says.

Sit down and make a list of all the extra costs youre going to have over the Christmas period such as food, drinks, gifts, holidays and parties.

Once you have reached a figure work out how many weeks until Christmas and what you need to stash each time you get paid.

It doesnt matter where you stash the cash in a Christmas Club account, online savings account or home loan offset account so long as you dont dip into the money early.

AMP financial planner Dianne Charman says another option is to tuck away some of your tax return youre like likely to receive in the coming months for Christmas.

Set up a Christmas account if you dont have one and put your tax return into an account that you cant easily access,’ she says.

Direct debit from your pay and dont raid it, so you dont want it linked to your internet banking on your phone.

And if you are going away on a holiday try and prepay the accommodation so youre not hit too close to Christmas.

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