For a lot of families, preparing for the rush of Christmas, birthdays and even the summer holidays can be a baffling ordeal. Holidays need to be booked, presents need to be bought, and it all has to be done within tight margins or cause lasting damage to your annual budget, potentially scuppering your savings and any plans you had for next year.

Recently, a survey conducted by Swift Money shed light on some interesting statistics regarding seasonal spending – for instance, 76% of people put Christmas as their most expensive holiday, compared to just 16% who said birthdays. They have compiled this data and more into an expansive infographic, which can be found below.

While many have weathered the storm each year and know a thing or two about seasonal obstacles, there are some surprises – delayed flights, must-have toys and the sudden demand for parties – that are hard to predict, let alone plan for. Regardless, having a backup option or two waiting in the wings can even the odds in even the most unexpected pinch.

  • Planning ahead is probably the easiest step in this list. Simply put, having all your expected holidays laid out in front of you for the year – perhaps on their own separate, instantly-visible calendar – will make sure you’re never caught by surprise at the last minute. Couple this with pre-planned budgets and you’ll have no excuse to be caught unawares.
  • Increasing your budget in anticipation of holidays is another great starting point. Putting a little extra aside per month in the buildup to those two weeks abroad can make for a great emergency fund if needs be, and if not, a great surprise to come home to if you choose not to spend it on souvenirs.
  • Shopping in advance might seem like an obvious one, but hitting the high street at the end of November to skip the Christmas rush is still cutting it fine. Again, taking a few months to prepare to budget and plan your purchases can make a huge difference once the costs start to stack up.
  • Going frugal is another choice, one you might have to hold your nose when taking. But rather than simply being a case of cutting things off your list, simply try an exercise in reduction – a first-class flight, for instance, will be much more painful to lose than an economy ticket when the trip needs to be cancelled.

These tips aren’t game-changers on their own, but any combination will guarantee better results for your bank account when the year’s big events roll around. Keep in mind that the first step is being financially responsible; the rest is up to you!

If you want an idea about how your seasonal spending habits stack up against the rest of the nations’, check out the infographic below!

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