Martin Lewis the Money Saving Expert has shared how to save money this year in the run up to Christmas. 

With little more than six weeks to prepare for Christmas, Martin Lewis has revealed his best savings advice on his website

What has Martin said?

With Christmas being one of the most stressful times of the year financially, many people can fall into debt. 

Martin Lewis has said that he believes we should sign a “Christmas present prenup” with our friends and agree not to buy each other gifts. 

He also says that “tit for tat giving means that people often end up with tat” because you don’t know what they would like.

Another point he has repeated in the past is that even if you can afford to buy someone presents, it then obliges that person to get something for you in return. 

He said: “Even if you can afford to buy someone a gift and don’t want anything back - sometimes the best gift you can give is to release someone of that obligation”.

What are the Money Saving Expert’s top tips? 

1. Don't plan the perfect Christmas - first work out what you can afford

Before you start planning, consider this: list every lusted-for item, gifts for all, and a corking meal, then only afterwards consider: "How will I pay for it?" That's a recipe for ending up broke.

Instead, calculate your budget and ask: "What can I afford to spend?" Christmas is one day – don't ruin the whole of the next year for it.

2. Ban unnecessary presents

Consider not giving this Christmas. We're not talking about gifts from parents or grandparents, but the ever-widening glut of friends, extended family and colleagues.

3. Christmas isn't a retail festival – we need to end obliged giving and think about what we're giving, to whom and why.

If you're yelling over your wrapping paper "what about the joy of giving?", remember gift-giving creates an obligation on recipients to give back, whether they can afford it or not. For some, the gift of "not obliging you to buy for me" is actually better.

You could always make a No Unnecessary Present Pact (NUPP) with friends, or at least agree to a Secret Santa or £5 to £10 cap on gifts.

4. Fund lifesaving vaccines for kids and other charity gifts

Want to give, but don't want to waste cash on tat? Yule love our rundown of wonderful and weird Charity Gifts, which includes how much goes to good causes - to be updated for 2020 soon.

Gifts start from a few pounds and include school supplies, clean water, livestock, polio vaccines and more.

5. 22 free (or very cheap) ways to sprinkle Christmas magic for kids

Chances are your best childhood Christmas memories aren’t about beautifully co-ordinated baubles, finest-range turkeys or even getting that year’s must-have toy.

For many, it’s the build-up that’s the most fun - experiences that involve spending more time parents or carers.

On the there are 22 free (or very cheap) traditions to create memories, from driving round after dark to admire twinkly streets to leaving something heavy on the sofa to make a dent "where Santa plonked his big bottom".

Visit MSE Jenny's Free Christmas Magic blog.

6. Haven't used it since last Christmas? Flog it

If a few quid more in the Christmas fund would really help, act now.

Flogging your unused possessions via eBay is a good way to start.

Facebook has been snapping at eBay's heels as the place to flog unwanted stuff, though. The best bit is sales are often instant and there are NO fees, so you keep the profit. 

If you prefer speed and ease rather than max price, several sites let you enter details, they offer a price, and you post goods free.

7. Buy a cheap turkey – and don't forget to downshift

With an "It's Christmas! We need the best!" battle cry, everyone raids the supermarket shelves. Yet don't assume you'll prefer higher-brand goods.

To test this, on Martin's TV show he held a blind taste-test party for nurses at a hospital with champers, turkeys and more. They preferred the lower-brand goods (or couldn't tell the difference) 62 per-cent of the time.

So, don't be a retail snob. Taste with your tongue, not by looking at the packaging. And buy what's right for you, not the shop.

8. Boost funds by up to 6% with supermarket stamps

Supermarket saving stamp schemes encourage year-long saving for Christmas, yet a loophole allows you to get a year's bonus in one day.

Most shops pay it depending on how much you've saved by a specific day or month. So dunk the cash in the day before, and the store will add up to 6 per-cent on top, but the cash must be spent at its shops. 

9. Swap your chequebook for MSE's free Christmas gift cheques

Presents don't have to equate to big bucks. Whether it's a 'massage' for your loved one, babysitting or letting the kids have a sleepover, your time could be the best present.

So pledge to do something nice, not spend, by printing MSE's free Christmas gift cheques.

10. Be wary when buying gift cards

If you're considering giving gift cards or vouchers there are four key things you should be aware of:

Sometimes retailers go bust. A host of big name retailers have gone into administration in recent years. When this happens, they usually stop accepting cards altogether and there's very little you can do to get your money back. See our Administration Help guide for what you can try if you have a gift card for a company that has gone bust.

Gift cards have expiry dates. Most gift cards must be redeemed within a certain period of time, so the recipient needs to spend them before time runs out.

Beware of admin fees. Some companies will begin reducing your balance if you don't use the card within a certain timeframe, such as the the multi-shop gift card provider One4all, which deducts 90p a month from your balance once you've had the card 18 months.

They could forget or lose them. Often people forget to use them, lose them or accidentally run them through the wash.

Taking into account all of the above, we think giving cash is a much better alternative to gift cards.

If however you still want to buy one, there are some multi-shop gift cards, such as Love2shop, which you would be able to use at other retailers in the scheme if one shop went bust.

Have you got any other money saving tips in the run up to Christmas? Let us know in the comments.