We all tend to groan and roll our eyes when the shops start piling up their Christmas stock the minute the summer holidays are over – but the fact is that more and more of us are getting into the ‘shop early’  habit.

According to the latest survey by stats company Statista, on the Christmas spending habits of Britons, the majority of us actually start our shopping in October – with only 24 percent waiting until December to make a start on festive purchases.

And the main reason, it seems, is to help spread the cost.

Last year the average household spend was £821, and if that is all done last-minute, and slapped on a credit card, then the January bill hitting your doormat can come as something of a New Year dampener.

A bit of organisation and forward-planning can ease all that, and spreading the spending out over the three months from October to December is probably the most sensible way to do it.

So – make a gift list, decide how much you want to spend per person, and put the money to one side out of three months worth of income.  In the old days it would have been a case of filling a savings jar or piggy bank, but now you could set up different savings ‘buckets’ in your bank or savings account, allocated for festive gifts, food and drink, travel and entertainment.

Setting a Christmas budget now makes it easier to achieve an all-cash Christmas – and having gift lists and grocery lists organized in advance means you know exactly what you need and can take advantage of sales and seasonal specials as they pop up during the Autumn.

With hand-made crafts currently enjoying something of a revival, you could even consider opting for a hand-made Christmas this year, and creating your own gifts and cards.  If that’s the case, get busy as soon as the autumn evenings begin to draw in, and you could have a stash of gifts made by December.