Our top tips for keeping your festive spending under control.
Christmas can be an expensive time of year. While it may still feel like a long way off it’s never too early to start planning. Financial planning can save you money in the future and avoid the need for unplanned spending or expensive borrowing to take you through the festive period without the nasty bill in January.
- Smart savings – Put away a regular sum each week and you will have a little extra in your pocket by Christmas:
- A money managing smart phone app will help track expenses
- Set up a direct debit to go into a savings account which you can dip into for Christmas
- Careful planning – Make a list of all the presents and food items you need to buy and stick to it:
- Take advantage of the current sales, online voucher codes and cashback sites to put some extra money in your pocket;
- But, don’t get caught up in the Black Friday hype! Some markdowns after the event can be an even better deal. If the item is not on your list then don’t be tempted to buy it;
- Frozen food items can be more cost effective and easy to store.
- Good discipline – Set a strict spending limit:
- Small ‘stocking fillers’ can end up being expensive, so don’t get caught out by temptations at the cash till;
- Sharing a present between members of the family means you can put a lot of thought into a present without breaking the bank
- Kids can decorate cards, wrapping and tags to add a personal touch to presents without the extra cost.
- If you do use credit cards, research your options effectively to choose the best credit card:
- If you can afford to pay off your credit card bill in full, then it’s worth shopping around for the best deal for your Christmas spending;
- Loyalty points and cash back rewards could mean an extra treat for you at Christmas;
- In the UK, families spent an average of £800 last year so make sure you will be able to pay off your bill as the cashback rewards you earn are unlikely to outweigh the interest payments.
In addition to Christmas spending, make sure you are prepared for the additional costs of the winter months. Cars and boilers are more likely to break down as temperatures plummet. Make sure you get these serviced before the cold weather arrives. Later it will be more difficult to call out an engineer and certainly more expensive. Do you have a maintenance and service plan set up for your household heating system? If not, they can be extremely cost effective.
Good financial planning for the Christmas period will mean you are well prepared and can mitigate emergencies over the festive season to ensure that you can relax and enjoy the time with loved ones.