You will have undoubtedly already seen the countless TV adverts, newspaper spreads and decorations everywhere, all conveying the same message that Christmas is nearly here. The build-up to Christmas can be very busy with much of the general public cramming into supermarkets and department stores to get everything on their list bought before the big day. With many people in our lives to buy presents for, plus food, drinks and parties, the festive period can provide a lot of strain on our purse strings. There is no need to fear however, as we have compiled a few tips to help you manage your Christmas cash this year.
First of all it is very important to draw up a budget for the Christmas period. You know when your next payday is, and work out how much you have left to spend after you have already paid out your bills and essentials like food. Whatever you have left is now your Christmas fund, then you need to work out what you need to buy throughout the Christmas period. It’s not just presents that need buying, there’s also food and drink (usually alcohol) and any socialising you do, like the office Christmas party or festive drinks with friends. Include these different outgoings within your budget, and never overspend, resist any pressure from friends and family.
Overdraft & Loans
Many current banking accounts come with an overdraft, and while you shouldn’t rely on this feature, it can certainly get you out of sticky or emergency situations. Before dipping into it though, always check what the terms and conditions of your overdraft are, as some of them may apply interest rates or charges. Avoid unauthorised overdrafts as they usually come with high charges. Alternatively, you could ask your friends, family or bank for a short term loan. You could also apply for a payday loan, which are intended to see you through to your next payslip. It is important to ensure that you never borrow more than you can afford to pay back.
Find The Best Deals
A lot of retailers offer special deals and discounts which are well worth taking advantage of. With 11.6% of retailers looking to spend more than £500 over the Christmas period, stores and online sites are in the fiercest of competitions with each other. If you’re looking for a specific item, don’t just automatically buy it from the first place you find it, shop around first and find out where the item is stocked at the cheapest price. Also remember that sometimes the best deals can be found online. Shopping around can make your initial Christmas budget stretch much further.
Sometimes people get caught out when they order something online from a firm which then goes bust. The goods never arrive but the customer still gets charged. This is where it can be smart to pay by credit card for anything over £100, as not only do you delay paying straight away, you will also be covered by the Section 75 laws that will entitle you to a refund if a company goes bust and you never receive an item you’ve ordered. Take advantage of 0% interest rates if you do take out a credit card, and remember to pay them off as quickly as possible.
Generic advice is not a service regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.