If you’re one of the 33% of Britons expecting to borrow to pay for the cost of Christmas, these Christmas shopping tips could get you back on track. Borrowing money isn’t always bad for your credit score, but if you’d rather start 2018 with a clean slate, then you’ll need to think about simple budgeting steps for Christmas 2017.
The cost of Christmas 2017
Christmas seems to get more expensive every year and in the UK, we spend more on it than our European neighbours. When a leading newspaper recommends ‘must-have’ toys that cost £149.99, you can begin to see why. However, spending money on others is much better for our happiness than using it ourselves, so perhaps that justifies the £473 average cost of presents.
If you want to save money this Christmas, Choose Wisely explains exactly how to organise your finances in time for the Christmas spending season.
So you’ve decided to commit to a budget – what next? Prepaid cards are a great way to limit your purchasing power, so you can only spend the amount you put on them. Before you decide which provider to go with, make sure you’re getting a good deal by checking out comparison websites. Another option, which can be used alongside prepaid cards, is a budgeting app for your phone. There are many different apps available, but you’ll want to go with a trusted developer – look at the top of the Finance category charts and read the reviews before making a decision.
Tackling the cost of Christmas food
The infographic shows you exactly how to cut the cost of Christmas, but what other options are available for Christmas shopping on a budget? Discount supermarkets are a great place to go if you like grabbing a bargain, but many people feel that the food and drink doesn’t match up to mainstream rivals. That being said, blind taste tests have consistently shown that products from Aldi and Lidl match or exceed the quality of their premium competitors.
Thinking of Christmas borrowing?
You might be tempted to pick up a store card when you see the cost of your Christmas presents. After all, putting it on the card is basically a tradition at this time of year, with one in five of us buying Christmas food on credit. However, store cards are just like batteries and chewing gum – their position next to the tills is meant to bamboozle weary shoppers into making bad decisions. You’ll get much better value by shopping around online and using a price comparison website. Just make sure you can afford the repayments before you apply.
5 Top Christmas Lifehacks
1. Cancel unused subscriptions
Did you subscribe to any services in 2017 that you’re no longer using? Spotify, Netflix and Evernote can cost over £100 per year, so have a look through your bank statements to identify anything you can cut. You can use budgeting apps which bring together multiple current and savings accounts in one place, to make this job easier.
2. Cheap Christmas travel
Part of your Christmas preparation might be booking tickets, but travelling by train or plane can be a very expensive way to go. If you’re staying in the UK, have a look at alternative, cheaper options such as Megabus. Services like Blabacar make sharing a ride much simpler and they can save you hundreds of pounds at peak times, particularly over Christmas and New Year.
3. Buy supplies after Christmas!
Hang on, how can buying after Christmas save you money this year? If you’re running low on Christmas cards and wrapping paper, or your decorations are looking tatty, it might seem like a no-brainer to stock-up now. However, try putting off your trip to the shops until after Christmas and make do with your current supplies this year. You’ll save a huge amount by buying a festive selection in the January sales and you might even have some very early Christmas shopping ideas!
4. Crafting a creative Christmas
The growing success of online craft marketplace Etsy shows how much we love handmade gifts in the UK. Why not tap into this trend and make your own cards, wrapping paper, presents or decorations? It’s a fun festive activity for families, but don’t think you have to be a parent to get in on the action. Even on your own or with a group of friends, it can be really fun and rewarding, all whilst saving you a huge amount if you get craft supplies on the cheap.
5. Compare bank account incentives
If you’re looking for Christmas money saving tips, remember you could also try making money. You’ll find that many banks are offering cash incentives to switch,just remember that it may take a while to get the money and applying for a new bank account can mean going through a credit check. It’s always worth fixing up your credit file before sending off an application