We’re only just out of the summer holiday season and yet there’s a clear reminder today that Christmas is not too far away, in fact there’s less than 100 days to go so maybe it’s time to get your personal finance in festive shape?
With the help of moneysupermarket.com here are some great tips on how to get yourselves financially in better shape for this year’s festive season.
Save – yes you really can, it’s not too late to start saving even a small amount of money each month. This will help to reduce the burden of having to solely rely on your December salary to pay for everything. Check the rate on your savings account to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck – the current market leading easy access account is The AA Internet Extra at 2.80 per cent.
Get more cash with a cashback credit card – get money back every time you spend and then use all you get towards your next Chritmas costs. Be carfeful though, as with all credit products make sure you pay off the full every month and never borrow more than you can afford. The current best buy is the AMEX Platinum Cashback credit card, where consumers can gain an extra 5 per cent cashback in the first 3 months up to £100.
Stick to your budget – set a budget so you know how much you have to spend and then stick to it. Don’t overdo it and find you join the many looking for a personal loan after Christmas to pay for your over indulgence.
Beware of store credit cards – they may seem attractive but the interest rate on purchases is likely to be highly uncompetitive. Using a reward card is a much better alternative as they offer a more competitive interest rate and still reward you for your spending.
Consider a zero percent purchase card – Just ensure you pay off the balance as soon as possible and borrow within your means, or may you find you will still be paying off this year’s Christmas presents next year.
If you’re off on holiday this festive season, get the best deal on your travel money – Prepaid cards from FairFX or CaxtonFX can often provide the most spending power, as they have no purchase, withdrawal or foreign loading fees and can be topped up online or over the phone for free.
If you do need a personal loan, shop around – lenders often tighten criteria on personal loans in the run up to the festive period so it’s really important to shop around for the best deal and only apply for products you’re likely to be accepted for and that suit your needs.
Use discount vouchers – there are hundreds of special offers and money saving deals available, check them out and save money
Go online to make your purchases, avoid impulse purchases and research prices before you buy. Keep your ears open for retailers starting their sales early and make the most of any special offers or BOGOF deals.
And as Kevin Mountford, head of banking at moneysupermarket.com says “If you are worried about how you will finance Christmas this year, then think carefully about whether you really need to spend a fortune.
Spending time making handmade Christmas cards or baking a cake as a present can be just as rewarding as spending money on the latest must have items.”
Finally, do remember that Christmas 2011 will be here before you know it – get yourself into savings mode for the New Year and start putting aside money into a regular savers account. By starting saving as soon as possible it will mean that by this time next year you will have built a tidy savings pot, which will prevent you from funding Christmas 2011 with debt.