As the festive season approaches with a mere 11 weekends until Christmas Day, how are your savings stacking up? Are you an early savvy shopper, grabbing those early bargains, or a Christmas Eve mad dash when it’s all reduced anyway kind? Is it time to check out the latest credit card balance transfer offers, or apply for an unsecured loan?
Research conducted by Halifax shows that last year us Brits spent an average of £452.21 each, with this figure rising to £589.28 for parents. This equates to more than £20 billion over the Christmas period alone, and at least 18% think that they will spend more than in previous years. At least 1 in 10 of us has splashed out over £1,000 in previous years and it’s no surprise that 16% of us say it takes up to 12 months to pay off the costs of Christmas, with 23% admitting that they were worried about their Christmas spending habits. Although the figures are high, Halifax has estimated that you’ll need to save £41 a week from now on to comfortably afford the average Christmas.
Giles Martin, head of Savings at Halifax said “Although it feels like summer has only just passed, it’s not long until the festive period, and some shops are already starting to sell festive stock. To avoid a bill shock, it’s worth starting to save now to spread the cost over several months. It’s reassuring to see that one in 10 of us already do this, and save through the year or use a savings account to save for big events such as Christmas”
So here are some top tips to help you.
- Start early, putting money into a savings account year round will soon add up, and you may even want to shop early. Research from Goldsmiths the jewellers, shows that 1 in 20 of us shop year round with Christmas in mind, with 1 in 5 of us starting to Christmas shop at least 4 months before the big day.
- Budget for everything and make sure that you stick to it. Make sure you include absolutely everything like gift wrap, bows, snow spray and even outside hooks for lights! Having a budget can be a bit like a Christmas challenge for yourself, use it to motivate yourself to ensure that you stick to your budget. Individual present budgets per person can help you decide on gifts whilst shopping so you don’t go overboard.
- Pick a good place for your savings, and research the best savings account for your needs. Make sure the account is easy access so you can withdraw the funds without any severe penalties or charges.
- Make sure you are a savvy shopper after-all. Don’t wait for December to think about your Christmas shopping. Make sure you hit the shops to take advantage of all the pre-Christmas sales, retailers are promoting sales as early as September nowadays with some huge savings. Don’t forget Black Friday at the end of November, all retailers offer massive discounts on certain goods on this particular day so you could bag yourself a saving.
- Make your loyalty work for you when you need it most. Check through all those loyalty cards, see how many points, offers or vouchers you have and hopefully you’ll have enough to buy at least a couple of presents.
- Use the retailers’ savings schemes and easy repayment terms. Lots now offer options to spread the costs to suit your budget.
- Supermarkets offer fantastic loyalty and savings schemes, and if you shop there every week, you should easily be able to cover the cost of your Christmas food shop.
- Try your best to save by trying new things. Take a flask of coffee instead of buying one every day, take your lunch instead of buying that. There are so many areas where we could make easy savings when we really have to, so again set yourself a willpower savings challenge. Indeed Halifax stated that £3 a day saved from now equates to just over £200 saved before Christmas.
- Check any credit card or unsecured loans offers that may be available. Savvy shopping doesn’t have to stop at the retailer, by transferring balances and consolidating loan payments you can often save money.
- Start thinking about Christmas 2018, right after Christmas 2017. Those Boxing Day sales and New Year’s sales are often significant and can save hundreds of pounds. Now that’s savvy shopping!