Christmas saving and borrowing-what should I consider?
As the countdown to the festive period begins, so does people anxiety and worry over whether or not they can really afford Christmas. Here are our top ten tips to help you deal with the festivities, and the best places to go for that additional Christmas loan should you need one.
1.Boring- but budget!
Plan for what you can realistically afford, its one day of the year so it’s not worth getting into lots of debt for. Make a list, check it over and over, ask yourself what can afford to spend, not what you’d necessarily like to spend!
2.It goes without saying but start saving early
If you can save then Christmas should be less financially stressful. According to YouGov the average family spent £796 at Christmas 2015, which may be too much from one pay-packet, but if you spread it out over 3-6 months then it is more viable.
3.Find the cheapest places to buy gifts.
Online shops tend to be significantly cheaper than the High Street, Use comparison sites and shopbots which are special shopping robots that search the net to find the cheapest books, games, CDs and perfumes. Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, although officially at the end of November often extend over a period of a few weeks, well into December. Watch out for High street and supermarket 3for2 deals, and of course local Christmas markets.
4.Order direct from China.
Many discount stores make huge profits by importing cheap goods from China and selling them on here, so simply cut out the middle man. Online marketplace AliExpress opens the gateway to Asia, and it is simple to buy goods for delivery direct to the UK. However, be careful as goods can take 4- 6 weeks to arrive and ensure that the quality is up to standard.
5.Need a little extra financial help?
How about a 0% credit card? Or perhaps an unsecured loan? Currently the longest 0% interest free card is Sainsbury’s, at up to 31months, closely followed by Santander at 30months. For those with a poorer credit score Aqua are currently offering a 6month 0% period and for the long term MBNAs 4.9% rate over a 60month period is a god deal. As with all repayments though, plan them carefully and make sure it is paid off before the 0% ends, as the average APR is around 23%. With rates still at record lows, an unsecured loan may also be a good option. Clydesdale/Yorkshire bank and Tesco bank are currently offering unsecured loans of £5,000-£7,499 for as little as 3.3%rep APR. Peer to peer lender Zopa are offering the best deals on unsecured loans from £3,000-£4,999 at 5% to 6.9% rep APR depending on amount and term.
6.Try selling unwanted goods.
EBay sells anything and everything so try listing any unwanted goods on there. Facebook is another huge marketplace for selling goods, and there are no fees, so you get to keep more of the profits. Or for speed and ease there are several selling sites that do all the hard work for you such as Shpock, music magpie and games exchange.
7.How about 5% cashback on all your Christmas shopping?
Cashback credit cards offer such incentives, and pay you every time that you spend on them. Maximise this great offer by simply setting up a direct debit to ensure that you repay the full amount, so you don’t occur any interest. The Amex Platinum Cashback card offers an Introductory 5% cashback for the first three months, capped at a maximum of £125 and provided you spend £2,500 over the year; a standard 1.00% cashback on spending of between £1 and £10,000 per year, and 1.25% on £10,001+. Remember though its 28.2% APR so always ensure that you pay off the full balance.
8.Grab cashback on prezzies
With cashback sites, such as topcashback and quidco, you sign up for free, and then click through them to buy something. They get paid for sending traffic and give some of this to you, netting some £100s a year. Never let the cashback dictate where you spend. Focus on the cheapest deal, and then see if cashback is available.