As the festive season kicks off we’ve teamed up with Florence from The Money Advice Service to help you stay savvy this seasons. The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation set up by government to help people manage their money. They do this through their own free and impartial advice service, as well as partnering with other organisations to help people make the most of their money. Florence is one of the Money Advice Service’s primary blog writers, responsible for helping think of and produce engaging and thought-provoking ideas to blog about.
Over to Florence!
Christmas is creeping closer and with it, the inevitable spending. From turkey to tinsel, it can all add up. In fact, the average UK consumer planned to spend £530 on Christmas last year. Everyone wants to have a great Christmas – after all, it’s one of the happiest times of the year – but there are ways of making sure you have a great festive season without whacking it on credit and worrying later.
Here are five ideas which will help make sure you don’t start 2016 with a Christmas spending hangover.
Set a budget
Work out how much you can afford to spend in total over the festive season. Our Christmas Money Planner is great for creating your own budget and see how much you can save in time for Christmas Day. Even better, there are also averages included based on our research, so if you’re struggling to think how much you’ll spend, you can get a rough idea to help you out.
Think about how much you’ll need for food, socialising, presents, decorations and any other related things – and work out where you want to prioritise your spending. This is key, and will mean you don’t spend more than you have on a Christmas tree, while forgetting about your Christmas dinner, or presents.
Make a note of what you’re spending – whether this is by keeping receipts or just making a note on your phone or in a notebook.
Writing things down in black and white can often help you see where you may be spending more than necessary. It will also mean you’re more likely to stick to your budget plan. Or if that sounds like too much of a faff, you could simply take out a certain amount of cash from the cash point at the beginning of the week.
You can free up more money by thinking about whether there are any costs you can either reduce or cut out altogether. For example, do you always grab a coffee on the way to work, when you could bring a Thermos in? Are lunches out your weakness, when you could make a delicious packed lunch at home? Money Advice Service’s Quick Cash Finder helps you to work out where and how you could easily save on your regular spend.
a great character trait, but doesn’t make sense when it comes to your supermarket.
See if you could save a few pounds by switching to your supermarket’s own brand on regular purchases (such as cereal or ketchup), or by doing your food shop at a different supermarket altogether. Take a look at mySupermarket to see where you could be making your savings.
Are you guilty of having a loft full of unwanted belongings? Don’t forget one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and someone else could love your unloved things. Having a clear out ahead of the festive season can save space and help to free up some extra cash. If you have any old and unwanted items, look into selling these on a site such as eBay.