Control your Finances this Christmas

Despite emotional adverts pulling at your heartstrings and imploring you to spend big this Christmas to create a spectacle your loved ones will never forget – over-indulgence over the festive period can be a bad for your wallet as your waistline. The average UK household spent £822 on Christmas last year according to YouGov and early signs suggest this figure will grow against this year as families look to celebrate in even bigger and better style.

Here we look at a few ways to place tighter control over your finances this year, helping you avoid the red in the New Year.

Use Savings Not Borrowings

By saving throughout the year for your Christmas budget, you can place tighter control over your total spend. Setting aside a fixed amount every month from January to December can help you afford your dream Christmas without plunging yourself into debt.

When borrowing money it can be tempting to secure more than you require and spend the extra on superfluous decorations and presents from singing Christmas trees to an extra stocking filler for next door’s dog.

Furthermore, borrowed money will come with interest rates and fees attached – increasing the total cost of Christmas.

Make a List, Check it Twice

Derive your budget from a comprehensive Christmas list for all parts of the festivities from presents to food to decorations. This can help you control your outgoings far more tightly and ensure the January credit card bill does not bring with it any unwelcome surprises. This can help protect you from the potential for making impulse purchases and racking up the total expenditure.

Add a little extra onto the list if you have children to accommodate the inevitable onset of additional demands and emotional blackmail for toys and games.

Christmas List

Use the Sales

If you can get an expensive gift for half the price on 26 December, it makes financial sense to go out into the sales and secure the present for a loved one after Christmas Day. Be clear with them about your plan and use the saved money to buy them a couple of extra stocking fillers and things to unwrap on Christmas Day.

Furthermore, use the January sales to get presents for next Christmas at low prices. Gifts such as bottles of wine won’t fall out or fashion, favour or pass sell-by dates in the 11 months between January and December.

Digitise your Christmas Cards

Save physical Christmas cards for just those who actively enjoy receiving warm wishes through the post. The average Briton spends £17.02 on Christmas cards just for colleagues, which many consider to be a complete waste of money when the same sentiments can be shared through an e-card or a simple phone call.

Beware the Pitfalls

Christmas may be a special time of year where most rules can be disregarded (glass of champers with breakfast, anyone?) but it is important to be wary that financial restrictions and implications of debt still remain.

Debt management specialists InControl have developed a helpful infographic reminding readers about the perils of overspending this Christmas time.

incontrol_infographic

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Chris Balme

If Scrooge McDuck was from Yorkshire and wore trousers, he would be Chris Balme: a frugal yet endearing chap.