Helpful hints - Money saving ideas
The Christmas New Year period means increased spending for many of us. We get caught up in the spirit of Christmas - spending on gifts, holidays and food - and more often than not, it is our credit card we turn to as a means of meeting these extra costs.
Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for Christmas purchases, but it is important not to spend beyond your means at this time.
It is important to draw up a budget for your Christmas New Year spending – and stick to it. Managing your Christmas spend becomes an even more disciplined process when you have more than one card to choose from in your wallet. With around 30% of people having two cards and 13% having three or more cards, Christmas and the post-Christmas sale period can be very tempting.
Here are some tips to help manage your credit card this Christmas:
- Before you hit the shops, make a list of what you will need for your food menus, as well as a list of gifts for each person with a suggested price range.
- Credit cards are convenient for shopping over the internet, particularly if you want to avoid the Christmas crowds. Always shop at secure sites and keep a record of your transactions.
- Allow plenty of time to do your Christmas shopping to avoid last minute purchases at expensive 'open-all-hours' stores.
- Not all gifts have to be store bought. Home made gifts like potted plants can be an inexpensive alternative.
- Chase shopping opportunities. Purchase discounted gift items throughout the year and store them until Christmas. Or take advantage of lay-by specials where the retailer holds the goods for you until Christmas Eve.
- Some financial institutions offer 'Christmas Club' savings accounts. These are a good way to avoid taking on debt for Christmas shopping, but the interest rates are generally low. Consider putting your money into an online bank account. They pay high rates, are generally fee-free and your money is at call.