To help manage your Christmas spending, the Office of Fair Trading has produced ‘The 12 ways of Christmas’ – a guide full of practical tips on how to make your money go further over the festive season.
We’ve summarised the ’12 ways’ below:
1. Plan – be realistic and budget accordingly. Write a list and remember other existing debts including your mortgage, utility bills and food bills still need to be paid.
2. Think twice before you pay the price – don’t be tempted by store cards which can have extremely high interest rates.
3. Variety is the festive spice – always shop around and compare prices.
4. Buy safe to be safe – don’t be tempted to buy from traders you don’t trust (both online and at markets).
5. Having fun – holiday fun can be expensive, try having a night in with dvds or the games console.
6. Don’t throw away receipts – many shops have post-Christmas sales and without a receipt you may only get back the sale price if you’re returning goods.
7. Share the cost of Christmas – shop with friends and take advantage of ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘three for two’ but remember it’s not a bargain if you don’t need it!
8. Returning unwanted gifts – ask for gift receipts where possible and be sure of your rights when returning unwanted gifts.
9. Don’t forget your vouchers – make sure you remember to use any gift vouchers before their expiry date.
10. Secret Santa – to save money, set an agreed budget with a group of friends and buy one present for someone instead of buying numerous individual presents.
11. Cards and wrapping – consider buying cards and wrapping paper the week before Christmas as retailers may start discounting at this time to clear stock.
12. Start planning & saving for next Christmas! The average family spends £600 at Christmas so over a year, try saving £50 per month. Open up a savings account specifically for Christmas 2011.