The 12 ways of Christmas

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.

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