Christmas looms at the end of every year, but somehow us Brits are always shocked at how fast it comes round. ‘Can you believe it’s Christmas next month?’ is what you’ll hear in every office in November, as people panic about their budgets for gifts, parties and new outfits. Save yourself this last minute hysteria by saving some money up earlier – it means you’ll avoid risky borrowing agreements and you’ll be able to buy the things you really want to.
Of course, the ideal situation is that you are constantly keeping some sort of savings and making a habit out of it so that when the time comes such as Christmas or a big holiday, you’ve got the financial reserves to cope. You can read more on how to start saving regularly, here, but for now we have a bit more motivation on how to start saving for Christmas.
Start saving NOW
The sooner you start the better, even if it’s just £10 aside from your monthly earnings, it’s much better than nothing. The best way to make yourself stick to this is by setting up an automatic payment such as a standing order each month from your current account to your savings account, so that you get used to budgeting without the extra cash.
Another brilliant way to accumulate some extra spending money is with a piggy bank or coin bottle. Each weekend, empty the contents of your pockets, wallet and handbag into this saving pot and you’ll be amazed at how quickly a few coins add up. When it comes to counting your coins before Christmas, you can take them to the bank to be changed into higher denominations that make shopping a little easier.
It’s also a good time to look out for offers way before December and stockpile where you can. At the end of summer, there are countless offers on food and gifts that will save you lots of money. Also make use of discounts on wine at the end of the summer to get your house Christmas party ready.
If you are going to use a credit card for your purchases, it’s best to opt for a cash back card. “Cashback credit cards mean that with every purchase you make, you get a percentage (typically 5%) back, which makes shopping instantly cheaper without even looking at a discount code,” says Cosmopolitan writer Dusty Baxter-Wright. “Make sure you set up a direct debit to repay it in full every month though, because otherwise you could be paying around 23% back interest – which makes the 5% saving look measly.”
So there you have it, ways to be smarter with your money so that you can start saving for Christmas right this minute! As long as you don’t give in to last minute loans and run into debt, you’re sure to have a great Christmas and head into the New Year feeling prepared and happy.