The temptation to blow the budget when Christmas comes around is strong, especially in the last-minute rush to stock up on everything you’re going to need.
But for some people, this could create worries that take all the enjoyment out of celebrating with family and friends.
One in 12 (8 per cent) of people say they no longer enjoy Christmas because of the financial strain it brings, according to a survey from Gocompare.com Money. And one in eight (12 per cent) say they always end up over-spending at this time of year.
Matt Sanders, a spokesman for Gocompare.com Money, says: “People clearly feel under pressure to splash out on gifts to please loved ones and friends, meaning it’s all too easy to be irrational about our Christmas spending, forking out far more than we can sensibly afford.”
But it’s not too late to get your spending back on track for the new year.
GoCompare’s survey of more than 2,000 people asked shoppers to share their top money saving tips. Top of the list came using loyalty card points to pay for shopping. Other tips include agreeing a price limit with family or friends for how much you will spend on a gift, or planning traditional family days out over the Christmas and New Year break, such as a bracing festive walk, rather than expensive treats.
Sanders says: “There are some simple steps you can take to trim back your Christmas spending to help make sure you don’t start the new year with a financial hangover.
“For instance, cashing in unused loyalty points and using money-off coupons and apps are effective ways of reducing the cost of a range of goods and services and can help your Christmas budget stretch that bit further.”
Putting together a shopping list can help you to avoid duplicating last-minute purchases while you’re dashing round the shops, and cut the likelihood of over-spending.
For those who think they may have to put some of the cost of Christmas on a credit card, Sanders says: “Look for cards with generous interest-free periods on new purchases, which will give you time to pay off your Christmas spending without adding interest to the outstanding debt. To help ensure that you repay the balance of your card before the introductory term ends, try setting up a repayment plan and check your cards terms and conditions.”
Here are some of the tips compiled by GoCompare.com Money’s survey:
◆ Use loyalty points to pay for shopping;
◆ Set a budget and stick to it;
◆ Use vouchers and discount codes;
◆ Plan gift ideas in advance rather than waiting for inspiration while browsing;
◆ Agree a price limit for gifts with family members;
◆ Use money-off apps;
◆ Club together to buy joint presents;
◆ If you are using a credit card, use a 0 per cent deal to spread the cost;
◆ Plan traditional family days out instead of expensive treats.
Clare Francis, savings and investments director at Barclays, says: “Many people end up in debt as a result of Christmas and then spend much of the next year trying to pay it off. To reduce the risk of this happening, try and put a bit of money away each month from January, so by the time next Christmas arrives, you’ve saved up a pot of money to cover the cost.”