We don't want to scare you too much, and we hate being bombarded with Christmas-related warnings in September just as much as you do, but we thought we'd better prepare you – there are now less than 100 days to go until the main event, and although that may seem ages away, some savvy spenders are already planning ahead…
Spreading the cost
According to research from American Express, almost two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed are planning ahead for Christmas, with many taking a cost-conscious approach to their festive spend. In order to stay on budget, 49% are buying presents early to spread the cost – with 16% having started several months ago – while 19% redeem rewards or cashback to support their spending, and a savvy 15% use discounts and vouchers to help fill their festive stocking.
It could be a sensible way to go about it, too. Trying to cover everything out of a single paycheque can be far too challenging – particularly when you consider how expensive Christmas can be – so unless you started saving for the occasion months ago, looking for ways to spread the cost will be essential.
"As the Christmas countdown begins, now is the time to think about how to make every penny count," said Nicholas Stefanovitz of American Express, and we couldn't agree more. So just how can you get sorted for Christmas?
What about saving? Although you may think you've left it too late, there could still be enough time to amass a healthy festive savings pot. Many people will still have around three paydays with which to save from, and if you stash away a little each month in a dedicated savings account, you hopefully won't have to rely too much on your final paycheque to cover the cost.
By now, you'll probably be looking for an easy access account as you'll need to spend the money fairly soon. You may not generate a huge amount of interest between now and Christmas, but it'll be a great way to keep your festive funds separate from your everyday spending and could help you plan accordingly.
Buying a few presents each month could also be a great way to help cover the cost, as that way, you won't need to fund everything all at once. Be on the lookout for sales and discounts – end of season sales are still in full swing in many places, so you could easily pick up a bargain that can be squirreled away for Christmas. Make sure to use any voucher codes that you can find, too, because anything you can use to cut the cost will help your budget go further.
Alternatively, if you think you'll need to turn to credit to cover the cost, make sure to do it wisely. Ideally you'll want to opt for a card that charges 0% interest on purchases for a set period, thereby giving you plenty of time to pay off Christmas without worrying about interest adding to the cost. Alternatively, what about a cashback credit card? If you're confident that you can pay it off before interest eats into the benefit, this could be a great way of getting something back from your festive spend.
However you choose to go about it, make sure to start planning now and you can be confident that everything's in order before the festive panic hits!
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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