Ho, ho, h—depressing isn't it? Summer's barely over and the shops are starting to gear up for Christmas.
Scarily Christmas is only 15 weeks away – eek – but many of us haven't started saving in preparation.
Luckily 15 weeks is still a few pay packets off, so there's still time to start saving for Christmas and take the stress off your festive finances!
The first thing to do is to work out how much you're going to need. Your Christmas budget is going to be made up of:
If, in total you think you're going to need £1,000, think now about how much you can commit to save. If you've got 3 pay packets before Christmas, you could simply save £334 every month. Or you might opt to save £250 in October and November and take a bigger hit from December's pay.
Starting your Christmas saving and shopping early is smart. That's because the earlier you start, the more opportunity you have to bag a bargain!
The end of summer signals sales at many retailers. Sign up to the email newsletter of one, or several of the voucher websites such as Discount Vouchers or Voucher Cloud (phone apps also available). Also try to sign up to a cash back website such as Quidco or Top Cashback. These sites can help your money go a lot further.
You'd think that a top-paying easy access savings account would be the best place for your money wouldn't you? But many of the top accounts place interest penalties or restrictions on the number of withdrawals you can make. If you need to withdraw your money more than 4 times for instance, then some of the best savings accounts won't be the most suitable.
Of course, you could just leave your Christmas savings in your bank account, but then it is mingled with your day-to-day money.
If you want to keep your savings separate, here are some of the best easy access savings accounts that:
With a little over 3 months to go until Christmas 2011, you may not see the point in opening a new savings account. But, you could keep that account open after Christmas 2011 and use it for saving for Christmas 2012. We know that's an ultra depressing thought, but at least it won't be so bad at the end of next summer, when your thoughts turn to the mad saving rush for the festive season!
You're pretty organised if your starting to save for Christmas 2012 already. But starting to think about next year now isn't as mad as it sounds. After all, the earlier you start the less of a monthly burden it will be.
Regular savings accounts generally have more restrictions than normal accounts. You'll probably be required to commit to a minimum number of monthly "payments", as well as a minimum monthly amount to save. Some of the best rates are fixed bonds where you cannot get at the money for a year.
Whilst these restrictions might seem… well… a little restrictive, they can actually help you build your Christmas savings ready for next year's festive season, without spending them in the meantime.
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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