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It’s looking to be a credit Christmas

It’s looking to be a credit Christmas

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 17/10/2016
First Published: 17/10/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

We are now less than 70 days away from Christmas, and with 70% of people admitting they haven't started saving for the holidays yet, millions will be needing to play catch-up in the next two-and-a-bit months, with plenty planning to turn to credit for some Christmas spending relief.

The survey, conducted by the Centre for Retail Research, shows that the average household plans to spend £794 on the festive season, with 15% of people planning to use their credit card to fund this expense. While other surveys may have reported a drop in household spending, this is still a large amount, especially to be putting on credit.

Research from SodaStream has meanwhile revealed that, surprisingly, younger people are more likely to think ahead about their finances, with over three in 10 of 18 to 24-year-olds taking three months to save up for the Christmas season, while over-55s are 10% less likely to do so.

Regardless of whether you're a saver or credit card spender, there are some things that we can all do in the run-up to the end of the year to help ease the strain on our wallets. Money and consumer expert Sue Hayward said: "If you're looking to save on the family finances, getting value for money is likely to be high on your list. There are lots of small and easy changes families can make to save themselves some serious cash over the course of a year."

Any time you are feeling less flush on cash, an easy go-to is to switch supermarkets, or even just switch to the supermarket-own brand, as those products generally cost less than their branded equivalents and can knock up to a third off your bill, totalling a possible saving of £1,700 per year. Even changing the time you shop could help, with discounts on perishable items of up to 75% often available from 7pm onwards. In the same vein, buying boxes of 'wonky' veg or budget-brand produce can save over £100 per year, and they won't taste any different once they've been nicely cooked.

While many are reluctant to part with their weekly takeaway, cutting down on this luxury could save over £1,500 a year. And getting your coffee from work or home rather than a morning trip to a coffee shop could save even more, given the high cost of this liquid treat.

Switching doesn't just work for food items, either. If you are planning to use a credit card to pay for your Christmas shopping, consider how cost-effective your current plastic is, and what you could save by switching to one of our Best Buys. By getting the top 0% purchase card, for instance, you could give yourself up to 28 months to pay off your purchases before you start paying interest, and you may also be able to benefit from generous introductory balance transfer terms to help you pay off any debts on your previous card.

If you're one of the 70% of people who think Christmas is still much too far away to worry about, consider yourself warned! It's not the best idea to bury your head in the sand when the cost is as extensive as it is, and some excellent deals could be passing you by if you're not on the lookout.

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.