Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 24/09/2019

With less than 100 days left until the big day, the Christmas countdown has officially started and, while it might be too late to save for this year’s festive season, there are a few things consumers can do now to help ease the financial pressure.

Create a budget to avoid Christmas debt

Consumers who haven’t yet created a budget should think about creating one now. There are only 13 shopping weekends left until Christmas Day, which means that there isn’t a lot of time left to spread the costs of buying presents, decorations, food and drink. When creating their budget consumers should take a look at their finances and look at where they can make savings over the next few months to free up money for Christmas shopping.

Consider switching accounts for cashback incentives

Last week we reported that there has been an increase in banks offering cashback incentives for switching bank accounts. For consumers these incentives can be an easy way of making a little bit of extra money to help towards their Christmas shopping. NatWest, for example, is currently offering £150 cashback for new customers who move their current account to the bank and opt for one its standard or packaged accounts. HSBC is another bank offering cashback, with both its HSBC Premier Bank Account and HSBC Advance Bank Account both offering a £175 incentive and its HSBC Bank Account offering a £75 incentive.

Using credit cards to pay for Christmas

While running up debt on credit cards to pay for Christmas should be avoided, credit cards can be a useful way for consumers to cope with financial pressures during the festive season. A 0% purchase credit card allows borrowers to avoid paying interest on the credit card debt for a set period of time, giving consumers the ability to spread the cost of their Christmas shopping without incurring high interest rates. MBNA Limited’s 0% Transfer and Purchase Credit Card Mastercard, for example, offers a 0% interest free period for 27 months on purchases made within the first 60 days of opening. Consumers should ensure that they pay off their debt within the interest free period or else they could be hit by high interest rates, for example after the interest free period the MBNA Limited card ends it charges at 20.9% APR.

Start saving for next year now

Although most households will be too focused on this year’s Christmas to start thinking about next year, but by starting to save for Christmas 2020 today, consumers will only have to put aside a small amount each month and still be able to build a substantial amount of savings for next year’s Christmas shopping. A 12 month regular savings account can be a good option for Christmas savers as it usually requires a minimum amount savers have to deposit each month to gain the advertised interest rate. As well as this, opening one now will ensure that the account matures before next year’s Christmas shopping starts. Virgin Money’s Regular Saver Issue 18, for example, pays 3.00% which matures on 1 September 2020 and allows savers to make a minimum monthly deposit of £1 to a maximum of £250.

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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