Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 13/09/2019

Although summer might just be over, this Monday marks the 100-day countdown to Christmas and 24% of British consumers have already started their Christmas shopping, research from American Express reveals.

According to the research, the main reasons why people started their festive shopping early is because potential presents have caught their eye or because they want to avoid a big spending spree in the run-up to Christmas. In fact, two in five (41%) of shoppers buy gifts throughout the year to make the most of discounts and offers.

Saving for Christmas

Christmas can be an expensive time, which is why it makes financial sense to start shopping as early as possible to help spread the costs. Saying this, according to the research, 52% said it was too early to start thinking about Christmas now, while 19% are planning on waiting until the sales start before they start their Christmas shopping.

Consumers who do not want to start shopping yet should still plan ahead to help reduce the financial impact that the festive period often has. For those who are able to start saving a year in advance, a one-year regular savings account can be a good option to ensure that money is saved in preparation. For those wanting to start saving for next year, Virgin Money’s Regular Saver Issue 18 currently pays 3.00% on a £1 deposit. This account has a term that ends on 1 September 2020 and requires no minimum number of payments to be made but any monthly additions must be between £1 and £250.

An alternative option is an easy access savings account where savers will normally be able to access their money quickly. Al Rayan Bank currently offers the best easy access savings rate with its Everyday Saver paying an expected profit rate of 1.61%. This account requires a £500 opening deposit and allows unlimited further additions and withdrawals. It can be both opened and managed online, in branch, by post, by phone and via mobile app.

Paying for Christmas

Shoppers who have left it too late to save for Christmas could consider using credit cards to help meet the costs. For those who are able to pay off the balance each month, a rewards credit card can be a good option as shoppers can gain rewards such as cashback or air miles when the card is used. American Express’ Rewards Low Rate Credit Card for example offers 2,500 Membership Rewards® bonus points when £1,000 is spent in the first three months. Those who cannot pay back the full amount could consider a 0% purchase credit card that will not charge interest for a set period of time. MBNA’s 0% Transfer and Purchase Credit Card Mastercard, for example, charges 0% interest for 27 months on purchases made within 60 days of account opening, however shoppers should have a repayment plan in place to ensure that they pay off the full amount before the interest-free period ends.

Stephen Steinhardt, director at American Express, said: “For a significant number people across the UK the countdown to Christmas has already begun. If you are starting your Christmas shopping, consider putting your spending on a card that gives you cashback or rewards. This means that you’ll be getting something back on your spending, which you can then redeem to treat yourself in the New Year.”

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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