'Tis the season - to start saving | moneyfacts.co.uk

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Published: 10/10/2017

The mince pies have started to appear in shops and emails reminding us to book that festive party are clogging up inboxes across the country. We hate to say it, but Christmas is rapidly approaching – and that means you need to start making sure your savings pot can cope with it!

The rising cost of Christmas

Research from Halifax shows that consumers are set to spend more than £20 billion on Christmas this year, and it isn't hard to see how the cost can ramp up. Last year, Brits spent an average of £452.41 each – a figure which rises to £589.28 among parents – and 18% think they'll spend more than they did last year.

One in 10 (12%) admit having splashed out at least £1,000 on the big day in the past, so it's little wonder that 16% say it takes them up to a year to pay off the cost of Christmas, while 23% admitted they worry about their Christmas spending.

It's a huge sum of money that could be difficult to save for, but of course, saving will always be the way to go – Halifax's calculations show that you'd need to save £41 a week from now on if you're to comfortably cover the cost of the average Christmas, so if you've yet to do so, it's time to get saving!

"Although it feels like summer has only just passed, it's not long until the festive period, and some shops are already starting to sell festive stock," said Giles Martin, head of Savings at Halifax. "To avoid a bill shock, it's worth starting to save now to spread the cost over several months. It's reassuring to see that one in 10 of us already do this, and save through the year or use a savings account to save up for big events such as Christmas."

Top tips for festive saving

Here are a few top tips to help you save for Christmas, and hopefully, they could mean you're not struggling to cover the cost:

  • Start early. Putting money aside every week in a dedicated savings account will soon add up, and you may want to start the shopping early, too; research from Goldsmiths shows that one in 20 of us shop year-round with Christmas in mind, while one in five start Christmas shopping up to four months before the big day, which could be a great way to spread the cost.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. Think about everything you need to pay for over the festive season – this can include Christmas cards, food, gifts, crackers, trees and decorations, not to mention all those Christmas parties – then set a budget. Having a savings goal to aim towards can help motivate you to reach your target, and if you know you've got a budget for each person's gift, it could help you rein things in a bit when you're shopping.

  • Pick the best place for your savings. There's nothing quite like watching your money grow, and finding the best savings account could be a great way to do just that. An easy access account is the perfect choice for this form of saving, letting you add money when you can and withdraw it when it's time to hit the shops, and by using our Best Buys or savings search tool, you could find the perfect option for your needs.
  • Be a savvy shopper. Don't wait for December to get buying – hit the shops now to make the most of the pre-Christmas sales, and remember to be rewarded for your loyalty. Now's the perfect time of year to look through your various reward cards and loyalty schemes to see how many points you have and hopefully, you'll have enough to exchange for a Christmas gift or two, or even the main food shop.
  • Call on your willpower and see where you can save. If you start being really strict with yourself, you could well find new avenues for saving. For example, if you forgo your daily coffee you could save around £3 a day, said Halifax, which equates to more than £200 saved between now and Christmas! However you go about it, start getting into the savings habit, and hopefully you'll have a decent pot in time for the main event.

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