With the festive season almost upon us, many people are feeling the financial crunch. Carol Brick, Managing Director of CWM Wealth Management offers advice on spending wisely this festive season.
Prepare in advance by making a list and checking it twice!
Set yourself a limit to spend on each person, this will help to avoid impulse buying. Christmas budget planners are a great asset to plan and track all of your expenses.
Leave your credit card at home and use a pre-paid money card
Credit cards are very expensive if you can't repay them the debt in full immediately or within a few months. Pre-paid cards combine the convenience of a credit or debit card with the ability to allow you to set your spending limit according to your budget.
Do your research
Shop around, compare prices online and in stores. Look out for special offers and discounts in the lead up to Christmas (e.g. Black Friday Sale on 25th November and Cyber Monday 28th November). Bear in mind when it comes to online shopping that it doesn’t feel like you are spending cash. Be aware of the cost of delivery charges and make sure you are not caught out by the added cost of tax or postage and packing (when purchasing from the UK – using Parcel Motel is a great idea!).
There are some great websites offering creative inspirations for gifting this season. Sometimes personalised gifts are the ones that are the most memorable plus you can save a few Euro as well.
Use your loyalty card
What’s the point of having a loyalty card if you never claim the points? Always avail of your points collected on loyalty cards and enjoy the benefits of using them towards paying for items.
Avail of what’s owed to you
Now is a good time to go to the Government website www.revenue.ie to check that you have been claiming all of the appropriate benefits and tax credits that are rightfully yours. Maybe the latest budget had a positive effect on your tax situation and you will be owed a tax refund which if applied for now will be payable in the a few weeks in the New Year when you will need it most?!
Buy safe to be safe
Avoid the temptation of purchasing from unauthorised traders and don’t borrow from unauthorised lenders – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The initial savings and convenience may prove to be a false economy.
Avoid extended warranties
As is often the case at this time of year, you can be offered an extended warranty for something as small as a hairdryer or a cheap watch.
For an upfront premium, the product is guaranteed to be fixed free of charge for a given period. However, most electrical appliances usually come with a one-year manufacturer's guarantee anyway.
Choose Cheaper Traditions
While activity based traditions for the family during Christmas are important they don’t have to be expensive to be memorable. Over the festive season, there are many activities and events happening around the country which are inexpensive or even free. You can easily save money without skimping on those festive memories.
Start Saving for Christmas 2017
The earlier you start saving for Christmas 2017, the less you need to put aside each month. Even a small amount over a few months can make a big difference. Why not set up a standing order and transfer €50 per month into a savings account and by December next year you’ll have €650.