TOP TIPS TO HELP SAVE THE PENNIES AT CHRISTMAS

With Christmas approaching, we should remember that this time of year can be stressful and expensive. So if you are worried about your cashflow and costs over the festive season then making a few simple changes can ease the burden and go some way towards making Christmas more enjoyable.

Don’t forget you can use the below suggestions to add diary dates to your calendar for 2018, to get ahead and help plan and improve your financial position this coming year – it is never too late to make changes.

PLAN YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENT LIST
• Make a list of who you are buying for, how much you are spending on each person and a choice of the gifts you could get them.
• Stick to your budget – and remember you don’t have to buy the entire list.
• For those un-organised amongst us, technology can help. Christmas Gift App’s help keep a record of what you have bought and what you still need to buy.
• Don’t forget that if you are buying a present as a gift for a business client, then make sure you send Blue Skies a copy of your receipt – it maybe claimable against tax.

VISITING THE SHOPS vs BUYING ONLINE
Visiting the shops
• Can take a lot of time, although if you have a business meeting or two in the town during the day, then in-between or afterwards you could nip to the shops, they tend to be quieter in the week, you are also not paying out for additional travel etc at the weekend.
• You need to go in with a Positive Mental Attitude, only buy what you need, do not be tempted by Deal of the Day etc unless it is something on your list to buy to avoid unplanned costs.

SHOPPING ONLINE

• Saves a lot of time and can be done 24/7.
• Need to ensure prices include VAT and watch out for postage.
• If possible try to buy multiple gifts on same website – this way you may qualify for free postage.
• Register on a Cashback site, like Topcashback, Quidco. These sites could become your internet browser when shopping online, to earn extra money to then spend towards the end of the year.

PAY UPFRONT – TRY TO AVOID BORROWING
• If you have the funds use your debit card, but not your overdraft facility, as this can be costly.
• If you are using a credit card, see if your current card provider can issue you with a second card, these can often be taken out quickly as you are already known to the lender and often come with 0% interest on new purchases for several months, thereby avoiding the extra interest charge.

FOOD SHOPPING
• Treat your food shopping just like your gift list; set a budget and make a list of what you “need”, and also a list of additional items that would be “nice”. When the “need” list is done, if funds allow then treat yourself to a few of the “nice items” but don’t be tempted with unnecessary offers.
• Try to purchase non perishable items in the weeks leading up to Christmas, spreading the cost as many items will have best before dates right into 2018.
• When shopping for the Christmas Meal, try and think of it as cooking a slightly larger Sunday Roast, most of us are used to shopping for this type of meal week in week out, so don’t panic buy.
• Keep those New Year Resolutions you are considering (such as joining the Gym, getting fitter etc) in your mind when shopping. You are likely to buy extra food that you may now want to throw away.
• Consider doing an online shop for most of your shopping, and book your slot now with random items in your basket, you can change it closer to the date – REMEMBER to put the date in your diary!
• If you are going to the supermarket consider getting one of the hand held scanners so at least you can track the value of your trolley.