Savvy Christmas shopping tips
Ways to make sure you don’t overspend during the festive season
As we rush around the tinsel-filled shops searching for the perfect presents, delicious food and must-have trimmings, it’s easy to ignore how much you’re spending. But millionaire businesswoman Emma Wimhurst approaches Christmas as she would any big financial outlay – by keeping a close eye on the budget and the bottom line. Here are her budget-conscious tips…
1 A prepaid debit card won’t cost you anything, gives you money upfront so you don’t go into debt and once it’s spent that’s it – you stop shopping. If you think you are going to overspend, arrange for an authorised overdraft beforehand as an unauthorised one can cost you £6 a day in charges – that’s the equivalent of 2,000% APR on a £100 overdraft! Switch to an interest-free credit card just for Christmas if your credit rating is good enough and you have the willpower to pay it off.
2 Trying to buy everything in one day will end in tears. Little and often will do less damage to your wallet, but make sure you make a note of what you’ve bought – and where you’ve hidden it – so you don’t double up on gifts later.
3 Spend time, not money. You will overspend if you buy in a panic, and you’re less likely to buy something people really want. If you really can’t find something that’s perfect, buy a small personal present from a shop they love with a matching gift token so they can chose their own later. It shows care but also avoids expensive mistakes.
4 Don’t throw away money on expensive Christmas cards, especially those giant personalised ones. Grandparents would much rather have photographs of their grandchildren. Download your own photos or get copies of memorable past pictures to use on home-made cards. Think back to last year – which were the cards you kept?
5 Store loyalty cards and credit card points are Santa’s little helper. Get every loyalty card (not store card) you can and use it religiously. When they offer the chance to double up your points or vouchers, do it. It may be a faff cashing them in, but persevere – it’s worth it. You can easily collect enough points in a year to pay for all the Christmas food.
6 It’s not just presents and food that play havoc with your cash flow – the work’s ‘do’, girls’ nights out and Christmas lunches can get expensive. Decide what you can afford, leave your credit and debit cards behind and take only what you can afford in cash. That way, when it’s gone, it’s gone.