Christmas is an exciting time of year but many of us are short on time and money. If you’re trying to tighten Santa’s belt this Christmas, follow our Christmas shopping tips this festive season.
- Leave the credit card at home and bring cash or your debit card instead. Credit card debt can be very expensive if you can't repay it in full immediately or within a few months. When you are spending the cash in your pocket or in your bank account, you will be much less likely to overspend than if you pay with a credit card.
- If you do need to use your credit card, then take a look at our credit card cost comparison. There are still some providers offering 0% interest on balance transfers. If you can't afford to pay your Christmas credit card bill in full, you could take advantage of one of these offers in the New Year. But before you sign up, make sure to check what rate will apply when the introductory offer ends and if there are any conditions attached to it.
- List everyone that you intend to buy for, then budget a reasonable amount that you can afford to spend on each person. Making a shopping list will also help you avoid impulse buying and keep track of your spending. Our Christmas budget planner can help you plan for and keep track of all your expenses.
- Avoid shopping at the last minute and try to arrange to go shopping when it’s quieter. Shops are a lot quieter late at night or first thing in the morning. Leaving yourself plenty of time and avoiding busy shopping times will make your Christmas shopping a bit easier.
- Try a new approach to buying presents. You could agree a spending limit with your friends and family or try an option like a Secret Santa, so each person only has to buy one present. Or if there is a special item that you really want to give to someone, consider splitting the cost with a friend or relative. Keep an eye out for coupons or deals on gifts wherever you can.
- Do your research. If you have a present in mind, shop around and compare prices, both in store and online. Keep your eye out for discounts and promotional offers. If you do plan to do some shopping online, be careful. What might seem like a great deal could be more expensive when you add on delivery charges, so be sure to take them into account. Make sure you leave plenty of time for delivery too.
- Don’t get caught out by credit. In the run up to Christmas, personal loans and in-store credit may look like attractive options, especially for larger purchases like PCs, electrical equipment or furniture, where stores may offer you 0% finance for a period of time. Before signing up to store credit or a personal loan, consider the full costs and not just the monthly repayment. Would the repayments still be affordable if your income dropped for any reason, or if you had an unexpected expense?
- Be realistic with your food shopping. It can be easy to buy more than you need, but bear in mind that most shops are only closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, so there’s no need to go overboard. Read our helpful money saving tips on groceries.
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