100 days to get financially fit for Christmas

100 days to get financially fit for ChristmasWith 100 days to go until Christmas, now is the time to consider how to become financially fit for this often expensive time of the year.

Standard Life’s Consumer Finance Expect, Julie Hutchinson, has put together a list of five money tips to help plan for the cost of Christmas.

We thought they were pretty good tips, so here they are!

1 – Save £20 a week

Start putting money aside now, for example £20 a week, and you’ll have much more available for Christmas shopping.

Physically putting this money aside can really help, as some people find they spend more unknowingly when it is in their bank account.

With the typical family Christmas costing £650, a little extra saved each week will help tremendously come December.

Setting aside £20 a week between now and the end of November would give you an extra £300 towards this.

2 – Book your travel now

If you’re planning on going away or visiting friends or family over the Christmas period, start planning your travel now.

Whether you’re booking a hotel, train or plane, doing so in advance could really cut your costs.

Make sure you shop around for different prices, there’s lots of websites which can help you do this, some examples are TrainLine and CheapFlights.

3 – Prepare your present list

Make sure you sit down with family and friends to discuss the subject of presents sooner rather than later.

Why not agree to do a Secret Santa within your friendship group rather than buying individual gifts and set a price limit for family presents?

Setting a maximum price is an effective way to help factor in present costs, making it easier to plan.

4 – Don’t be a retail snob

Keep affordability front of mind when shopping, especially when it comes to the big Christmas food shop.

Can you bulk buy at a discount supermarket? Does your local butcher or food shop offer a savings scheme to help you spread the cost through the year?

If you’re buying for young children they won’t know the price so there’s little point going overboard with top of the range gifts.

Similarly, if you know someone has simple tastes, there’s no point going for designer gear if they’ll be happy with a more basic version.

5 – Use social to bag a bargain

Log onto Twitter and scan popular phrases and hashtags such as #deal or #offer – you will find many people sharing extra tips or links to discount vouchers and special offers.

It’s also worth following big brands and retailers as many regularly announce deals and offers available through their social channels.

ASOS, M&S and Amazon are great examples of brands that reward loyal customers with discount codes and early entry to sales.

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