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Christmas, Advice, Money Management, Money Guide

We’re not used to thinking about Christmas at this time of year. For some, even the mention of the word before November is enough to make them run for the door. Christmas is one of those universally loved times of year, but it also has a very stressful and expensive aspect that we don’t like to think about the rest of the time. We don’t like to think about Christmas in September because of this associated stress, but the whole holiday could be easier if we did.

This doesn’t mean putting up your Christmas tree and playing Christmas songs early, and it also doesn’t mean that you have to be in any way enthusiastic about it if you don’t want to be! However, by starting to consider certain aspects now, you’ll find it much less stressful in December and much easier on the wallet.

Start early

Christmas shopping is something that we tend to do closer to the time and it’s alarmingly easy to leave it to the last minute, especially with all the other Christmas tasks and traditions to keep track of. The easiest and most effective way to spread to cost of Christmas is to start doing some of your shopping a two or three months before the 1st December.

Not only does this split the costs over several pay-cheques, but it also gives you time to find the right gift at the right price. Panic-buying an overpriced generic gift in the run-up to Christmas day for someone who actually deserves something more thoughtful is not a great feeling.

You’ll also find that the shops will be much less busy outside of the Christmas shopping season and may even have sales and other offers available. Your shopping experience will be worlds away from the excitable crowds, limited choices and inflated prices we’re used to seeing in December time.

Consider H&T’s layaway offer

If you’re lucky enough to have a special someone in your life - whether that’s a partner, friend or relative - who deserves an extra special gift, you may be wondering how best to save for this. Here at H&T we’ve got an offer which could give you the freedom to spread the cost of one or two more expensive items, such as a piece of fine jewellery, a luxury watch or electronics such as smartphones and tablets.

With our offer, you’re able to come and choose the item you want from any of our 247 nationwide branches and have it put aside for 3 months. You pay 10% of the item’s value as an initial deposit, followed by three monthly installments of 30% of the cost. This offer is available on all of our full-priced items of £100 and over.

As an example, you may find a 22ct gold ruby and diamond ring for sale in store for £230. You’d pay £23 upfront, and the ring would be taken off the shelves and held in our secure in-house safe. You’d then be liable for 3x payments of £69. Once the third payment has been made, the ring is now yours and you can take it home from the store.

This is a great way to spread the cost and to keep yourself motivated to ‘save’ for the perfect gift for a loved one.

Get the kids involved

Children, for obvious reasons, love Christmas. Their enthusiasm for this time of year can be utilised to help you save money in the long run, whilst also providing them with some fun activities and cherished memories in the process. Get your kids (or your nieces, nephews, or your friends’ children) to help you make Christmas decorations, cards and presents for the big day. Craft materials can be sourced very cheaply and you’ll be surprised at how much people deeply appreciate something which has been homemade – especially if it’s been created by a child they know and love.

Discuss plans with friends & family now

Rather than leave plans until the last minute, or just having a vague idea of where you’ll need to be during December, now is the time to firmly nail down any travel plans. Air and rail fares tend to be cheapest from around 12 weeks ahead of travel, so it’s important to know in advance what tickets you should get. If you are planning to drive anywhere over the Christmas period, having time to save for fuel and plan your journey can make it 100 times easier, so it’s certainly worth thinking about this now – especially if you have kids in tow!

Lay down the rules on gift giving

However well we plan for Christmas, there are always unexpected expenses that arise. Sometimes this can be for last minute gifts, such as when someone gets you something and you feel you have to reciprocate, or for when you’ve forgotten someone from your list. Buying gifts for everyone in your social circle can be very impractical and the expectation for presents puts a lot of pressure on everyone, as wonderful as gift-giving is.

It can therefore be very beneficial to chat to your friends, family members and co-workers to understand their expectations. Suggesting alternatives like Secret Santa, putting a spending limit on gifts or stipulating a ‘charity shop only’ gift theme can save a lot of time, stress and money for everyone concerned.

Sell unwanted items now

Rather than waiting until December and trying to cover Christmas expenses with the money you have, prepare in advance by temporarily boosting your income. Not everyone has the means or will-power to save, but you can make additional money to cover this by selling any unwanted items in the coming weeks. There are a huge number of ways to sell these days, from Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace to eBay and Etsy. You can sell almost anything if you choose the right platform – furniture, clothing, toys, electricals, jewellery, antiques…the list goes on. Here at H&T, we purchase pre-owned jewellery, watches and electronic items outright for money, which is another way we can help you with the cost of Christmas.

Come and see us today in any one of our 250+ nationwide branches – click here to find your local store.

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By H&T Pawnbrokers