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The season to be jolly is fast approaching, and it won’t be long until we’re counting down the days until Christmas is here. But decking the halls, spoiling your family and friends, and overindulging on food and drink doesn’t come for free — no matter how good you’ve been all year. As a result, it can be all too easy to overspend around Christmas time, and many of us will turn to payment plans, credit cards, and unplanned overdrafts to keep us going until January.

The last thing you want to wake up to on New Year’s Day 2021 is a financial hangover, so it’s important to take steps to manage your spending throughout December.

To help you stay on track, we’ve shared 7 Christmas financial tips:

  1. Set a budget
  2. Sell unwanted items
  3. Borrow sensibly
  4. Cut back on everyday luxuries
  5. Save on your Christmas shopping with homemade gifts
  6. Remember what Christmas is all about
  7. Take stock in the New Year

 

1.Set budgets for every aspect of your spending

While it might sound obvious, only spending what you can afford is the key to a stress and debt-free Christmas. When you know exactly how much money you have to work with, it's much easier not to accidentally overspend. If you keep track of what you're spending, you won't end up getting a nasty shock when you check your bank balance on New Year's Day. So, one of the most effective ways to stay on track financially is to set yourself a budget and stick to it.

We know that budgeting can be a bit of a chore, especially in the run-up to Christmas when you've got a million other things to do, so we've created a free, easy-to-use festive financial budget planner that will do all the hard work for you. All you need to do is enter a few details, and the budget calculator will tell you how exactly how much you can afford to spend over the festive season. It also allows you to keep a running total of your spending, making it easier than ever to avoid going into the red. So, that’s one less thing to worry about when Christmas shopping!

2. Sell unwanted items

If you're worried that your festive budget isn’t going to stretch very far, or you'd just like to give it a bit of a top-up, then you could try selling off some of your old stuff. Check down the back of the sofa or in your old jewellery box, you’ll be surprised at what you might find. Not only will this help cover the cost of your celebrations, but having a good clear-out will help get your home organised in time for Christmas, meaning you'll be killing two birds with one stone.

Here at H&T, we buy scrap gold, so you can turn any old or broken jewellery you might have lying around into money to go towards your best Christmas ever — contact us to get a quote for selling your scrap gold today. There are options online for selling almost anything online these days, from sites like Music Magpie that buy CDs, DVDs, and games, to apps such as Depop, where you can re-sell your old clothing and footwear.

 

 

3. Borrow sensibly

As we’ve mentioned, spending only what you can afford is the simplest and more effective way to stay in the black. But, if you do need a little help to cover the cost of Christmas, the most important thing to remember is to use credit wisely, to keep any debts or interest as low as possible.

For example, instead of using a store card with a high interest rate, it may be better to pay using a credit card that offers an initial 0% interest on purchases. As long as you can comfortably pay off the full amount within the interest-free period, you should be able to avoid being charged. You could also look for credit cards that offer cashback or other rewards.

If you just need a short-term loan to help get you through the festive season, then taking out a then taking out a pawnbroking loan may be a good option, especially if you're holding on to valuables you rarely use. With H&T, you won't need to do a credit check or provide a guarantor, so our pawnbroking loans are the ideal solution if you have bad credit. To learn more, apply for a quote online or visit your local H&T Pawnbrokers.

If you just need a short-term loan to help get you through the festive season, then taking out a pawnbroking loan (representative 165.5 % APR) may be a good option, especially if you're holding on to valuables you rarely use. With H&T, you won't need to do a credit check or provide a guarantor, so our pawnbroking loans are the ideal solution if you have bad credit. To learn more, apply for a quote online or visit your local H&T Pawnbrokers. Remember that loans are secured on your items, if the loan is not repaid it will be sold to pay the debt.

Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk

4. Cut back on everyday luxuries

Saving Money in a Piggy Bank

Even if you haven't been able to put much money away this year, there's still time to save some extra cash in the weeks leading up to Christmas — you just need to sacrifice a few of those everyday luxuries you might normally take for granted. For example, you could swap those twice-a-week takeaways for homecooked dinners. These small sacrifices are fairly easy to stick to, but the savings will soon add up. Plus, it's easier to go without when you have an extravagant Christmas celebration to look forward to!

 

5. Cut the cost of Christmas shopping with homemade gifts

The best Christmas presents aren't necessarily the most expensive ones. In fact, you might be surprised by just how many people would prefer to receive a gift that was handmade with lots of care and effort, rather than something you've just picked up at the shops. Even if you aren't particularly crafty, this is the perfect opportunity to take up a new hobby and save money on your Christmas shopping in one go.

The only limit is your imagination, and how much spare time you have to devote to the project. Baked goods, like biscuits or mince pies, are relatively quick and easy: take a look at this list of Christmas gift recipes from GoodFood to find some inspiration. Or, if you’re up for a more challenging project, why not try making some Christmas candles? These make a really impressive gift yet cost much less than pricey scented candles you'll find at the shops, especially if you recycle old jars to use as containers. Take a look at this guide from Centre of Excellence to learn more.

 

6. Remember what Christmas is all about

While splashing a bit of cash and indulging in the finer things can be fun, it's important to remember that there's more to Christmas than just spending money. Chances are, your most treasured festive memories are all about the time you've spent with your nearest and dearest, rather than any expensive gifts or meals you've enjoyed. So, next time you find yourself getting stressed out over not being able to afford the most luxurious gifts or that new party outfit, take a moment to remind yourself of what really matters: family, fun, and Christmas spirit, all of which are priceless.

 

7. Take stock in the New Year

 

Once the dust has settled in the New Year, it's well worth taking a step back to see where you’re at with your finances. If you’ve gone over budget, don’t just ignore the problem: sit down and work out how you’re going to make up the deficit.

If you get into debt over the festive season, make a plan of action to start paying it off as soon as possible. If you owe money on any credit cards, pay back the money as early as you can to make sure you’re not paying interest. You may be able to transfer the balance to another card to buy you more time before the fees kick in.

Remember, if you’re in real financial difficulty or have accumulated debts that you don’t think you can manage, you can seek free independent advice from Citizens Advice and the National Debtline.

The New Year is also the perfect time to draw up a plan to start saving for next Christmas. The earlier you start saving, the more money you’ll have to cover the cost of your celebrations. For example, if you start setting aside just £50 a month from January, you'll have an impressive £600 to spend by December — more than enough for a very merry Christmas! The simplest way to save is to set up a direct debit that will automatically move a set amount over to your savings account after payday, so you don’t even need to think about it.

Give yourself the gift of a stress-free Christmas this year with these financial planning tips. Remember to download our FREE financial planner, which will make staying on top of your spending easier than ever. You can also check out our blog to find more tips for managing your finances and making extra cash.

This article does not constitute financial advice, however If you need help with budgeting or prioritising your debts, we have a list of useful contacts https://www.handt.co.uk/pages/useful-contacts that can help by providing free, confidential and impartial money guidance and debt advice.