Bag a bargain before Christmas

It won’t have escaped your attention that we’re already in the run-up to Christmas. The nights are drawing in, there’s a chill in the air, the shops have started dressing their windows with festive displays…AND there are only 8 weeks to go!

We all know how expensive Christmas can get – experts are predicting overall spending will reach £11.8 billion this year, an increase of £383 million on 2006. The average family will probably fork out almost £450 just on Christmas.

With so much spending practically inevitable, many of us are already on the lookout for a bargain. Whether it’s shopping in the sales, going online or investing in a fake tree, there are plenty of ways to do your bit.

A great way to bag a bargain and save some cash before Christmas approaches is to shop online – but not just for your gifts and food. Using MoneyExpert to sort out your finances and switch to a better deal can save you a tidy sum – all of which is useful for getting through the festive period.

Switch and save

MoneyExpert’s switching index shows that people ditched over 37 million products and services over the last six months in favour of a better deal. So switching is no dark art. Everyone’s giving it a try and saving some money in the process.

The big change over the summer was in insurance switching – 1.6m more policies changed hands over the last six months compared to the preceding quarter.

Using a comparison site can save you time and money on your car insurance – no more checking the Yellow Pages and plumping for one of three quotes you got over the course of a Saturday afternoon – so if you’re about to renew your policy, take a few minutes to check leading insurance providers here at

Are you ahead of the credit card game?

Congratulations if you are one of the millions of people who have transferred a credit card balance to a 0% deal. You’re making the most of a competitive marketplace.

But don’t rest on your laurels. You’ve only just begun. Cheap deals are not forever.

The good news is that there are plenty of credit card companies still offering zero per cent interest on balance transfers and new spending. Some of these deals last for 12 months or longer.

So if you transfer a balance of £1,000 and pay it off over a year you’ll pay no interest. If your old deal has expired you could be paying interest at a rate as high as 16 per cent APR – which means for the same balance you’d have paid the credit card company £160 in the year.

The key is to plan ahead. Don’t get caught out before Christmas – if you’re paying as little as £25 a month in interest on your credit card at the moment, between now and the Big Day that’s £50 you could have spent on presents.

So be sharp and keep an eye on your balance. It takes about 2 weeks to apply for, be accepted by a new credit card company and receive your card, so you need to plan ahead. To compare credit cards, click here.

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