Top tips to reduce your spending this Christmas

Thatís right folks, with only 75 days to go and many retailers fully embracing the Christmas countdown, the festive season is nearly upon us. However, alongside Christmas cheer comes your very own personal credit crunch.

Festivities tend to get the best of finances as many donít want to be cast in the role of Scrooge at this special time of year. However, we can all become ësavvy Santasí with some clever Christmas spending.

With the cost of living increasing on a regular basis and the latest office figures suggesting families will be £2k worse off annually by 2013, itís no surprise that Brits are concerned about their finances.

Whilst it may often be hard to find a bargain prior to Christmas as many retailers up their prices, it is not impossible. If youíre worried that youíll spend too much this December, start saving now with some top tips to reduce your Christmas spending.

Credit Cards

If youíre thinking about taking out a credit card, now would be a good time to get one. Firstly, The interest rates are low which makes borrowing that little bit easier on credit repayment.

Secondly, lenders are throwing all their weight into attracting new customers. There are some seriously lengthy balance transfer periods floating around such as the Barclaycard Platinum which offers 22 months at 0% balance transfer.

However, with Christmas coming up you might well be looking for 0% on purchases.

The Tesco Clubcard Credit Card offers one of the longest 0% purchase rates for a whopping 15 months. It also offers rewards and you can collect 1 clubcard point for every £4 spent. So, not only do you benefit from 0% on purchases this Christmas, but you can also earn a great deal of points whilst doing that big Christmas food shop. The card has a representative variable APR of 16.9% and also offers 0% on balance transfers for a 9 month period, there is a 2.9% fee though.

It is advisable to apply for credit cards in advance as they often take weeks to go through. This means that during the run up to Christmas you donít have to sweat about spending when youíve already got an early present for yourself.

Budget

Itís a well-known fact that Christmas costs money and many overspend, overeat and generally overdo everything. Budgeting at a time when most rational limits go out the window can be hard. However, you canít ignore debt forever.

Compare debt solutions with Money Expert.

Set a spending limit for each person you have to buy for or discuss with your partner who buys what and at what price. Itís always a bad idea to shop for food on an empty stomach, so donít shop for presents without an idea of what you want to get and how much you want to spend.

Shop online

A few years ago heavy snowfall prevented many people from receiving their Christmas gifts on time. However, donít let this put you off as shopping online might be one of the cheapest ways to go for the season. It saves you time and the hassle of traipsing around the shops all day in heavy weekend crowds. It saves you money from the overpriced shopping centre car park and the temptation of stopping off for an overpriced coffee. It saves you fuel from sitting in traffic all day getting in and out of the shopping centre, ultimately reducing your motoring costs which could work out to be cheaper than postage.

Shopping online also means you can find cheaper deals that you might not necessarily find in the shops.

Stock up

By tackling the Christmas shopping early you can find all you need and not have to worry when the big day draws nearer. It can also allow you to ease the financial burden of the season by spreading out the costs over a few months.  However, if you are feeling brave about the whole shopping experience, you could find some last minute deals by shopping late on Christmas Eve. This recommendation does come with a warning though. This may leave you in a situation where the only thing left on the shelf is a pair of socks, a bag of Brussel sprouts and some rechargeable batteries.

If you buy in bulk you can save money by having a selection of gifts for people you may have forgotten about. Also, there are numerous deals and vouchers which will allow you to get money off. Donít forget that many retailers offer 3 for 2 deals on stocking filler style items, as well as larger purchases. Independent shops may be more flexible on price so haggling is certainly worth a try.

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