Christmas on a budget: Five top tips for managing your money this festive season
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According to new research from TSB, Britons are intending to be cautious when it comes to spending this Christmas in an effort to avoid going into debt. The bank has found the majority of UK households may aim to stay in the black by using their income to fund Christmas (62 percent), rather than taking on debt.
Last Christmas, Brits borrowed £6.6billion to fund festivities.
Suggesting a more restrained approach, findings show that only 19 percent plan to rely on a credit card this year.
However, that doesn’t mean the joy that comes with celebrating the festivities is under threat; more than half (61 percent) of Britons say they are determined to have a great time with their loved ones this Christmas following a challenging year.
Pella Frost, Everyday Banking Director at TSB said: “While many people will take a sensible approach to spending this Christmas, we know that others will be feeling the financial strain as they try to make the most of their Christmas celebrations.
“It can be tempting to put things on credit and worry about it later, but a much better Christmas gift is starting the New Year feeling more confident about your money.
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“Our teams at TSB are committed to supporting our customers, with a range of products that build money confidence so they can get on with enjoying Christmas.”
To help people to feel more money confident this Christmas, and beyond, the bank has shared some top tips to managing money better, regardless of financial situation.
Audit your finances and set a budget
“First, do a complete audit of your finances,” Ms Front said.
“This means looking at your incoming and outgoing funds. Look at your necessities such as bills as well as your nice-to-haves.
“In doing so, be strict with any unnecessary outgoings. For example, are you still going to the gym or would you benefit from free/cheaper home workouts? Have you reviewed any other monthly subscriptions like Netflix?
“With more people shopping online now, it’s very easy to add more items to your basket, so be strict and cut the impulse buying.
“Once you’ve conducted a full audit, set yourself a monthly and daily budget and keep a regular track of where your money is going.
“Keep on top of your balance by checking in with your mobile app, setting up text messages, logging onto IB or getting a balance update from the ATM. This will help take back control of your finances.”
Look for better household bills
“There is no better time to look at your household bills and shop for better, cheaper deals. For example, when was the last time you changed energy providers, car and home insurance?
“Consider reviewing your mortgage payments too, you could be eligible to transfer to a different mortgage which could lower your repayments.
“Doing a comparison online is simple and easy to do. Shopping around could mean you save hundreds of pounds on an annual basis.
“Also, consider shopping at cheaper supermarkets and before food shopping, write a list of the things you need.
“This will cut any excess food bills. Look at supermarket brand alternatives too; so many of us are brand loyal but looking at different options means you could ease the pressure on your bank balance. Planning in advance will also help with any Christmas shopping, do your research on the gifts you’d like to buy to see where you can get the best/cheaper deal.”
Consolidate debt and keep up with repayments
“If you find yourself in debt, clearing or consolidating your repayments will really help get your finances back on track. It’s worth shopping around for lower interest rate products so you’re paying more of your debt off. For example, transferring credit card bills on to one 0% card will be beneficial. Or consider consolidating your debt with a personal loan. Speak to your bank, they can assist you with the right products that suit each individual’s need.
Put money aside
“If you have any excess or spare cash left over, put money aside into a completely separate account or set up a ‘pot’ so you’re not tempted to dip into it.
“Working towards a specific goal is usually motivational. Think of these funds with a goal in mind, for example a holiday, new shoes or new phone. TSB’s Spend and Save account includes features like Save the Pennies which automatically rounds up every debit card payment made to the nearest pound so customers can put money aside – typically into a Savings Pot.”
Ask for help, speak to your bank
“Most importantly, don’t suffer in silence. Talk to your bank. If you’re not sure where to start and need a hand with managing debt, your bank can help provide the right solutions for your needs.”
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