Get Your Christmas Spending Organised

Get Your Christmas Spending Organised

There’s a few reasons why we call them the January blues. One major contributor to New Year gloom and doom is money. Many of us who get paid before the Christmas break then don’t get paid again until the end of January, meaning 6-weeks to stretch a pay-check. Add to that the increased expenditure before and during the holidays, and it’s easy to understand why so many have money trouble after the festivities.

Christmas Clubs

These are essentially saving schemes throughout the year where savers deposit amounts each month that they cannot withdraw until November or December. Typically the rewards are not your cash back though, rather you receive vouchers or a mail order catalogue from which you order your goods – this is essentially how the Club makes it’s money by taking a small percentage of the total savings.

They are advantageous for those that have difficulty or cannot open a bank account, such as making a minimum deposit or having their salary paid into that account. They also work for people who just find it hard to save, as the limited access prevents them from withdrawing early. On the downside, choice is restricted as to the range of gifts and of course no interest can be accrued, as opposed to a savings account at the bank.

Like banks though, there are payment protection schemes available and industry standards must be adhered to, so it’s worth checking if the club you want to join is fully accredited.

Overall, if you are able to open a bank or savings account then this is the best way as the bank will in effect pay you for your savings rather than the other way around. Additionally the freedom of then spending your money as you want is a clear benefit, but if you feel you really can’t resist the temptation and are happy with the products on offer within a club, then this might be the best route forward for you.

Cash Back Sites

If you know exactly what you want to buy and aren’t too fussy about where to get it, it might be worth checking a cash-back site to see if you can purchase via this method. Essentially a cash-back site gets paid by the retailer to refer sales to them from consumers like you. This fee is then split between you and the cash-back site, meaning that any discount achieved is then yours to put back in your account. Most payout directly to bank accounts, PayPal or have voucher schemes. Most schemes are free but some offer a premium service for around £5 per year. You can accumulate some good savings here but to do so you’ll need to be buying quite a few presents, so great for big families but less so for couples (depending on what it is you are buying!) We’d advise though that you always withdraw your money as soon as possible as there are currently no regulations to protect your payments should the company go under.

Gift Cards

You’ll remember issues with gift cards when Comet went out of business recently. There is no legal requirement to honour a gift card should the company go into liquidation, and it is actually up to the policies of the administration company as to whether they honour these or not. Sometimes it’s worth researching if the company is in good financial health, this can easily be done through a search engine. Overall though, there are rarely any particular benefits to a branded gift card other than the giver being sure that the receiver is going to spend it in the correct place, so really a cash or cheque works just as well in terms of empowering the receiver to spend as they wish.

Vouchers and discounts

There’s plenty of codes and deals available (least not here on CallmeSavvy!) but the best places are generally moneysupermarket or moneysavingexpert. There’s often a wide range of products subject to discounts and some even offer free postage & packaging so it’s worth shopping around.

Protect Yourself With Credit

It’s worth remembering that all purchases between £100 to £30,000 are protected as soon as they are purchased on a credit card – whether the company goes under or the goods are faulty, the credit card company is obliged to pay out should the retailer not be able to. So long as you can pay the balance off quickly then we’d recommend purchasing all Christmas goods on a credit card. Some credit card companies also offer purchase protection for upto 90 days where they’ll offer a full refund if an item is lost or stolen. Keep all your receipts save and sound just in case.

Move Your Credit Around

Remember to take advantage of new offers with alternative credit card providers. Many offer 0% interest and sometimes 0% on balance transfers to get your business, but even when they don’t, the transfer fee can be as little as 3% so it’s worth shopping around.

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