Christmas is great while it lasts…and then reality hits as the bills start rolling in come January. More than a fifth of us that celebrate Christmas in the UK would have spent an average of £640 over the festive period – with most of that on our credit cards. So as the financial hangover makes its appearance, here are some top tips on how to deal with it:
Work out what you owe
We appreciate that totting up how much you’ve spent over Christmas in the cold light of January is pretty depressing, but needs must; so be brave. You can’t start planning to pay it back unless you know what you owe.
Do a balance transfer
If you’ve got a big credit card bill, you could spread the cost by by moving the balance to a 0% interest card. Some balance transfer cards need you to pay a transfer fee, which is usually a percentage of the total debt; whilst others (for a shorter interest free period) won’t charge you anything. There are some good deals around so it’s worth having a look.
Interest free on new purchases credit card
If there’s still more stuff to buy then consider a 0% on new purchases card. So long as you pay off your balance every month, you won’t spend any more than you need to. These cards are handy if you know you need to spend money on necessities like household repairs or if your car’s due a service. You can also get cards with 0% on both balance transfers and new purchases – so consider which is the best option for you.
If you want a little something in return and pay your bill off in full every month, then take a look at what cashback cards have to offer – you might be pleasantly surprised.
Take out a loan
It sounds counter-productive but sometimes taking out a personal loan at a low interest rate is a good move. If you’ve got lots of little debts that have added up to a great big headache, paying them off with money from a loan leaving you with a single loan repayment can streamline your finances. It means that you won’t have to worry about juggling lots of different payment deadlines and it can provide some much-needed breathing space. Check out what’s on offer but make sure that you can repay it – don’t add more debt to your debts.
We’ve all read up on how switching suppliers can save us money, however, a lot of the time we just don’t act on it. But sometimes, January gives us the reason we need to start pro-actively economising. And it’s not all hot air, we found that customers who had never switched energy supplier could save around £200** by doing so and 50% of people who compared the market with us saved an average of £282 on their car insurance – surely that’s worth a click and compare?
Never settle for second best – it’s good advice, especially when it comes to things like your broadband and mobile phone deal – afterall, who wants to pay more than they have to for TV and phone calls? But if you don’t know your fibre optic from your dial-up then find out more and what to consider from our Comparing broadband and phone packages page.
Ok – a bit drastic but if your current deal is about to end, then why not take advantage of current low interest rates – it could be the best move you ever make.
Sell unwanted Christmas presents
It’s not harsh or ungrateful, think of it as extolling the virtues of entrepreneurship. So just because you don’t want that set of soaps, doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it. You’ll usually have to pay a small fee for selling items on auction and marketplace sites but you’ll end up with more money than you started with.
You might huff and puff at that person in the queue who takes ages finding the right coupon in their purse, but they’re having the last laugh with those savings they’re making over you. So, be like them and find the scissors and cut along the dotted line.
Stay on top of debt
It’s all well and good taking out emergency action post-Christmas, but you can avoid getting into debt in the first place by spending wisely. We know that’s easier said than done and being frugal at Christmas is about as much fun as waking up to a lump of coal in your stocking. Which is why we’re all about making savings throughout the year; so, if you only make one resolution this January – make it about saving money with comparethemarket.com