We all know that Christmas should be about goodwill and thinking of others and spending time in the bosom of family and friends. But come on, if we’re being really honest about it, it’s all about the presents, food and how much chocolate you can eat before your tummy starts to hurt.
And in the UK, we’re really good at understanding the importance of Christmas, because we’re the most generous when it comes to buying those all-important presents. We spend an average of £217 on gifts, compared to the Italians who spend the least at £142.
Last year in total, us Brits spent an average of £800 on Christmas – which is a lot for what’s in essence, one day out of 365. But whether you’re splashing the cash on presents, all you can eat, or stocking up on enough chocolate and ear plugs to counteract the inevitable family rows, then saving up can be a chore.
But being money savvy over Christmas doesn’t mean being Scrooge, it just means you know how to make your money work. The key is to plan ahead, whether it’s looking at savings accounts, ISAs or just making sure you’re getting the best possible interest rates on your current account. And if you budget well, you can make sure everyone gets all they want for Christmas (which means a happy, quiet household – surely if money can buy that, it’s worth it?)
If you aren’t a planner and definitely not a saver, then credit cards used sensibly can give you a cash injection that could save the day. Choose your card wisely – if you’ve already got credit card debt then look at transferring what you’ve got onto one with a lower interest rate to help save money; there are lots which offer free balance transfers. And if you plan to buy even more stuff then look for those that also give you 0% on new purchases, or maybe you would prefer one that gives you rewards so you can treat yourself as you treat others (which is what Christmas is all about, right?)
If you do opt for some shiny, new plastic then always make sure you make at least the minimum payment on time each month – otherwise you’ll still be paying for this Christmas when the next one rolls around.
So when December 25th comes around here’s ho-ho-hoping that all you have to worry about, is making sure the elastic on your trousers is stretchy enough to accommodate all that turkey, stuffing and figgy pudding.