Christmas is always an expensive time of year. In the past we may have had parties and evenings out to think about, but this year things are looking a little different. Many of our members have faced some financial uncertainty in 2020 and you may still be unsure of what Christmas is going to look like.
Despite this uncertainty there are still things you can do now to help ensure that the festive period doesn’t lead to financial trouble further down the line.
Our top Christmas budgeting tips to take you right through from now until January!
1. Plan ahead
Starting to think about Christmas as early as possible can help you to avoid costly borrowing from expensive lenders further down the line. Online lenders that can give you loans on the same day often have sky-high rates, and credit offers in store can also cost you far more in the long-run.
2. Make a budget
Read our post here about how to create a monthly budget. Look at where you might be able to cut costs in the lead up to Christmas, and perhaps put some money aside in a savings account.
3. Shop around
Spend some time looking for the best offers.
- Look at cheaper brands selling similar products.
- Before buying something, google the product model name and check if other shops are selling it cheaper or without the delivery fees.
- Seeing if a store will price match another store. Some high-street shops offer this promise – let them know if it’s cheaper elsewhere.
- Check out Money Saving expert’s Shopping tips.
4. Get creative
Think about gifts that might not cost much but could mean the world to someone. We may not be able to meet everyone in person this year, especially if friends and family live abroad. It’s an opportunity to think differently about gifts. What about gifting a friend that cookie recipe they always wanted? Create a video of your favourite pre-lockdown memories. There’s loads of free apps to help you, or if you have an iPhone follow this guide.
5. Buy local
At London Mutual we love being part of the community. Look at what your neighbours are selling on Facebook Marketplace, Shpock or gumtree. And while you’re there, sell some things you don’t need too! Maybe some unwanted gifts from last year?
Do you know where to get the best brownies in Brixton or the best cheese in Camden? Why not put together a hamper of goodies. Packaged up nicely, these treats can make a great gift, and help out local small businesses.
6. Borrow responsibly
We get it, even after following these Christmas budgeting tips, borrowing may be unavoidable. Use your budget to think carefully about how much to borrow. Don’t choose to borrow if you cannot afford the monthly payments and watch out for hidden fees.
All of our loan products have no hidden fees – and we are upfront about the costs. There are options to pay back directly from your salary or child benefit, helping to make that monthly budget easier to manage.
7. Start the new year off right
We hope you have a relaxing and joy filled Christmas!
If your Christmas budgeting didn’t go quite to plan then don’t panic. Ignoring problem debts won’t make them go away. Sit down and look at any debts you might have and check the interest rates. Pay off high-interest borrowing first. You may want to consider a consolidation loan to combine debts, such as multiple credit cards, into to one monthly payment.
With our salary deduction loans and Family Saver loans, as soon as your loan is paid off you can start saving your payments instead… ready for Christmas 2021!