With the shops rammed with fabulous festive gift ideas, glitz and glamour, it’s wildly tempting to spend, spend, spend.
But while it’s an amazing feeling to treat yourself and your loved ones, remember those credit card bills will be hitting the doormat in January.
And it’s not just a smart move to keep a close watch on your Christmas shopping. It also makes sense to get on top of your finances now, so that you don’t start the New Year with a financial hangover.
In fact, despite all the temptations at this time of year, it’s easier than you think to start stashing the cash, so that you’re saving up for something that’s really important to you.
“Saving money doesn’t mean giving up everything you enjoy doing,” explains Karen Barrett, Founder and Chief Executive of Unbiased, an online platform which connects people with trusted, independent financial advice.
The mother-of-three, who’s on a mission to persuade more women to start actively managing their own finances, adds: “First things first, you need to get an accurate picture of your finances.
“Knowing exactly how much spending money you have each month is crucial to seeing how much it is feasible for you to save.”
Karen’s top tips for saving money:
- Look for quick wins including cancelling unused or unnecessary direct debits or subscriptions like gym memberships – lots of them renew automatically without your input.
- Next, check if you may be entitled to tax reliefs or benefits that you’re not using. There are many obscure tax reliefs available out there, including the marriage allowance, tax-free childcare, rent-a-room relief and many others. You may be able to reduce your annual income tax bill and save yourself a good chunk of change.
- If you have a few different pools of debt, combining them all may make your life easier and help you pay less in interest.
- There are two main ways to do this. Firstly, you can take out a new loan and use it to pay off your existing debts. You will now only have one payment (and interest) to worry about.
- Alternatively, look at 0% transfer credit deals. This means that you won’t be charged any interest on transferred debts for a set period. This can be a great way to start hammering away at any debts you are trying to get rid of.
There are also a number of other quick wins to consider, in terms of cutting back on luxuries and being more economical.
Karen points out: “Once you know how much you can save each month, set up an automatic transfer from your current account to your saving account every month so that it happens without you needing to do anything.
“Then you just get on with your life in the knowledge that your savings are growing month by month.”