Money Insider: Spread your spending or cut costs for a happy Christmas spending?

 

With a little over six and a half weeks until Christmas, if you're thinking of taking out a new credit card to ease the festive financial burden, you need to get your skates on.

I'm not advocating that you should go on a shopping binge and then worry about paying for it later, but if funds are tight this year it makes sense to find a cost-effective way to spread the pain over two to three months.

If your credit rating is in good shape then you may want to think about using a new credit card offering interest-free credit on purchases to help you manage the Christmas expenses.

If this is something you think will work for you then you need to get your card application completed in the next few days as it will be between 10 to 14 days before your account is opened and the plastic is in your hands ready to use.

The question is which credit card to sign up for? There are dozens of cards offering interest-free purchases, some, in the case of Halifax, for as long as 17 months.

The last thing you want to be doing is still paying off your Christmas borrowing come summer 2014, but choosing a card that gives you something back for your short-term spending may be worth a look.

The Tesco Clubcard offers 16 months at 0 per cent on purchases and Sainsbury's Bank offers the same for 15 months, but both also offer reward points, so are well worth considering if you do your weekly food shop in one of these supermarkets.

Other cards offering interest-free purchases and rewards are M&S Bank (15 months), John Lewis Partnership Card (six months) and Santander 123 (three months) although the latter does come with a £24 annual fee.

If the thought of spreading the cost of Christmas doesn't appeal to you, it may be worth looking at ideas to try to keep your costs down this year.

One tried and tested money-saving tip is to try to cut back on your food shopping during the first couple of weeks in December by using up what you already have and only buying the absolute essentials.

Sort through your kitchen cupboards and your freezer and make use of some of what you already have; I'm sure you'll find more than a couple of meals already there. Many of us have food buried at the bottom of the freezer that we've long since forgotten about, so now is an ideal time to use it up.

Another way to reduce costs is to agree with friends and relatives that you're going to cut down on presents this year – either by imposing a limit on the amount you'll spend or perhaps agreeing to only buy for the children.

Alternatively, rather than spending money on presents, you could design and send your own vouchers, where you offer to give up your time to baby sit, provide a taxi service, clean the car or even walk the dog. It will cost you nothing but your time and a little creativeness.

If you can't afford it, don't buy on the basis that you don't want to lose face or are trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Christmas is not about expensive presents. It's a rare opportunity to relax and spend some quality time with your friends and family.

So enjoy yourself but don't get into long-term debt – it's really not worth it.

Andrew Hagger is an independent personal finance analyst from www.moneycomms.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

    £16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

    SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

    Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

    £14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea