A Sheffield financial adviser is warning people not to get carried away with the festive spirit, as a survey out today shows the average spends more than £500.
Jillian Thomas has written her own Christmas list of tips to avoid a New Year hang-over. Among the ten tips are making sure you plan your present buying, rather than acting on impulse.
Jillian, who is managing director of Renishaw-based Future Life Wealth Management, said: “It is so easy to get carried away when rushing around the stores, or clicking on line, to buy on impulse and spend more than you planned to. The best thing is to work out how much you are going to spend on each person and stick to it.”
Among Jillian’s other tips are: if you can, pay for presents outright, rather than borrowing; suggest a spending limit on presents with friends and family; shop around and buy on the internet if it is cheaper, and consider making presents or offering your time instead.
“You need to remember that you still have to pay the everyday bills in December and in January, when the credit card bills start coming through. So it’s important not to give yourself a huge hang-over in the New Year with lots of debt,” she said.
And Jillian is very organised herself when it comes to shopping – having completed all hers by August.
She said: “I do my Christmas shopping throughout the year, mainly in the sales, to spread the cost rather than compound it all just before the festive period. This leaves me a bit of money for the January sales to invest in another pair of shoes!”
A BBC survey revealed that the average person plans to spend £508.82 on presents, food and drink, with 25 per cent saying they will spend up to £1,000. More than half (52 per cent) of people in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire said they were concerned about the cost of Christmas, with 13 per cent saying they may have to borrow to cover the costs.
Jillian’s top ten tips for a hang-over free Christmas are:
1) Have a clear out and raise some cash, if you haven’t already, by selling last year’s unwanted gifts. It’s estimated that the average person receives two presents they don’t want on Christmas Day.
2) Cut postage costs by hand delivering cards and parcels or sending early and using second class. Or even ditch the Christmas cards altogether and send greetings by email or via social media. There’s no law that says you have to send cards.
3) Set a realistic budget, decide how much you are going to spend on each person, make a list – and stick to it!
4) Avoid buying on impulse. Shops are very good at targeting impulse buys especially in the run up to Christmas. All those displays of little trinkets and amusing books about cats by the till for example.
5) Try and avoid using the credit card or borrowing to buy presents. If you have to, make sure you have looked at the best way to borrow. Remember it will have to be paid back as soon as the festivities are over.
6) Suggest a spending limit with family and friends, or try a “Secret Santa” scheme, where you each buy for just one other person, or even go for a “children-only” rule.
7) Make presents, rather than buying them. Or if you are not very creative, what about offering to cook a meal or walk the dog?
8) Shop around and see if you can find the presents cheaper on the internet and switch food buying to a cheaper supermarket.
9) Don’t buy too much food! It is easy to get carried away and buy far too much and then end up throwing most of it away.
10) Start planning for Christmas 2015 in the New Year by picking up bargains and spread the cost throughout the year.