If you want to be ready for Christmas, the best time to start planning is right now, a financial expert has revealed.
Speaking on Lorraine, Financial Times’ consumer editor Claer Barrett revealed why – with 103 days left until the festive day – it’s good to get your ducks in a row now.
‘Like everything in life, if you plan ahead, you can save,’ she told the programme. ‘We’re all being squeezed in different ways.
‘We may not admit it openly in conversation but I think the key thing is we’re honest about what we can afford this Christmas and we agree the rules of Christmas with friends and family.’
She laid out her top tips for making the most of Yuletide prep ahead of time, including frank and open conversations with loved ones and saving-savvy supermarket tips.
Speaking on Lorraine, Financial Times’ consumer editor Claer Barrett (pictured) revealed why – with 103 days left until the festive day – it’s good to get your ducks in a row now
1. HAVE THE MONEY CONVERSATION SOONER THAN LATER
Claer explained that laying out the plans for big and small costs ahead of the holidays is the key to knowing where you’ll splurge and where you’ll tighten the purse-strings.
‘Where are we gonna go, whether we’re gonna get presents for everyone, concentrate the money on the children…agree those rules early,’ she said.
‘Because this is the time of year everyone starts saying, “Well where are we gonna be?”
‘So make the finances part of that conversation.’
She added that you may be surprised by how comfortable it will be to chat about where you can limit unnecessary spending.
‘Your friends and relatives are struggling too and they’ll be relieved that you’ve brought it up,’ Claer explained.
If you want to be ready for Christmas , the best time to start planning is right now, a financial expert has revealed
2. START SAVING NOW – A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY
Claer said that, with 14 weeks left to go, there’s plenty of time to make small but impactful savings.
‘Look at it in terms of £10 a week,’ she explained. ‘If one person did that until Christmas, they’d have £140 but if you and your partner committed to save just £10 a week you’d have nearly £300 so that’s more than half of the cost.’
She added you could even put that into a separate savings account, to get interest on it.
Meanwhile she also stressed the importance of thinking about the value of your money when budgeting for the Christmas spread.
‘The average UK household spent around £600 on Christmas last year,’ she said.
‘Now, inflation’s been running close to 10 per cent for most of this year, higher on food, so obviously this year is gonna be a bigger spend for many people – or you spend the same amount and you get less for your money.
Because of that, when you lay your plan out, think about ‘what areas could you potentially trim’.
3. GET YOUR STAMPS EARLY
If you’re a fan of hand-written cards, you better stack up on your stamps, Claer advised – as first-class ones are about to become more expensive.
‘The price of first class stamps is gonna go up again on October 2 by 14 per cent, £1.25,’ she said.
‘If you buy them before that date you ca still use them… second class stamps will stay the same 75p.’
4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO REGIFT
Claer revealed that as she prepares to gift loved ones for the festive seasons, she has a little ‘Christmas box’ where she may pop in odd small items.
But she also said there is no shame in regifting, if the item is still in its packaging and if you think it’s the perfect pick.
‘I think its completely fine,’ she added. ‘I do it, don’t be ashamed.’