Sunday, October 01, 2006

Plan Now To Save Money And Time This Christmas

Plan Now To Save Money And Time This Christmas by Sue Barnard


It is still only September, but now is the perfect time to make some preparations for Christmas and save your time and money.

Firstly I'll give you some tips on how to save money in a variety of ways and generate some extra spending power for your Christmas treats.

Next I'll give you some time-saving tips to make all that extra spending as convenient as possible and by the end of October you'll be ready and prepared and looking forward to a relaxing Christmas time with your family and friends.

So first to money and how you can boost your budget for Christmas preparations and presents. The best way to save money is to cut back on your spending and the easiest way to do that is to focus on the money you spend on things that you wish you didn't! Things like credit cards bills, insurance, loans, household bills, car expenses etc. All those things that are seen as essentials, but they drain your cash at an alarming rate. What if you were able to cut those expenses by just 10%? I don't doubt that just that small saving will provide a significant increase to your Christmas budget.

Let's look at interest payments - a big drain on your resources if you have some debts. Mortgages and loans are a common feature of many household budgets. When was the last time you looked at your mortgage arrangements? If it was more than two years ago, then now could be an ideal time to review your mortgage deal and look around for a new one if appropriate. You could have a new arrangement in place by the end of October if you start now - and you could be saving a few hundred pounds every month if you on a particularly poor deal at the moment - just think, that could add almost a thousand pounds to your Christmas budget over the next 3 months.

Next, credit cards - if you have any debt at all on your credit cards and are being charged interest, then look around now for an interest-free balance transfer deal. As long as you don't spend any new money on that card, you will cut those interest payments to zero for the next few months - even more cash in your pocket. There is another important side effect of this strategy too - if you need to use your credit card for some Christmas essential spending, then if you have found a deal that offers a zero or low rate on new spending too, you'll be saving even more money.

Insurance next. I've noticed that household insurance has been creeping up in price over the last few years. It was always seen as a low cost item and renewed without much thought, but I'm spending over £700 per year on this expense and I've only ever claimed once in the last 20 years - surely there must be a cheaper way? You'll be pleased to know that there is! The home insurance marketplace is extremely competitive, with all companies trying very hard to attract new customers. Get on the internet and fill out a few quote requests - you may get a pleasant surprise and save yourself another couple of hundred pounds.

Next let's look at time. We've often left our Christmas preparations too late and ended up rushing around the shops at the last minute, struggling through the crowds and finding that all the best items have sold out. Wouldn't it be nice if you had all your plans in place and could spend those final few days enjoying the Christmas atmosphere without the stresses of last-minute shopping spoiling the fun? Well with a little planning now, that could be you. I've just come back from a shopping trip to London and throuroughly enjoyed my day out Christmas shopping in September! I've just taken a half day off work during the week and visited all the big department stores in comfort and peace. Harrods, Hamleys, Harvey Nichols - all in relaxed surroundings and no crowds. I had a reasonable list of people and ideas and went looking for items and more ideas, plis I was intent on enjoying myself. The stores were almost empty, the staff very helpful and the cafés had plenty of space for my frequent breaks. I came back with a bunch of great presents and a heap of further ideas for other presents. I now intend to purchase the remainder of my Christmas list using the internet from the comfort of my own home. I'll save some more money and if I do that now, I won't have to worry about Christmas delivery schedules.

Plan ahead, plan well and plan to have a peaceful and relaxing time this Christmas.

About the Author

Sue Barnard authors consumer information for a variety of money saving and personal finance websites. More of her work can be seen on this personal loans website and this cheap loans website.

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