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Posted on Dec 22, 2015 by Aman
Dec 08, 2014 by Smart Insurance
Whether you are watching your waistline or watching your wallet, one way or another the pounds matter at Christmas. It is incredibly easy to get carried away with festive spirit and spend more than you intended in a well intentioned – but ultimately unhelpful – bid to provide the 'perfect' Christmas for family and friends.
What is more, the spending might not stop at Christmas – if you buy presents on credit and then fail to pay off the balance immediately, there will be interest due as well. Fortunately, there are ways of saving money during the festive season, here are just a few.
Do you need to buy a present?
Before you hand over your cash for a gift, ask yourself a few questions. In particular, ask yourself why you are buying this present and whether it is likely to be truly appreciated by the recipient. Gift buying is a psychologically complex process; some people buy gifts to impress others, some spend to make themselves feel better or because they feel that they ought to. Do any of these apply to you?
If the answer is yes, you might want to consider an alternative approach. For example, if you always exchange presents with work colleagues out of habit, perhaps you could raise the matter for discussion, or suggest that you all do 'secret Santa' with gifts at or under a certain value (such as £5) instead? If you find yourself buying presents for people you are not close to, year after year, perhaps this is the year to announce that you have donated to charity instead.
If you decide to do any of these things it can be a good idea to make the fact known early: that way you can spare other people the cost of mistakenly buying 'duty presents' for you and others, and perhaps encourage them to help a charity or good cause, too.
Look for hidden bargains
If you ever buy from Amazon, look at the 'warehouse deals' link at the bottom of the home page. Amazon often re-sells at a discount items that are fit for purpose but have been, for example, returned and this can be a great way to bag a bargain. You may or may not get the item in original packaging, but if you are gift wrapping anyway, does that really matter?
Similarly, eBay can provide surprise benefits. Some bulky items, or items that are very expensive to post such as electronics, can be sold as 'collection only'. These items tend to go particularly cheaply, because their target audience is so much smaller than the norm.
Use cashback credit cards
If you can commit to paying off your balance in full every month (thereby avoiding interest payments), cashback credit cards can help to pay off a very considerable proportion of your Christmas bills. Most will give you around 5% of your balance, which over the course of the year can add up to hundreds of pounds.