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Counting the Cost of Christmas

It’s never too early to save for Christmas, or any special occasion according to Ann Francis of Cambrian Credit Union. 

If you are now counting the cost of Christmas 2017, you are not alone.

According to debt advice charity National Debtline, 7.9 million people in Britain said they would fall behind on their finances due to overspending for the festive season.

As a credit union, our aim is to help people save money, ether by putting some aside or avoiding high interest loans. With that in mind, you can imagine how delighted we were that savers withdrew the highest ever amount – £600,000 – in the run up to Christmas 2017.

When money is tight, saving can seem difficult but putting regular amounts away, however small, is one of the smartest financial decisions you can make.

Just £10 a week could build up a nest egg of £500 in less than a year.

If that sounds like a tall order, here are a few thrifty changes that could help you save that tenner without affecting your lifestyle:

  • Review your utilities: Go to a comparison website on a regular basis to check the best deals for electricity and gas. It’s easy to overspend and monthly payments can creep up without us noticing. Energy regulator Ofgem recently estimated that a staggering three out of five households are paying an average £300 more than they need to for their electricity and gas.
  • Telephone: Again, check out the comparison websites because there could be a far better deal for your mobile, broadband and landline. According to uSwitch, the average household can save £69 on their broadband bills by changing provider when their contract ends. Mobile phone deals usually end after 12 or 24 months, so if you are happy with your handset, resist the urge to upgrade and opt for a SIM only deal and you could save tens of pounds every month.
  • Insurance: Never auto-renew. It’s always worth checking out the alternatives. Interestingly, Compare the Market says that its data shows drivers that three weeks prior to renewal is the optimum time to get the best premium and switching at this point could help drivers save an average of £365.08.
  • Make lunch: A shop bought sandwich meal deal will cost £3 or £4 a day. Make your own and it will save you money and probably taste better too! That’s an easy £10 saving per week.
  • Plan your week’s meals in advance: Shopping only for the ingredients you really need will help you save money and cut down on food waste. The Money Advice Service’s research found 60 per cent of people who take a shopping list with them to the supermarket say it saves them money. So, take a list with you and avoid all those tempting offers!
  • Checkout cashback deals: At Cambrian Credit Union we have launched a new Engage account, which comes with a pre-paid debit card. The Engage card comes with cash-back or discounts on purchases from big name retailers like Argos, Asda and Marks and Spencer. With these schemes, seemingly small amounts do mount up. For example, if you spent the UK household average of £149.53 each week on groceries at Asda, using the Engage card would mount up to cashback of £233.28 a year.

Those are just a few ideas that could help you save far more than £10 a week, but don’t forget that the important part is to put that money into an account. That way you will be ready for Christmas or a rainy day.

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