If you aren’t one of those annoyingly smug people who had all their Christmas shopping sorted back in October, December could be looking like it’s going to be an expensive month for you.
But if the thought of buying decorations and hundreds of presents as well as stocking up the fridge and drinks cabinet on just one pay packet is giving you palpitations then fear not because Mr Lender is here with a few tips to help you prepare!
First off, take a look at our tips on how to make some extra money from home here, and then work your way though the following tips to see what you can do to make it through December without going into the red:
Streamline your direct debits
Take a look through your recent bank statements and ask yourself what you really need, and figure out if you’re forking out monthly for anything you could actually do without. Is the monthly subscription to the magazine you hardly ever get time to read worth it, or would you be better off paying issue by issue when you know you’ll have time to enjoy it? When was the last time you set foot in the gym (no fibs!)? Are you still paying insurance on the TV you sold on last year? And do you need mobile phone insurance or is your handset covered by your home insurance? It may sound silly but it’s easily done so get scouring now.
Be ‘des’ for the night
We all know how much fun office Christmas parties can be, but what about the sore head and ‘beer fear’ the following morning – especially when you can remember chatting away enthusiastically to the MD but you have no idea what you actually said?! Why not curry favour with your workmates by putting yourself forward to be the designated driver for the night? That way you can have fun watching them showing themselves up in front of the bosses and avoid the hangover. Not to mention the amount of cash you’ll save on taxis – and paracetamol!
Check your utility bills
If you’re in credit then give the provider a call and tell them you want to reduce your monthly payments. There doesn’t seem much point topping up your account further when you’re already in the black. While you’re on the phone to them, mention you’re considering switching suppliers and see if they have any better deals to offer you – just don’t end up signing up to something more expensive!
Ditch the takeaway coffee
It may seem like a necessity as you’re dragging yourself into work in the morning and the aroma of fresh coffee wafts into the street and up your nose. But just think about how the small change you’re using on those drinks is building up – and remember you have a kettle at home and most probably at work too!
John Randle says:
“I was stopping at a cafe on the way to the station every morning and buying a coffee for £2. I’d get one with my lunch every day too. I wasn’t thinking anything of it at the time but then my wife pointed out that was setting me back £20 a week! I bought a travel mug on www.Amazon.co.uk for a few quid and now I fill that up at home before I leave in the morning and it gets me through the journey. Then I make use of the free tea and coffee supplied at work. That extra cash will come in very handy when I’m buying Christmas presents this year.”
Search for vouchers
If you have present ideas in mind and know which shops you’ll be visiting for your Christmas haul then do a quick Google search for the name of the shop and the word ‘voucher’. You could easily shave some money off your total bill. Likewise, if you’re stocking up on food and drink for the holidays then do a bit of shopping around to see which supermarkets have the best deals on.
Check your mobile phone contract
A lot of people pay out for the wrong kind of contract, so make sure you’re on a tariff that works for you. You could be paying for far more data than you ever use in a month – or getting stung for top-ups every month as you go over your limit.
Add up how many minutes you’re using and how much data you’re getting through and see if there’s a deal that suits you better. Also double check where you are in your contract and make sure you’re not still paying for a handset you’ve long since paid off.