‘Great way to save money’ – How to make your retirement savings go further this Christmas

World News

Martin Lewis gives advice on Tesco's Christmas Saver scheme

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With just over two months to go until the big day, the time has come for millions of Britons to start thinking about how much they will spend at Christmas time. It can be an extremely expensive proposition, but by taking the right steps to plan for Christmas, people can reduce the cost and avoid any financial worries during what should be a joyous period. For those in or nearing retirement, making money go further can be very important indeed.

Research from Finder has suggested that people born between 1946-64 spent £440 on Christmas presents in 2020 and people born between 1928-45 spent £475. This is no small amount, and many people will need to figure out how they will fit this extra expenditure into their budget.

Mark Evans, Director and Independent Financial Advisor at Prosperity Wealth offered his advice for older people looking to plan for the potentially costly Christmas period.

He said: “Try to treat Christmas as you would a holiday, save or pay for it in advance rather than thinking that you can just pay for it out of your normal income during December.”

Here are Mr Evans’ five top tips to help control the costs of Christmas.

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Make a budget and keep to it

“One of the biggest issues people get in to at Christmas is spending excessive amounts on credit cards. Purchasing on your credit card does provide you with additional protection but spending more than you intended is only going to leave you with a sinking feeling once the bill comes through in January. Many people spend months repaying their Christmas spending.

“Talk to the people you are exchanging gifts with and agree a maximum spend. This will take away the feeling that nagging doubt that the other person will have bought a more expensive gift and will also make budgeting far easier.

“If you are hosting dinner, then consider asking your guests to bring parts of the meal with them. People are usually very happy to split the cost, effort and pressure involved in hosting Christmas Lunch. This will help you to stick to your budget.”

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Tell your family your budget

“It’s easy to get carried away at Christmas and spend more on people than you intended to. You may also feel obliged to buy for lots of people.

“Be open about your financial planning, so there are no awkward moments on the big day. It’s important to have a Christmas that you can afford. I doubt any of us look back at the most expensive Christmases we have had and think of them as being by far our most enjoyable.

“Spend within your means and enjoy a relaxing time over Christmas.”

Identify priority spending

“Work backwards to create your budget. Make a list of all the people you are going to buy a present for and then put a planned spend against each person. You should then have a total spend on presents.

“When you’re shopping, make sure you don’t exceed the budget you gave yourself for each person, if you happen to spend less than expected then you can either pass this on to another person or reduce your overall spend.

“I’d also suggest shopping online. If you buy the item online, then you are less likely to add a couple of things at the till or on your way around that catch your eye and stealthily increase your spend.”

Buy family gifts

“I’ve always enjoyed board games at Christmas and receiving a board game to play over the festive period has always been a great present idea for me. This could be a way of buying something for a group of people rather than buying one present each, these really do add up.

“Perhaps paying someone a visit or making them something could be a cheaper and more personal alternative to trying to find a ‘small’ gift. Spending £10 or £20 on lots of people can soon add up!

“Could you arrange a Secret Santa? I’ve found this a fun and less expensive way of buying presents at Christmas between my own family. It also takes some of the time pressure away as you only have to buy for one person rather than multiple.”

Consider homemade gifts

“Make your gifts by knitting new winter warmers or and new clothing garments for your family. This is a great way to save money and give an exceptionally personalised gift to your loved ones at Christmas. You could also use your extra retirement time to bake and make goodies for the family as an extra scrumptious Christmas gift.”

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