Martin Lewis advises pensioner on savings accounts
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Yorkshire Building Society has launched a Christmas regular saver account to help people build financial resilience, save for their Christmas spending next year and earn a “competitive return” on their short-term savings. This “Christmas Regular Saver” account has a variable interest rate of one percent and allows customers to deposit between £1 and £300 per month whilst allowing access to their savings on one day in the year without penalty, or to close the account if required.
An Expensive Christmas
The account itself can be opened in branches, agencies and online. Yorkshire Building Society launched the deal to help struggling savers as newly released figures from the firm highlighted the “fragility” millions of people face as the winter approaches.
According to new research from Yorkshire Building Society, over a quarter (29 percent ) of UK adults are planning on going into debt to fund Christmas expenditure this year. The same data showed almost a fifth (18 percent ) of UK adults would rely on a credit card for their festive purchases, with one in 10 relying on other forms of borrowing.
This could add hundreds of extra pounds to a person’s debt obligations, as the research highlighted the average Briton spent £495 last year on decorations, food and gifts.
Fortunately, Yorkshire Building Society’s new account “encourages savers to cover the cost of Christmas and encourages a longer-term healthy savings habit.”
The company explained that by saving as little as £10 per week over the coming year, the cost of Christmas could be covered without the need to rely on any borrowing facility.
“The cost of Christmas is growing”
Tina Huges, director of savings at Yorkshire Building Society, commented: “The cost of Christmas, for many, is growing each year. Our new Christmas regular saver encourages people to save money and help to spread the cost to avoid unnecessary expense or worse, debt. For those that don’t save money regularly, using the regular saver will give shoppers a healthy sum to draw on for Christmas next year without having to rely on credit. With an average spend of almost £500 last year, saving as little as £10 a week will easily cover the cost next year. It will also show that saving regularly is achievable and if the habit is maintained after Christmas, it will help start to build up a healthy savings pot.
“We don’t want to tell people how to spend their hard-earned money but covering the cost of Christmas, for many, can be quite daunting and stressful. Regular savings accounts are one way we can encourage our members to establish healthy savings habits. It’s also no secret that savers are having a tough time at the moment with unfavourable market conditions, so we’re really proud that this new account, while promoting saving little and often also offers a competitive return.”
Additionally, “festive shoppers” are also being encouraged to get organised this year and shop early, while making sure they “make a list and check it twice” before hitting the high street.
Yorkshire Building Society explained November is the most popular month for starting shopping sprees, with over a third (35 percent ) stating they start on their lists in that month. With this in mind, the Christmas regular saver matures on the anniversary of the account opening giving access to the funds in time for popular shopping events like the Black Friday sales, which 30 percent of Britons admit they used in 2020 to pick up a bargain to begin their Christmas shopping.
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How to avoid getting into debt over Christmas
www.onlinemoneyadvisor.co.uk noted it was “almost guaranteed” that savers will end up in debt over Christmas. It warned between presents, decorations, food and parties, it is highly likely consumers will spend “a pretty penny” just to keep up.
Fortunately, www.onlinemoneyadvisor.co.uk provided the following tips on how people can avoid this fate:
- Get creative with decorations: Although it can be tempting to buy new decorations each year to fit with different themes and colour schemes, it can really start to add up and you’ll end up not making use of the decorations you spent money on the year before. Re-use decorations from previous years, and if you have kids, get them involved with making decorations (just go easy on the glitter).
- Start your shopping early: Whether it’s buying gifts or filling your cupboards with all the seasonal snacks (is it even Christmas if you don’t go through an obscene amount of Quality Streets?) it’s always best to start early so you can spread the cost. This way, you won’t get to December and have to panic buy everything and be left with an empty bank account. Just make sure that you don’t delve into your seasonal snacks too early, otherwise you’ll have to buy them again.
- Make party contributions: Christmas parties are always so much fun, but can definitely become expensive, especially if you throw more than one. Asking people to bring a bottle or to bring a plate are great ways to get the expenses down and you’ll be sure that there is enough food and drink for everyone to go round.
- Get involved with Secret Santa: While we all dread Secret Santa in the workplace as there is the chance of having to buy for someone we don’t really know anything about, doing it within a friendship group is a great option if you’re wanting to save a bit of money. You’ll only have to buy one gift and it’s likely that your friends will be more than happy to save a bit of money too.
- Make the most of discounts: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching and are fantastic opportunities to get presents on a budget. Countless brands cut their prices by huge amounts, so there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to bag yourself a bargain.
- Avoid trying to plan the ‘perfect’ Christmas: Christmas last year was an incredibly difficult time with lots of us being isolated from our loved ones due to lockdown restrictions, so it can be incredibly tempting to try and make this Christmas as perfect as possible. However, it will only lead you to overspending and experiencing a financial hangover well into the new year. First establish what you can afford, and then create your Christmas around your set budget. You’ll soon realise that it’s not about the things you have, but more about who you spend Christmas with.
Yesterday, inflation figures were released which showed the CPI had dropped slightly from 3.2 to 3.1 percent. Analysis from Hargreaves Lansdown warned this was “just a blip” and rising costs are on their way.
Supply chain issues, an ongoing energy crisis and coronavirus uncertainty continue to plague the economy and unfortunately, the Bank of England has predicted inflation will rise to over four percent by the end of the year.
Food prices are also starting to rise and Sarah Coles, a personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, noted while so far the changes have not been dramatic, further increases are likely.
Ms Coles warned the Bank of England may be forced to take action to address inflation before Christmas arrives.
In recent months, the Bank of England has hinted it may increase interest rates to counter rising inflation.
Currently, the base rate is set at 0.1 percent. The next decision on the rate will occur on November 4, 2021.
While raised rates would likely benefit savings accounts, it could pose issues for other areas of personal finance.
Mortgage and debt servicing costs could rise further if rates are increased, placing even more pressure on the upcoming Christmas period.
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