How To Save For Christmas Over The Next 100 Days

From making a budget to switching current accounts, here's how to get ahead of festive finance stress.

You may have been wearing your summer sandals this weekend, but it’s now just 100 days until Christmas – and time to start planning for the big day.

Yes, it might feel too soon, but getting ahead with your finances can save one hell of a headache as December approaches. To help, the folks at Money Super Market have provided some handy tips, starting with five golden rules:

  1. Set yourself a budget - See what you can afford in the lead up to Christmas without going into debt. It’s always sensible to have a budget in mind.

  2. Max the cash by switching current accounts - If you haven’t changed current accounts in a while, there are a host of deals available.

  3. Keep an eye out on Black Friday – You’re not guaranteed to get a bargain, but past Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have been good, especially for big ticket items. It could be a quick way to make some serious savings on Christmas gifts you were planning to purchase anyway.

  4. Borrow responsibly - If you’re planning to borrow, ensure you do it in the cheapest way possible. Whether that’s looking at a 0% interest purchase credit card, or a current account with an interest free overdraft, it pays to research several products before making a decision.

  5. Make a payment plan - Take control of your finances and pay at least the minimum repayment on any credit card bill each month. Not only are you avoiding hefty interest fees, you’ll also reduce your debt at a regular pace and keep any introductory 0% offer periods.

If you’re considering applying for a credit card to help cover the costs, it’s worth doing so sooner rather than later as some cards can take up to six weeks to arrive. Here are some credit card options selected by the experts to help you get started:

  • Spread the cost and pay no interest. Find a card that offers 0% interest on the purchases you make in the first few months. This can be useful for those who start their Christmas shopping early.

  • Earn reward points on your supermarket spending. Some cards, like Sainsbury’s Bank, allow you to earn extra points in your first two months when shopping at the supermarket with your credit card and 0% interest on balance transfers. Find out what’s available at your supermarket.

  • Earn cashback on your Christmas shopping. Some credit cards offer up to 5% cashback on spending in the first three months, up to £100, making it ideal for the run-up to Christmas.

“When it comes to your finances over the festive period, it pays to plan ahead and work out what you can realistically afford without having to borrow,” says Emma Craig, spokesperson at Money Super Market.

“If you do need to borrow, make sure you’re doing it in the most cost-efficient way and plan from the outset how you’re going to repay your debt, rather than waiting until the New Year and letting panic set in.”

If you currently have debt on a credit card that charges interest, she says you could consider transferring the balance to a 0% deal.

“You’ll probably have to pay a one-off fee, but it provides respite from interest. Just be sure to make at least the minimum repayment each month, otherwise you risk losing the 0% deal. As long as you pay off the balance before the 0% interest ends, it could be a good option to help spread out the cost of Christmas.”