Holiday Season Savings for Cash Conscious Families

The most festive season of the year is on the horizon, and with it comes a storm of holiday shopping and entertaining. For those with deep pockets, the season is a time to spoil friends and family, bestowing presets and good times. But for others, facing challenges, the prospect of holiday travel and entertaining can be an intimidating financial hurdle. Not to mention finding funds for Christmas and Boxing Day presents, which add another layer to seasonal spending pressure.

Whether you plan to celebrate quietly at home or pull out all the stops for joyous gatherings and seasonal travel, keeping a close watch on Christmas outgoings can help keep you from going overboard with holiday spending. With discipline and a little luck, you’ll make it through the end of the year without piling-up an insurmountable tab to face in January. Use these tips to help ease the financial burden during the season, without giving up your festive holiday spirit.

Make the Most of Black Friday or Ignore it Altogether

Many major retailers extend one-off holiday bargains, available only on Black Friday. While it is true, some of these deals are the best you’ll find all year, sellers have motives beyond these Black Friday promotions. Their hope is that you’ll not only embrace the impossibly low pricing on a few select items, but that you’ll also do some more shopping while you’re in the spending spirit. They have a very good reason to approach Black Friday this way: It works.

If you are serious about saving money on holiday gifts, go all-in on Black Friday, grabbing as many of the best one-off deals as possible. Plot your shop ahead of time, so you don’t miss the most dramatic promotions. Fully committing and putting in the time on Black Friday is bound to yield substantial savings as well as providing a head start for your holiday season shopping.

If you are not ready to jump in with both feet, you might be better off ignoring the Black Friday retail circus. The lure of savings may be what draws you, but it is too easy to fall into the trap set by retailers, resulting in unwise spending on items outside the small set of deeply discounted promotions.

Do Your Homework

Knowledge is power that you can use to save money – particularly during the robust holiday spending season. Whether you are weighing the costs of various bad credit loans, or looking for the best prices on Christmas list items, spending some time on research is well worth the effort. Landing the best terms on financing saves money every month, as you repay loans and other outstanding debts. The difference between credit card interest rates, for example, and those available on loans is substantial, regardless of your credit history. Consolidating or doing a balance transfer doesn’t always make sense, but crunching the numbers can yield surprising results – and savings.

Online research can help you find vendors offering the lowest prices on holiday presents. And with free delivery, it makes sense to buy goods online, saving you time and travel, when compared to an in-person shop. For the best results, avoid waiting until the last minute. The best prices of the year may be offered months before the holidays, so if you’re sure about your holiday needs, don’t be afraid to shop early. Not only does it help you cross items of your holiday wish list, but shopping ahead also spreads out the cost of repayment, protecting you from burgeoning balances following the prime spending season.

Book Travel 8-12 Weeks Ahead

With so many spending considerations to manage during the season, booking your holiday travel early eases the burden during crunch time and saves you money over the cost of last minute fares. Train ticket prices and airfares are commonly bumped upward around the holidays, so making a move at least 8 weeks ahead can help you keep more money in the bank – or free funds for related travel expenses. Also don’t forget if your flight is delayed you may be due compensation.

Holiday spending pressure is nothing new, yet many Britons are caught unprepared each year as the season sets in. For help avoiding the worst of it, plan your holiday shop early and arrange travel before the prices are adjusted for the peak travel period. And when Black Friday deals beckon, be sure to make the most of retail promotions, or don’t allow yourself to take the bait.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK's most well-known financial institutions.

An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!

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