It’s Not Too Late to Save Money in Time for the Holidays

Fourth quarter marks the end of the year, but it also brings the brisk consumer spending season spanning October through December. Among the extraordinary costs incurred during this period, holiday spending leads the way, prompting many UK consumers to drain their banks accounts and then reach for plastic, to carry them through the holiday season.

Holiday spending captures a wide range of expenses, from food and entertainment, to travel and presents for friends and family members. With so many demands pulling at fourth-quarter budgets, navigating the holiday spending landscape is challenging for cash-strapped British families – particularly those without substantial savings in reserve.

The bad news for individuals unprepared for the holiday rush is that Christmas is less than three months away. The good news, on the other hand, is that you still have three months to save money in time for Christmas.

You Still Have Time to Save

Spending discipline is a pledge shared by many merrymakers as the days wind down, approaching the holiday season. Good intentions aside, many of these well-meaning consumers fail to follow through with measured spending, instead getting caught up in the spirit of the season and spending beyond their means. If this sounds like your traditional approach, you may be able to turn things around this year, by using the home stretch to set aside money for the festive season.

One simple savings plan can help you put by £600 between now and Christmas. If you start saving on the first of October, it leaves 12 months for you to accumulate holiday reserves. To reach the £600 benchmark, start each week by transferring £50 to your savings account. If finding £50 per week sounds like a lot to ask, consider money-saving hacks to free-up money for your holiday pot. Is it possible to pack a weekday lunch to save on the cost of workday lunches out, during the week? Are further savings available by skipping your café coffee in the morning?

If you can’t consistently reach for the £50 figure, which works out to £10 per weekday, aim for a lesser amount. Saving just £4.30 every weekday or £30 a week until Christmas will yield £360 by the special day. Short-term loans are available online to make up shortfalls, when holiday spending exceeds your available savings. Even with a history of bad credit, you may qualify for quick cash to hold you until your next payday.

Get an Early Start Next Year

Scrambling to amass holiday money near the end of this year may inspire you to get an earlier start next year, putting by savings for the holiday season. If you’re committed to building a better holiday pot in years to come, reserving a paltry ten pounds per week, beginning in January, yields more than £500 savings by the end of December. Doubling your contribution to twenty pounds per week will leave you with just over £1,000 to spend on presents and holiday entertainment.

For the best results meeting your Christmas savings goals, consider taking these measures to prepare for holiday spending pressure.

  • Open a dedicated Account for Your Holiday Pot – If you’re tempted to tap your holiday fund before its time, a dedicated savings account can help you keep your hands off the cash until the start of the Christmas season.
  • Set Spending Limits – Without a figure in mind, holiday spending can quickly rise beyond affordable levels. Before you start shopping for the season, establish a spending ceiling encompassing presents, travel, entertainment, and other holiday expenses.
  • Plan for the Holidays – Approaching the holiday season without a plan risks overspending on food, fun, and presents for loved ones. To keep your holiday finances in order, spend time working out creative gift ideas, and then budget for the expense.

Fourth-quarter spending leads the way for UK consumers, comprising the lion’s share of their annual budgets. With the prime shopping season just around the corner, many consumers will be caught off-guard by the season’s financial demands. If you’re among those without adequate holiday reserves, you still have time to build a Christmas pot before the big day.

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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