The Winter’s on Its Way – Are Your Finances Ready?

Changing seasons bring fresh challenges and demands, as Britons put summer in the rear view and embrace the fall and winter to come.

Even with proper focus, planning and preparing for shorter days and colder weather, it’s easy for details to fall through the cracks. Is your car ready for winter motoring demands? Are the kids set with cold weather gear? Will you have time to tend your flower beds and outdoor duties, before winter weather drives you indoors? Anticipating these questions and other seasonal concerns can help you stay on top of demands, before winter worry sets in.

Just as your physical environment changes with the seasons, personal financial affairs also reflect cycles similar to the seasonal shifts offered by Mother Nature. One way to simplify your personal finances is to use a seasonal calendar to manage your money. In the same way you prepare for changing weather, there are things you can do to get your finances in shape, during seasonal transitions.

Financial Fine-tuning For Seasonal Savings

Though the seasons change predictably, year after year, fall and winter financial responsibilities still catch Britons off guard. These proven moves can help keep your money on track as you look forward to the season ahead.

Start Saving for Christmas – The truth of it is you should have a Christmas pot going already, if you hope to pay for the holiday season with cash on hand. Even getting a late start saving for Christmas is better than using your credit card to pay for the holiday. Studies show Britons often take the entire year to pay off Christmas credit card balances, so the more you can cover with savings, the less interest you’ll pay during the year.

For results you can count on each year, consider establishing automatic savings for Christmas. The schemes let you automatically set by small amounts from each paycheck, giving you plenty of time to build a holiday pot, without missing the money in your everyday budget.

Find the Right Finance – If you must borrow money to manage holiday costs, some types of credit will cost you less than others do. For example, you may be eligible for short-term financing, without a credit check, offering gentler terms and lower interest rates than your credit cards. Before reaching for plastic, compare lending costs online, and select the most cost-effective finance option for your holiday spending needs.

If you ultimately decide to cover Christmas costs with a revolving credit account, consider cards that offer cash back and other perks. And pay close attention to the details shared by card companies – it’s easy to lose benefits by failing to precisely follow the terms set forth by each lender.

Check Your Boiler – Your winter heating system can cause holiday heartbreak, when it fails at the worst possible time. Fortunately, you can avoid inconvenience and unexpected expense by servicing your heating system and boiler ahead of the season. You’ll pay a premium during peak periods, so why not have your boiler checked before prime season, when rates and availability may be sketchy?

Manage Motoring Expense – Cold weather driving conditions place additional strain on cars, so they break down more often in the winter, than during warm weather months. There’s no way around the cost of car care and maintenance, but keeping up with your car can help you avoid unnecessary expense and untimely repair bills, when you can least afford surprise spending.

Antifreeze and other fluids perform critical functions when it’s cold outside, so they should be checked and regularly topped-off, as needed. Your tyres must also stand up to harsh winter conditions, so starting the season with ample tread and proper inflation pressure reduces your chance of experiencing seasonal tyre trouble.

Managing money is a year-round job, so it makes sense to take advantage of seasonal saving opportunities, whenever they’re available. Whether you trim spring spending, or prepare for savings this winter, a change of seasons is always a good time to evaluate your finances and make timely adjustments.

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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