3 ways to spend smarter at Christmas
This Christmas many of us will be watching the pennies. Here's how to squeeze more value from your spending.
For millions of Brits, this will be a Christmas on credit. According to recent research from personal finance site Finder, 23 million (43% of us) will be putting at least some of our Christmas spending on plastic.
The research found that, for those using their credit cards, the average spend will be £627, which is almost a quarter (23%) of the average UK monthly salary in the UK, £2,730. So Finder’s experts have compiled these tips for squeezing more value out of your Christmas and January sales spending, including on your credit card.
1. Use a cashback site
If you’re planning any major purchases and you’ve identified the store with the best deal, it’s always worth checking cashback sites to see if the store is a partner, so you can buy it via the site and get cashback on your purchase.
It’s free to join sites such as Quidco and TopCashback and you can make hundreds of pounds a year this way. The sites pay you a percentage of the money you spend as cashback, which comes from the commission they get. You just need to use the tracked links on the sites to make your purchases.
2. Use a cashback card
Cashback credit cards reward you for spending, in the form of pounds or credit on your account, and some of them are free.
How much you can earn will depend on the card’s “earn rate”, plus any caps on earnings. Cards that are linked to a brand may offer a better earn rate when you spend with that brand, and in some cases, cards come with an introductory enhanced earn rate for a specific period or an enhanced earn rate once your spending has topped a specific threshold.
It’s key that you pay off the balance each month, otherwise your interest payments will likely cancel out the cashback benefits.
You can find out if you’re eligible for cards by using a free eligibility checker, such as the one on Finder.
3. Get a smart budgeting app
It’s wise to keep an eye on where the money’s going, and if your existing bank account doesn’t categorise your spending for you, consider getting a free budgeting app to help.
Apps such as Emma and Plum use Open Banking – you give them secure access to your bank account information and they give you an overall view of your spending, by category. They can also flag subscriptions that you might not be using, and suggest other ways to save. They make money by offering extra services.
Lastly, it’s worth remembering that when you buy an item on your credit card that costs between £100 and £30,000, you get extra protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Under this rule, if something is wrong with the item, or it doesn’t arrive, the card company is just as liable as the store to put things right.
About the author
Liz Edwards is editor-in-chief at finder.com. She’s been a consumer writer and editor for more than 20 years, led award-winning teams at the campaigning publisher Which?, and has covered a range of consumer rights and personal finance topics including pensions, credit, banking and insurance. Liz has appeared frequently in national media such as The Sun, Metro, HuffPost and The Independent. She loves to cut through waffle to give consumers the real lowdown.
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