Okay so I doubt ‘financial advice’ will make it onto many letters to Santa but as there is no doubt that the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ can also be one of the most expensive for families as well this got us thinking… What advice can we give at Christmas time to make sure you are making the best use of finances, and that there isn’t too much of a financial hangover?
So here’s our Christmas list to check twice.
Have you got a budget?
The typical household spends around £2,000 a month, increasing by more than £500 in December. In light of this it’s worth making a budget and sticking to it – if only so when the elves bring the credit card statement it’s not too much of a shock!
Are your Cash Savings paying competitive interest?
Interest rates are low, and they have been for some time, but they are creeping up. It’s worth double checking that you’re getting a decent rate on those savings accounts (around 1.5% per annum on instant access is ‘good’ at present). Boring I know but this could help pay for next Christmas after all!
Are you making use of the Marriage Allowance?
Marriage Allowance lets you transfer £1,190 of your personal allowance to your husband, wife or civil partner – if they earn more than you.
In essence this can be used where one of you is a non-taxpayer and one a basic rate taxpayer.
If you’re eligible you can apply online in just a few minutes and can reduces your overall income tax bill by up to £238 in the tax year.
Are your Credit Cards on 0% APR?
Okay so the easiest way to ensure to stick to your budget for Christmas is to make sure that you pay it all off straightaway.
If however you do want to use, and maintain, credit cards then it makes sense to make sure you’re taking advantage of the best rates. There are some great 0% APR deals out there so do shop around!
Have you thought about pension contributions for the non-taxpayers in the family?
A bit of a long game this one when looking at children or grandchildren but it’s worth bearing in mind that for non-working individuals (including children), a net pension contribution of £2,880 and can be made and they will receive tax relief of £720 from the Government – 2 presents in one. It’s always best to seek financial advice when considering something like this though – to make sure it’s the best use of your resources.
There’s plenty more we could put on the list but Christmas is coming, the mince pies are on the way, and we’ve all got presents to wrap so we’d just like to say…
We all hope you have an enjoyable, happy, and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous New Year.