Christmas countdown: top tips to budget for the big day

Hit Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales for a shot at saving on presents. Photo: Kari Shea/Unsplash

With just 95 days until Christmas, have you thought about how you’re going to finance the festive period yet?

The cost of Christmas can add up and create unnecessary stress, but planning ahead can alleviate some of the worry. Whether it’s budgeting for gifts, food or travel over Christmas, it pays to plan ahead and be savvy with your finances.

MoneySuperMarket has some tips to help make your money stretch that bit further over the festive season.

How to manage your Christmas finances

Set yourself a budget

See what you can afford in the run up to Christmas without going into debt. It’s always sensible to have a budget in mind.

Max the cash by switching current accounts

If you haven’t changed current accounts in a while, there are many deals available. Banks are currently offering up to £150 to switch.

READ MORE: The best apps to get you saving money

Shop on Black Friday

You’re not guaranteed to get a bargain, but past Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have been good, especially for big ticket items. It could be a quick way to make some serious savings on Christmas gifts you were planning to purchase anyway.

Borrow responsibly

If you’re planning to borrow, make sure you do it the cheapest way possible. Whether that’s looking at a 0% interest purchase credit card or a current account with an interest free overdraft, it pays to research several products before making a decision.

Make a payment plan

Take control of your finances and pay at least the minimum repayment on any credit card bill each month. Not only will you avoid hefty interest fees, you’ll also reduce your debt quickly and keep any introductory 0% offer.

Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA

Credit card options

If you’re considering applying for a credit card to help cover the costs, it’s worth doing so sooner rather than later as some cards can take up to six weeks to arrive.

Applying now also means that you can take advantage of the great deals on offer.

READ MORE: How to haggle: seven tips to help you get the best deal

Spread the cost and pay no interest

The MBNA 0% Transfers and Purchases Card offers 0% interest for 27 months on the purchases you make in the first 60 days – which can be useful for those who start their Christmas shopping early.

Earn reward points on your supermarket spending

The Sainsbury’s bank dual offer credit card allows you to earn up to 7,500 Nectar points in your first two months when shopping at Sainsbury’s with your credit card and 0% interest on balance transfers for up to 25 months.

Earn cashback on your Christmas shopping

The American Express platinum cashback everyday credit card offers up to 5% cashback on spending in the first three months, up to £100, making it ideal for the run-up to Christmas

Current accounts

There are some great current account deals available. Royal Bank of Scotland select account offers an £150 cashback for those who switch to RBS, with no monthly fee

READ MORE: Top current accounts for rewards right now

Natwest reward account also provides customers with £150 cashback, in addition to 2% in rewards on seven types of household bills paid by direct debit, and 1% back in rewards when you spend with partnered retailers.

Barclays bank account blue rewards offers cashback from selected retailers when you shop through Barclays, and includes the chance to earn up to double rewards for a year – up to £168.