Jingle tills, jingle tills, jingle all the way

With Christmas cards and decorations already hitting the high street, retailers are doing their utmost to maximise on the 116 shopping days left until Christmas. But with a recent survey revealing that 47% of people in the UK are not saving specifically for the holiday season (1), it's never too early to take control of the festive finances.

Owen Roberts, head of MyCallcredit comments

"It's been the wettest August on record so retailers are doing everything they can to entice us into parting with our hard-earned cash. With Christmas coming earlier than ever, we could all do with planning our spending money sooner rather than later in order to avoid a financial hangover in 2008."

With an average spend at Christmas of £620 for individuals without children, the same survey shows that people should start saving around £124 each month from August if they are to avoid getting into debt with loans and credit card bill repayments.

Roberts adds

"If you are going to borrow money for the festive season, make sure you get the best deal by getting to know your credit report. Taking on credit doesn't need to be stressful as long as you take control; know where you stand today, be realistic about how much you borrow and always make repayments on time."

Top tips for financial peace and goodwill:
  • Start planning how you will pay for Christmas - it may only be September but a little bit of thought now can save a lot of misery come December
  • Check your credit report, it will tell you what commitments you already have and show you what a lender will see if you apply for credit
  • Shop around for credit and consider all options. Look out for interest free periods and compare interest rates
  • If you have used credit cards to pay for your holiday, aim to pay off the balance in the next two or three months so that you are in great shape for Christmas.

1 - Survey conducted by Britannia Building Society, 2007