Christmas alcohol rising in cost - here are 9 ways to save money this Yuletide
With the news that us Brits are one of the most taxed nations in Europe when it comes to booze, spending at Christmas can get a little depressing.
Apparently, tax accounts for over half the cost of the average family’s Christmas booze shop.
That’s according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA)
In the UK, a family spending £171.66 on drinks this Christmas will be handing over £88.19 of that total to the government.
The same amount of alcohol in France would cost £136.89, and just £43.52 would be going to the taxman.
It’s enough to make you want to turn to drink.
So, it got us thinking about how we can all cut down on bills this Christmas, so we can at least pay for our booze bill!
Here are a few suggestions …
Give gestures, not big pressies
Christmas is a time for kids, so how about focusing on them when it comes to presents and just giving something very small (and inexpensive) to adults? It’s the thought that counts, not the price tag.
You can’t just decide on your own to cut down on adult presents, or you’re going to look like a scrooge.
Worse still, you might well end up handing over a teensy-weensy gift only to find you’ve been given a whopper in return. You have to do it by agreement, perhaps set a ballpark price tag. But make sure everyone has bought into the idea.
Don’t run up big debts on Credit Cards
Easy to say, hard not to do.
But the fact is if you borrow on credit cards to fund Christmas, you’re likely to have big headache well after the New Year’s day hangover has worn off.
It’s one of the very worst ways to borrow and you’ll pay through the nose for the privilege.
Yes, interest rates may be super low, but you might have noticed this doesn’t apply to credit cards.
Get a 0% CC if you must run up a debt
If a credit card is really the only option, then try and get your debt transferred to a card with a 0% deal.
Of course, they’re not really 0% because you’ll have to pay a transfer fee, which will be a percentage of your debt. But it will still be loads cheaper than having outstanding money on a regular credit card.
A word of warning, though, don’t miss a payment because you’ll lose the 0% deal that month if you do.
And make sure you have a zero balance before the 0% runs out, or you’ll be walloped with an ultra-high interest-rate charge.
Protect your purchases
Having said all that about credit cards, they can be an excellent way of protecting your purchases, especially bigger ones. And doing this can save you a ton of money if things go wrong.
Use credit cards to buy things, just make sure you don’t allow the debt to linger – pay it off.
The reason they are useful, though, is because if a company goes bust, your goods never arrive or are not as described, the credit card company protects your purchase.
Even if you use the card to pay for just part of the purchase, it protects you because under the law the card company is jointly liable for fulfilling the terms of the purchase and you claim the cash back from them.
This applies to anything you buy between £100 and £30,000. PayPal is also a good way of getting the same protection. But this protection does not apply to debit cards, cheques or direct bank transfers.
Use those old vouchers and points
Many of us are not organised enough to use things like Tesco vouchers and instead just let them build up throughout the year.
Maybe you have gift vouchers lying around. According to the Gift Cards and Vouchers Association, thousands of gift vouchers are left unspent, worth as much as £240m a year.
Well, now’s the time to dig them out and make use of them as well as those loyalty offers. People are often staggered at how much they can reduce a shopping bill by. They might even come in useful for an electronic purchase.
Most of the more popular loyalty schemes, like Tesco Clubcard, Boots Advantage and Sainsbury's Nectar, work best if you convert points to vouchers, rather than use them to get cash directly off your bill.
Drink less or not at all … yes, really
Ok, ok, this isn’t going to go down well with a lot of people.
But cutting down on the booze will save you loads. If it’s an integral part of Christmas, then consider cheaper grog, like beer and wine, rather than pricey spirits.
And before you sneer at this idea, six million of us get drunk on Christmas Day even before dinner is served and eight million people say they have thrown up because of over-indulgence, according to research by Ubamarket.
Think how smug you could be with your clear head on Boxing Day.
Young children can’t wait, obviously, because Santa delivers presents when he delivers them, and that’s Christmas morning. But the rest of us could happily wait to get our hands on that item that’s our heart’s desire.
If you hang on to the sales, you’ll save big time. IOU in a card anyone?
Start budgeting now
Well, perhaps not right away, but certainly in the New Year. Start planning ahead for next Christmas.
It may seem boring (so you don’t have to admit you’re doing it), but, if you begin saving early, and buying when you see bargains, the whole expense of Christmas doesn’t seem quite so daunting.
Start saving small and start early, and the cash can really mount up.
Head to foreign parts
It’s hard to escape Christmas anywhere in the world these days – even people in non-Christian countries tend to give gifts and celebrate in some way.
But, if you fly away over Christmas, especially on Christmas Day itself, you can avoid gift-giving all together – and you might find the cost of a flight and hotel for a few days works out less than all the expense of being back home.
Or is that just being too Scrooge-like?
Have you got any money-saving tips for Christmas? Share them in the comments section below.
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