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Shop within your budget

Check out our five tips for getting out the other side without a big credit card bill.

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Financial tips

It’s meant to be the “most wonderful time of the year”. But the pressure to spend can be immense and the spirit-of-Christmas debt can haunt you well into the next year.

Here are five tips to stop you falling into the Christmas-spending trap:

  1. Arrange gift-giving limits with your family (such as presents for kids only or everyone’s assigned just one other person to buy for).

  2. Consider second-hand gifts, or make your own. But be careful when buying secondhand children’s products or electrical goods see “Keeping Christmas safe”).

  3. Make an agreement to buy gifts in the Boxing Day sales. Give a handmade “voucher” on Christmas Day with the amount you’re willing to spend.

  4. Consider what food goes down best rather than what’s “traditional”. You don’t have to spend top dollar to keep everyone full and happy.

  5. Set a Christmas budget and stick to it. Use the Sorted website’s calculator to estimate your budget and calculate how much you’ll have to save each week to hit your target.

And two New Year’s resolutions worth considering:

  • Start planning for next Christmas. Buy presents through the year at sales, or put a little money aside each week.

  • Pay the outstanding balance on your credit card each month. This way you avoid interest charges on your monthly purchases.

Boxing Day sales

This is one of the best times to get a bargain – but keep your head and don’t get swept away in the excitement.

Here are our five tips for maximising your sale experience:

  1. Check prices at more than one store to make sure you’re getting a genuine bargain.

  2. Choose carefully and don’t just buy stuff because it’s cheap. You can’t take something back later because you don’t like it.

  3. If you’re unsure about an item, ask the retailer if it’ll give you an exchange card in case you change your mind.

  4. Even if something’s on sale at a ridiculously low price, retailers must repair, replace or refund an item that’s broken or defective. The exception is if they sold it to you at a lower price because the item was damaged and you knew this when you bought it. (Goods at a sale price because they’re damaged must have a written notice making that clear.)

  5. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

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