We all know that the cost of Christmas can be rather daunting. With wage rises being behind price rises for a handful of years, the disposable incomes of people across the UK are being squeezed like never before.
However, there is help at hand and these five steps could help to make the overall cost of Christmas fall to zero.
Switch Bank Accounts
In the past, switching bank accounts has been rather difficult and time consuming. It felt as though the hassle from missed direct debit payments and standing orders, as well as countless phone calls, was hardly worth it.
However, today its much easier and most banks have dedicated switching teams who organise the smooth transition of all of your payments within a relatively short space of time usually around a week.
The best bit, though, is that currentlyClydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank are offering 150 if you switch your current account to them, close your old account and pay in 1000 within the first month. This seems like a great deal and puts your total Christmas bill in the black by 150.
One way of keeping costs down at Christmas is to use a Secret Santa system when it comes to buying presents. For example, say there are four grandparents, two adults and two teenage children in a family who spend 20 per present, this would equate to a total cost of 160. Certainly, it means less presents, but it can be fun and save a considerable amount of money.
When buying presents for family members, why not try cashback sites such as Quidco and TopCashBack? They could help to keep the cost of Christmas down this year and, for example, Quidco claims that active members earn on average 280 in cashback per year. While this wont all come at Christmas, if we assume that you will use the cashback sites for one month between now and Christmas, it could mean cashback of 23.33, which is one-twelfth of the average annual savings of 280.
With there being tremendous competition between the major supermarkets at the moment, there are considerable bargains on offer when it comes to buying ingredients for Christmas lunch. A survey by Good Housekeeping magazine found that the cost of Christmas lunch could be as little as 2.66 per head for a group of eight people. This equates to a total cost of 21.28 for our four-grandparent, two-parent and two-teenager family, and should help to keep our bottom line in the black overall.
With Christmas lunch and presents costing 21.28 and 160 respectively, our total costs are currently 181.28, while our total income is 173.33, with 150 from switching bank accounts and 23.33 from cashback savings for one month. This gives a total net cost of 7.95 for our hypothetical familys Christmas in 2014.
To make up the difference (and overcome Boxing Day boredom!), why not consider taking part in online surveys, such as those offered at Ipsos MORI? It pays out 1 per survey on average, with each survey lasting around 15minutes. This means that if each of the eight members of our hypothetical family spent just 15minutes on Boxing Day doing a survey, then the total cost of Christmas would be ZERO!
Soit is possible to make Christmas pay for itself this year. Andif you want to increase your wealth and plan for a more comfortable retirement that comes a lot sooner than you currently realise, here at The Motley Fool we think that a step-by-step guide can be the best answer to that challenge, too.
That’s why we’ve written a free and without obligation guide called 7 Simple Steps For Seeking Serious Wealth. It’s simple, straightforward, and could help you retire early, pay off your mortgage, or even allow you to enjoy a more abundant lifestyle.
Click here to obtain your FREEcopy of the guide – it’s well worth a read!