It’s June and the sun is finally shining again, the days are longer and we are dreaming of summer holidays spent relaxing on the beach…
But it’s now 199 days until Christmas and soon we’ll be wrapped up in our jumpers and wondering what size of turkey to buy this year.
Now it might seem outrageous to be talking about the festive season when we’ve only just started wearing our summer clothes, but today is actually the perfect time to start saving for Christmas.
Last year, Money.co.uk found that almost 30% of credit card users expected to spend over £1,000 on their credit cards during Christmas, with around 23% of people expecting to pay off this debt six months after the festive period.
This data is hardly surprising considering the cost of living crisis, with many people forced to live from paycheck to paycheck due to high inflation and rising household bills.
The current situation means it’s now more important than ever to review your finances and think about how you can save for big events like Christmas. Without a savings pot to rely on, the stress of credit card debt and overdrafts can soon take its toll.
So, here are some money challenges to try over the next 199 days, and once your savings pot starts to increase, consider comparing savings accounts to earn some extra interest.
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If you are happy to start saving this week, then there is a simple way to save £1,000 in time for your Christmas shopping.
If you set aside £6 every day until the beginning of December then you’ll easily reach your savings target of £1,000.
This will take a lot of commitment and perseverance with your savings pot, but you’ll be rewarded with a big budget to use during the festive period.
If this challenge sounds like a good fit for you, then an instant access savings account that allows unlimited deposits is a great place to keep track of your savings.
Chip is currently offering 3.83% with its instant access savings account.
Saving money each month is not always an easy task, so look for ways to make it feel less overwhelming.
The monthly savings challenge is a good way to ease yourself into saving as you are in control of how much you put away each month.
Take a look at your finances and be realistic with how much you can save, then set up a standing order to your savings account on payday.
For example, if you save £50 each month until Christmas you’ll have £350 to spend.
Our research found the most common Christmas budget in the UK is between £301 and £500, so this would make an excellent savings pot.
If you can’t find a way to save money each month with your current outgoings, look at your bills each month and research if you could be getting a better deal.
Explore Money.co.uk and our partner site Uswitch.com to compare providers and see whether switching could cut costs on everything from broadband and TV to home insurance. You can also contact your existing providers to discuss whether there is an opportunity to change your plan and reduce the monthly cost.
You can also take advantage of banks offering switching bonuses on current accounts. For example, NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland are currently offering a bonus of £200 for anyone that switches to their current account.
If you switch and set yourself a target of saving at least £20 from your bills each month, you’ll have £340 to spend at Christmas.
As a trained journalist, Lucinda has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles, including The Mirror, WalesOnline and Manchester Evening News. She is now a personal finance editor and specialises in savings, helping people to make confident financial decisions so they can save for what matters most.