How to take con­trol of your

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

OW au­tumn has started, we feel it’s OK to men­tion the C word. Yes, it’s just over 13 weeks to Christ­mas, and if you haven’t started sav­ing, don’t worry there’s still time.

A third of Brits started this year with a fi­nan­cial hang­over from the last fes­tive sea­son but a lit­tle plan­ning could see you build­ing up a fund so you can en­joy a happy Christ­mas with­out the worry of debt.

“Set your­self a tar­get of how much you want to save and you’ll know what you’ll need to do to achieve it,” ad­vises An­drew Hag­ger from Mon­ey­comms.co.uk

“Try to put aside what you can af­ford each week and ev­ery pound you find this side of De­cem­ber 25 is one less to find in the New Year.”

A typ­i­cal fam­ily spends £796 on Christ­mas ac­cord­ing to Yougov. Here are some ways to save the pen­nies. RATHER than shelling out for ex­pen­sive shop-bought sand­wiches (ap­prox £3 a pop) go DIY. If you do this three days days a week you can save £9 per week – that’s £117 by Christ­mas.

CUT­TING back on just three shop-bought cof­fees each week, at £2 a pop, will save you an­other £78 by the fes­tive sea­son. IN­STEAD, plan your meals, write a shop­ping list and go to the su­per­mar­ket just once each week. Don’t for­get to use up the food in your freezer and store cup­boards.

It’s pos­si­ble to save be­tween £10 and £30 per week by do­ing this, that’s £390 over 13 weeks. GO through your bank state­ment and can­cel all non-es­sen­tial di­rect deb­its, such as that gym mem­ber­ship you never use, den­tal plans, mag­a­zine sub­scrip­tions etc. Ev­ery lit­tle helps and it’ll mount up.

YOU can earn up to £150 just by switch­ing banks – a great way to add to your Christ­mas fund. Just make sure the ac­count works for you – if you’re al­ways in the black look for one which pays you in­ter­est or re­wards. If you dip into the red look for an ac­count with low over­draft in­ter­est charges. YOU can save some se­ri­ous money off en­ergy bills by switch­ing to a bet­ter deal.

It doesn’t take long and you can use com­par­i­son sites such as uswitch.com or mon­eysaving­ex­pert. com. You can save hun­dreds of pounds. EVEN if you have mis­laid your orig­i­nal vouch­ers you can check the value on on­line at tesco.com/club­card.

In your Club­card ac­count, click on ‘my vouch­ers’ on the left-hand side and you should see a ta­ble list­ing the vouch­ers you still have to spend.

Use them at Christ­mas for toys and presents rather than food be­cause you can get up to four times their value on items such as jewellery, or dou­ble the value in-store and on­line for items in­clud­ing toys, gifts, wine, cham­pagne and more.

MAKE sure you are us­ing your Boots ad­van­tage card or su­per­mar­ket loy­alty cards when you buy the weekly house­hold ne­ces­si­ties and bump up your points so you can use them to buy presents.

Look out for spe­cial ‘dou­ble points’ pro­mo­tions too – many stores have fre­quent in­cen­tives in the run-up to Christ­mas.

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