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Christmas is traditionally an expensive time of year. A time when we eat, drink and spend more than we should and spend January feeling guilty about it.
But. If you’re planning a car loan for the new year, you have more reason than usual to keep control of your finances this Christmas. The last thing you want to do is overlook a payment or get into too much debt just before you apply for a car loan!
Here are a couple of actionable tips to help protect your financial wellbeing over Christmas.
Set a Christmas budget
Budgeting plays a vital role in our financial wellbeing. They aren’t the most interesting undertaking in the world but they are the foundation from which the rest of your financial wellbeing hangs.
For Christmas, set a sensible, affordable budget. Set a gift budget, a food and alcohol budget and an entertainment budget. Make sure each budget is achievable and is enough to ensure you have a great time.
Most importantly, make sure it still ensures you finish the year in the black!
Set aside all payments ahead of December
It may still be November but planning ahead can make a real difference to Christmas. If possible, set aside enough cash to cover most of your December outgoings in November or earlier if you can.
If you have automatic payments set up, make sure you can cover those and make sure the budget(s) you create don’t affect those payments. You can then ensure you make every payment on time like you do the rest of the year.
Use the 24 hour rule for purchases
Impulse buying is the enemy of good financial acumen. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself or your loved ones but don’t rush into purchases. Use the 24 hour rule for that.
If you see something you want to buy, don’t jump in there and then. Leave it overnight. If you still want it the next day after a good night’s sleep, consider it further.
Be careful when shopping online
Christmas is a time for scammers as well as gift givers. Make sure any online purchases are made through reputable stores and that you’re careful when you go online. Be more aware than usual for online scams and keep an eye out for identity theft.
Don’t let it put you off having a great Christmas but don’t forget the risks in the excitement. The last thing you want is a ding on your credit score from a scam or fake loan application in your name!