With the festive season now in full swing, many people will find themselves spending more than usual on things such as gifts and socialising; and possibly ending up in debt come January. However, according to Paul Merriman, CEO of askpaul & Pax Financial, this can be avoided by making a few small changes to your festive season spending habits this December.

 1.    Make a list and shop online

Paul says, “Still got some last-minute shopping to do? Making a list and shopping online will help you in sticking to your budget as you will avoid impulse buying – something people tend to do when they are in a physical store”.

2.    Keep track of your spending

Paul says, “Try your best to keep track of what you are spending. This is the best way to avoid going over budget. Using the likes of N26 or Revolut and setting up different vaults for things such as gifts, nights out, food shopping etc. is a good way to do this.”

3.    Agree price limits with friends and family

Paul says, “Speak to your friends and family members about placing a budget cap on gifts. This will make it easier for you to avoid overspending…and it will also ensure there are no awkward moments when gifts are exchanged on Christmas day!”

4.    Avoid ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ Services

Paul says, “While these types of offerings can be tempting, I would encourage anyone thinking about it to think twice. Especially at this time of year. In essence, what these services offer are ‘consumer loans’ and the last thing you want in the New Year is to have a loan hanging over you.”

5.    Arrange a Secret Santa with Family

Paul says, “Another way to avoid overspending on family gifts, and wasting cash on silly presents that people probably don’t need, is to organise a secret santa. That way, you are only buying one gift and can put more thought into it to ensure it’s really what the recipient really wants.”

6.    Avoid using the credit card

Paul says, “This really is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you don’t start 2022 in debt. Avoid using the credit card during the festive season. Even better? Use cash where possible to keep a close eye on your spending”.

7.    Avoid buying vouchers as gifts

Paul says, “Unfortunately, some businesses might not survive the COVID-19 storm and could well end up closing during 2022. When you purchase a voucher, you are last on the list to be reimbursed if the business goes into liquidation”

 8.    Shop local, shop Irish

Paul says, “Avoid crazy delivery costs and shop local this Christmas. You won’t just save on shipping fees, you will also be supporting local Irish businesses during a very difficult period”.

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