An independent financial adviser from Cramlington, Northumberland is taking a fresh approach to helping his clients balance their budgets this Christmas.
Stephen Sumner, managing director at Explore Wealth Management, has devised a list of tried and tested money saving tips to help the modern Christmas shopper make their finances go further.
“Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, but for many people, the season of goodwill can also be an expensive one.
“As a financial adviser, it would be all too easy for me to preach some of the same old money saving tips about planning ahead, setting budgets or staggering the Christmas shopping over a number of months to help balance the budget, but I didn’t want to do that this year.
“With the festive period just around the corner, I thought I would try a new approach and pass on some of my own tried and tested money-saving tips, to help my clients stretch their pennies.”
In 2015, it was reported that the average family spent over £800 on the high-street in the lead up to Christmas. However, Stephen believes that one of the best ways to make your money go further, is to swap the high-street for the internet.
“Shopping online is the way forward,” Stephen said.
“Websites like Money Saving Expert, Quidco and Top Cashback can help you find the best deals on goods from many of the high-street retailers, while enabling you to earn a percentage of the price you pay for the goods as cashback when you buy online.
“Another way to get great discounts is to go direct to a retailer’s website and register to join their mailing list. That way, you can receive exclusive discounts straight to your inbox.”
If you do need to splash some cash in-store however, Stephen has a few handy hints on how to make sure you get a discount.
“When buying more expensive items such as jewellery, I find that I almost always get a significant reduction in the price simply by asking for it. A top tip is to give the sales assistant the impression that you will buy the item there and then, if they agree to an acceptable discount,” Stephen said.
“Another thing to bear in mind, especially when purchasing more luxurious items for your loved ones, is that most retailers have to pay a fee of up to 3% of the purchase price if a customer pays for goods by credit card. So, if you are fortunate enough to have the funds available in your current account to cover the cost of the transaction, then you could ask the retailer to discount the cost of the item by a further 3% if you pay by debit card.”
Of course, the cost of Christmas doesn’t just stop at the shops. There is often a premium rate on services such as transport, hotel stays and dining around the festive season.
“If you need to book a taxi over the festive period, always ensure you are quoted a price that is agreed at the time of booking and double check this with the driver before setting off. That way you can ensure you are not paying over the odds for your journey,” Stephen suggested.
“Equally, if you are planning to be away from home this Christmas and you need to book a hotel room, don’t just accept the online rate. It’s always worth calling the hotel direct to enquire about the online price. That way, you can ask for a discount, a free upgrade, or a complimentary bottle of wine with your meal. As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!”
Explore Wealth Management is one of the largest, independently owned financial advice companies in the UK. The company prides itself on its straight-talking, honest approach to financial planning, and was recently voted amongst the top 250 IFA companies in the country in an independent survey conducted by VouchedFor. For more information, please visit: www.explorewealth.co.uk.