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How to get through Christmas without going broke

GIFTS: Plan well ahead to avoid getting broke

1. Plan a budget for gifts, food and entertainment and stick to it

a. There is no need to go into debt to buy gifts for family and friends this season. Ideally this is a time to encourage friends and family to get creative and rather find ways of making gifts for each other. It adds a personal touch.

b. The alternative is to set budget limits where gifts cost no more than £5 or £10 at the most.

c. This will take away for the need for buying the most expensive latest phone, most expensive and popular toys or other electronic gadgets)

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2. Dine at home as opposed to going out to restaurants

a. We all need to cut down on drinks outings this season. Consider that even if people are going away, they will be back in a week’s time

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3. Keep an eye out for Christmas specials e.g. buy one get one free in supermarkets and shops

a. Buy from the shops within your means, not the shops with popular names. Many products at top end supermarkets are no different from those in lower end supermarkets

b. Buy in bulk where feasible

c. Buy what you need not what you might need. For example, don’t buy a new winter coat or the latest boots if the ones you have are still fine

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4. High end expenditures should be at the bare minimum

a. If it’s not boiler/heating/pipe related, it can wait.

b. Buying new furniture on credit with initial repayment in three years will be creating new debt in three years for you. Also consider that at that stage you may not even like the furniture

c. Buy a gift that may be used by the entire family e.g. a DVD or new TV if required and not one for every room or child in the household

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5. Think carefully about taking that Christmas holiday

Going away for Christmas is great if you can afford to but if you can’t, please don’t run up huge debts on your credit cards because everyone is going to the Canaries or Morocco.
a. In a week’s time when you are back, you will be repaying the card debt for a few more months to come

b. You can save up and make sure next year you can go for the holiday

Linda Asafo-Agyei is vice president of wealth management at Barclays Wealth. The 34-year-old, named among rising stars in the 2012 Powerlist, coordinates strategic business growth in West African countries such as Ghana and Nigeria.

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