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www.MoneySavingExpert.com
News Release. 5th October 2007

Christmas is coming. Act now!
The MoneySavingExpert.com 12 saves of Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and now is an ideal time to start preparing for a better, more affordable festive season, says Martin Lewis, creator of Consumer Revenge website MoneySavingExpert.com.

Martin says: “Christmas is on the 25 December every year. So why do people act as if it’s a massive surprise and try to pay for all this massive expenditure in January? If you don’t prepare in advance, you can end up with serious debts and little to show for it. Yet get your act together right now, with a few easy actions and much of the damage is preventable.”

“A common mistake is to decide what kind of Christmas you want first, then trying to get it cheapest. Yet instead of asking ‘how can I get it cheapest?’, people should ask ‘what can I afford?’ Let Christmas be dictated by your finances, because lovely as it is, it’s not worth ruining the new year for.”

MoneySavingExpert.com’s 12 saves of Christmas

1. Free £50 for Christmas, just for shopping in a supermarket. Abbey’s credit card is promising to pay 5% cashback up to a maximum of £50 on all supermarket spending until 31 Jan 08, to both new and existing cardholders. So get the card and only use it for supermarket spending and you’ll be £50 better off. Just set up a Direct Debit to pay it off in full each month and you won’t pay interest, so it's pure profit. For full info go to www.moneysavingexpert.com/cashbackcards

2. Buy prezzies with Tesco Clubcard vouchers. Don’t redeem any Tesco Clubcard vouchers in-store. Instead, spend them on 'Deals' from its special brochure which includes things like subscriptions to Goldsmiths jewellery vouchers, Marie Claire and Maxim magazine subscriptions, meals and days out vouchers. This means for a fiver voucher you can buy a prezzie worth £20, a perfect way to buy gifts without spending real cash. Full how to at www.moneysavingexpert.com/loyaltyboost

3. Spread the cost at no cost. Christmas can be a major financial burden, which is why it’s staggering so many people try and pay for all of it out of December’s income. Often they fail, leaving costly debts in January. Even at this late date it is possible to spread the cost. Work out your rough Christmas spending e.g. £600 and put £200 aside in October, November and December, spreading it over three months. You could also add January in too – to do that, buy a few of the things on an empty credit card in December, and providing you pay it off in full in January, you won’t pay any interest. Full guide at www.moneysavingexpert.com/ccnewbie

4. Get a free reply from Santa. There are companies out there charging a tenner to reply to children’s letters to Santa. Yet you can do it for free. If children post (with stamp) a letter to Santa, Reindeerland, SAN TA1 before 13 Dec (though preferably earlier), the Royal Mail says he'll write back.

5. Instant boost to your Christmas spending budget. Many supermarkets have ‘Christmas saving stamps schemes’, where you’re supposed to squirrel away a bit monthly and then they add a bonus on top. Yet actually, provided you have the money in on a set date (it differs for each chain but is usually Nov-Dec) you get the bonus. So just put some cash in a few days before and get a boost of up to 6% on your Christmas shopping budget. This year Wilkinson is paying out 5%, Asda is offering 4% and Tesco 2%. Read a full guide to Christmas saving stamps at www.moneysavingexpert.com/xmasstamps

6. Get a 4% discount on all your prezzie shopping. Lots of credit cards on the market will give you cashback every time you spend on them, no matter where you spend (unlike the Abbey free £50 above which is only for supermarket spending). The current top card gives 4% cashback on everything for the first three months. So get it now and you'll get all your Christmas shopping 4% cheaper, and January sales’ depending on how long it takes to apply. Full guide to the best cashback cards at www.moneysavingexpert.com/cashbackcc

7. Bah Humbug, Delay Christmas. Well, delay it for a few presents at least. Don’t feel forced into giving huge presents in time for Christmas. If the gift is likely to be one that’ll be substantially reduced in the sales e.g. a new hi-tech TV, computer or dress, why not simply send an IOU note with a promise to buy by mid-January. Put it in a nice card, tie a ribbon round it and make it look special – but remember by spending less for Christmas you’ll have more money in the family kitty.

8. Use a shopbot to find the cheapest books, CDs, games and electrical goods. Why go direct to Amazon to buy a book, when in the same amount of time you can use a shopbot (shopping-robot), tell it what’s required, click on compare prices and it searches a raft of e-retailers (including Amazon) to find the cheapest for you. This works for all kinds of goods and is the perfect way to cut internet shopping costs. The big three are Kelkoo, Pricerunner and Shopping.com. Find out the top cashback websites at www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopbots

9. Don’t ask “how can I get it cheapest”, ask “what can I afford?” A common mistake is deciding what you want first, then trying to find it cheapest. Yet the first question you should ask is “what can I afford?” Let your finances dictate your Christmas, because fun as it may be, Christmas is just one day. It’s not worth ruining the whole of next year for.

10. If you need to borrow, use a 0% credit card for spending. Borrowing for Christmas is always a bad idea. Yet I know some people will still do it. So if that's you, at least be sensible with your borrowing. Currently three credit cards will loan you money at 0% for a year; so if you do borrow and you can repay it in that time you won't pay for the borrowing. For a full guide go to the current top credit cards for spending, go to www.moneysavingexpert.com/purchases

11. Be creative not costly. There are many ways to give great presents that don’t cost a fortune; it just takes a little thought. It could be giving your partner a voucher promising to do the dishes, clean the car, give them a back-rub or something saucier. Or write your other half a letter telling them why you love them; make some naughty or nice pics into a DIY calendar. It’s always said young children prefer the wrapping not the gift, so buy the biggest box you can, fill it with blown up balloons and wrap the whole thing in Christmas paper – they’ll love the huge box and jumping on the balloons. More bargain present ideas at www.moneysavingexpert.com/festivefivers

12. Stop spending on the things you don't need to boost your Christmas cash. If you buy a can of Coke and a packet of crisps every day at work from now to Christmas, you'll spend just over £100 on it. So give these or other unnecessary expenditures up, and put the same cash in a savings jar, and you'll be quids in. For more details on exactly how much you'll save try the special stop spending calculator at www.moneysavingexpert.com/demotivator

Martin Lewis concludes: “In many ways, even now it’s late to get the very best MoneySaving Christmas. The perfect time is January, when as well as buying cheaply at the sales for the following year, you can start a savings fund, putting cash aside each month and earning interest on it. Then come December, you’ll know exactly what money you’ve spent and can have Christmas without the worry of debts...”

For full information, see the free budget planner tool which helps you spread the cost of Christmas over a year’s spending - www.moneysavingexpert.com/budget

Full details on all the tips above can be found at MoneySavingexpert.com
For further information, quotes or pictures, please contact:

Prime Contact: Murray Harkin, EP
0207 100 60 70
murray.harkin@ep-site.com

Alternate Contact: MoneySavingExpert.com
Office: 020 7348 9100
press@moneysavingexpert.com

Notes to Editors

1.) About MoneySavingExpert.com

Consumer revenge website MoneySavingExpert.com is a free to use consumer finance help resource. The aim of the site is simple: showing people how to save money on anything and everything and fight back against big companies. Set up four years ago, for just £100, its no advertising, free to use, ethical stance quickly made it the UK’s biggest independent money website according to internet ranking site Alexa.com and number 1 "Business and Finance - Business Information" site according to Hitwise.

It currently has over 1,450,000 people opted in to receive its weekly Martin’s money tips e-mail, and nearly 3,100,000 unique monthly users of the site who visit over 6,500,000 times a month and receives more than 900 million hits per month.

2. ) About Martin Lewis:

TV Money Saving guru Martin Lewis is the creator of MoneySavingExpert.com. He is an ultra specialised journalist; who regularly presents ITV1’s Tonight with Trevor McDonald. He’s author of the bestselling books The Money Diet & Thrifty Ways for Modern Days, and regular Money Saving Expert/presenter on GM TV and Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show amongst others. Martin created and owns MoneySavingE

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