• Top tips for getting your finances in check for the New Year

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    With the country in full swing in terms of the run-up to Christmas, Black Friday deals were the last chance to grab some bargains before the shops prepare for the holiday season. But is the shopping event of the year really worth it? Keith Harrison, content creator and writer for Jolly Good Loans investigates. 

    With Christmas just around the corner, Black Friday couldn’t come at a better time of year. We all love a bargain, especially with so many presents to buy, but are the deals we’re getting really worth it – and are we actually saving money?

    Today, we’re reviewing Black Friday to help you figure out if you’ve really saved money on things you already intended to buy or whether you were simply dazzled by buzzwords and the promise of huge savings. If you’ve found yourself overspending in the pre-Christmas sales, don’t worry! We’ll also be giving you some top tips on how to straighten out your finances for the new year.

    Black Friday

    For some, Black Friday is a day they look forward to all year, while others actively aim to steer clear of the madness. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that you can’t avoid the deals – they’re everywhere! As consumers, brands communicate with us in numerous ways to get their deals out there and we can’t escape from it. We’re sent email after email, advertised to on social media channels, served TV adverts and walk past stores with huge Black Friday signs hanging in the windows.

    It’s even harder to avoid the Black Friday sales when they’re more than just a one-day event. Most brands now have a Black Friday ‘weekend’ sale that can last for up to four or five days, making it even harder to resist the deals. Now, of course, some of the deals are genuinely worth it and will save you money in the long run, but you do have to be careful that temptation doesn’t get the better of you – especially in the age of the contactless card, when it’s very easy to forget you’ve spent any money at all.

    The best way to approach Black Friday – or any upcoming sale – is to be prepared beforehand with what it is that you want to buy and make a note of the prices so you know whether you’re actually getting a good deal in the sale. Now that Black Friday has passed, we would recommend doing the same afterwards too; keep hold of all your receipts and keep an eye on what the price goes back to after the sales are over to ensure you genuinely bagged a bargain, especially if you bought items just for the sake of them being in the sale.

    Christmas gifts

    With the Black Friday deals being so tempting, it’s vital that we’re keeping an eye on what we’ve spent and whether or not we can afford it so that it doesn’t become a debt trap. Before you know it, you’ve probably spent more than intended and haven’t realised how quickly the amount of money you’ve spent here and there has racked up. Once the buzz of Black Friday has calmed down we would suggest sitting down and taking a look at everything you bought. Decide what was an impulse buy and what was a genuine bargain that you can now tick off your Christmas gift list.

    To make sure you’re keeping on top of your finances, budget Black Friday into your Christmas spending budget. If you went a little wild in the sales, figure out if any of the items you bought can be given as Christmas presents and deduct this from your gift budget to claw back some of the cash you’ve already spent.

    Remember, the Black Friday sales aren’t all doom and gloom financially – you may have found some absolute bargains! It’s just important that you know your finances inside and out to ensure you don’t end up in a dark financial hole that will lead to an unpleasant start to the new year.

    2019

    Top tips for getting your finances in check for the New Year:

    ● Do a little research around your bank account to ensure you’re using the best one for you. It’s easy to get complacent with your banking, but are you using the best company for your needs? Compare some bank accounts and see what incentives, interest rates and general advantages each account has and if any could work for you.

    ● Make a list of all of your monthly bills and debts that need to be paid off so you can avoid damaging your credit rating and requiring bad credit finance later on, creating a plan as to how these can realistically be afforded every month. This is crucial when it comes to your outstanding debts; if you can make an action plan for how to clear them, you’ll start the new year in a much stronger financial position.

    ● Whether you’re on a small or large income, you should always budget. Creating a budget will help you not only meet all your bill payments but also top up a savings account, highlight whether you can afford a summer holiday or ensure your retirement pot is taken care of. Whatever your goal may be, budgeting will help you get there faster.

    ● Get a savings account so you can start putting away for next Christmas. It might seem mad to be thinking about paying for next Christmas already, but you’ll be gaining a massive financial advantage come December 2019, meaning you can avoid maxing out the credit cards or overdrafts.

    ● Challenge yourself to cut down on spending in certain areas. It might be that you decide your TV package can be cheaper and that you don’t use all the channels available to you or that you can cut back on the amount you eat out and cook at home instead. Changes like this might seem small and won’t make a difference month on month, but could make a huge difference over a year.

    Do you have any other financial strategies you’d like to share? Let us know by emailing: v.ferrara@forumevents.co.uk