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Festive Budgeting - 5 Tips to Beat the January Blues

Christmas is around the corner, and for those of us planning to keep the festive spending under control, it's time to get a budget in place. It is perfectly possible to avoid those costs spiralling out of control, even at this expensive time of year, and the team at Give As You Live are here to help you as ever.


1) Festive Food Shops

From turkey to mince pies for the big day itself to prosecco and canapes for those parties and pre-holiday entertainments, the diet tends to go out of the window before Christmas - and the shopping bills can rapidly escalate! So why not make use of the Give As You Live grocery card? It's a reloadable card that you can use at all of the big grocery brands, including Tesco, M&S, Waitrose and ASDA. Buy it now and reload with cash top-ups for your December and January shops, helping you to avoid over-spending. Buy it online and you'll receive your card in the post. Every time you use it to spend, you can raise money for your favourite charity, and the fact that it's pre-loaded means that you'll always stay within your budget. If you spend £100 a week on it for your groceries, you could raise £100 a year in donations for your favourite charity. Sign up here for your free card.

2) Coffee Cards

Who doesn't love a coffee when they are out and about? Christmas shopping can be exhausting, but the costs of all those lattes, Americanos and other coffee shop treats can really add up. Make use of one of the GAYL coffee cards and set yourself a coffee budget by uploading a fixed amount on to your favourite store card. Again, it means that you'll have total ease of payment when it comes to indulging your caffeine fix in-store, and you won't risk going over your spending limit with your own set top-up fund amount. Remember too that you'll be raising vital funds for your favourite charity in the process, so everyone's a winner! The Costa reloadable coffee card will raise 4% for your favourite charity, and you can order it for free online here. There are also fundraising reloadable cards for Starbucks and Caffe Nero!


3) A Spend Diary

One of the best tricks that dieters use is to record everything that they eat in order to keep a track of their total calories and to see where any surprise extras might be sneaking in. Adopt the same strategy with your spending and you'll rapidly gain a real insight into where you might currently be allowing your precious cash to trickle away. Simply get a small cash book or use a notebook to write down everything that you spend in a fixed period - either over a fortnight to give an indication of typical spend or over the full festive shopping period if you want to match outgoings with your budget. It will give you a clear picture of your transactions and show where you might be able to better direct your precious spending money at the time you need it most.


4) Try a Cashback Credit Card

If you use a credit card for your spending and pay it off in full each month, you can find some great deals that give you cashback sums or other incentives. For example, these could include air miles, promotional points or even hotel stays, depending on the offer. See whether you have the most competitive credit card and look for inspiration at Give As You Live. After all, when you know you're going to spend, you might as well enjoy a double-whammy: raising money for charity through the GAYL website and getting cash back or other incentives on your purchase from your credit card provider!

5) Plan Ahead

It's a basic tip but one that we so easily forget in the rush and excitement of Christmas. Write a list of everyone that you need to buy a present for. Set a budget for each person. Remember to note any birthdays or other gift-able occasions that will occur between now and New Year. Work out whether you have any gifts already (many savvy buyers will have a permanent 'present box' filled with things that they see throughout the year or pick up in the sales), and then keep a record of what you buy for each person. Start spreading out those purchases now so that you aren't overwhelmed in December and tempted to overspend in a last-minute panic. Stuck with that difficult-to-buy-for person? Check out our helpful Gift Guides.


Start now, plan ahead, make use of GAYL and you can raise money for charity, avoid going over your budget and prevent that January cash flow fears that we are all so familiar with.

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