Dodge a cash hangover this Christmas
How are you planning to pay for Christmas?
The costs can add up quickly when buying presents, decorations, clothes, food and drink. Have you already planned how much you'll be spending on these items?
Plan how much you can afford to spend this Christmas by setting a budget and try to stick within it to avoid a Christmas cash hangover.
Knowing your expenses before you start can help you avoid spending more than you can afford - to help with this try using the Money Advice Service Christmas Budget Planner which is a great way to help you set a budget for the festive season.
You are not alone in the struggle to manage the rising cost of Christmas, below are some interesting facts1 on how people coped last year:
- The average person spent £469 on gifts, food, drink and socialising at Christmas in 2014.
- More than one in four Christmas spenders (25%) admitted they spent more than the previous year by £110 and just under a third admitted they overspent at Christmas.
- One in four people still had outstanding Christmas payments at the start of February last year, with the hangover expected to last to well into April.
- A third of people polled thought that they might have to make cutbacks to other non-essential items to be able to pay for the cost of the previous Christmas.
1 Based on figures from the Money Advice Service website: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk 06/11//15
To help you with cost of Christmas Scotcash may be able to provide you with an affordable loan you can apply now online. We also offer to open up Savings Accounts with several local Credit Unions which can help you save for next Christmas or other expensive events throughout the year - you can contact us here or call us on 01412760525 to find out more.
Buy early – get bargains!
Make a list of who you need to buy for and whenever you see goods at cheap prices buy them, wrap them, and keep them in a Christmas cupboard - the earlier the better.
Keep your eyes peeled for discounts and deals. The average bargain hunter saves around £900 a year by taking advantage of offers and discounts2. When looking for gifts, shop around for the best offers - often retailers offer discount vouchers online and for use in store. The Money Saving Expert provides links to currents vouchers/ discounts and also gives you a ‘heads up’ on upcoming Christmas offers via a weekly email.
2 Sourced frommoneyfacts.co.uk
When am I entitled to a refund?
You will find that most retailers now provide an extended returns period for customers who are buying gifts in November - you will be able to return these for your money back in January if they are unsuitable (although check the returns policy with individual retailers).
When shopping know your new consumer rights there’s a new law to protect your rights as a customer. If the goods are faulty, and you bought them from a UK-based retailer, you are entitled to ask for them to be repaired - or to get a full refund. The Act says you can now get that refund up to 30 days from purchase. The money must be returned to you within 14 days.
Am I covered for buying goods online?
In most cases, buying goods online is covered by the Distance Selling Regulations, which provide further protections over and above the Consumer Rights Act. But for the first time, digital goods like downloads, films, games, music and ebooks are covered by the legislation.
However, if the downloads will not play on your computer or mobile device, you will be entitled to a replacement, but not a refund. This is because of the difficulty of proving that a download does not work. However, the retailer may, in some circumstances, offer a partial refund.
What if I bought the product more than a month ago?
Even if you bought the product more than 30 days ago, you are still entitled to a repair or a replacement. The retailer has one chance to make the repair. If you are still unhappy, you have a right to a refund.
This right extends to 6 months after the purchase.
What if I am unhappy with a service?
The Act covers all services - from washing machine repairs to facial treatments. The Act says that such services must be delivered "with reasonable care", after consultation with the consumer. If you are unhappy with the service you have received, you can ask the provider to put it right, or give you a refund if you prefer.
What do I do if a retailer refuses to give my money back?
You can take them to a small claims court, but that is an expensive process. New Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers have been set up, which can handle additional products like energy contracts. These services are free to consumers, but are paid for by the retailers. Scotcash have partnered with Home Energy Scotland whose advisors can contact your energy company to speak on your behalf if you are having difficulties with your energy tariff.
If you feel you need any further advice regarding your consumer’s rights contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.