Are they really bargains?

19 November 2021

2021 feels as though it has been a long year for many! Perhaps not as bad as 2020, but still a trial in comparison to normal non-pandemic years. Many are simply looking forward to the start of 2022; however, there is the issue of the annual festivities to get over first.

According to M&S (and the BBC website at the beginning of November), many people are shopping early this year in the lead up to Christmas. Concern over shortage of stock, and a reflection of many wanting to get a good Christmas in following last year's restrictions, is focusing minds, with some retailers suggesting that half of shoppers will have completed their annual gift buying by the end of this month.

Remember also that the implied retail bonanza that is Black Friday is on the horizon, so be careful with your spending against a backdrop of rising prices and energy costs to come over the winter months. Are there really any bargains?

Buying early may put a line through the 'to-do' list of making Christmas a great day. However, keeping an eye on your money planning becomes ever more important at this time of year, especially when you think that you will probably be paid earlier in December and that the next pay packet may well be around six weeks later at the end of January 2022. That's a long time to make the bills stretch.

A regular check of your bank or credit card statement is recommended to ensure that the incomings and outgoings match up or are at least under control as we approach what is normally an expensive time of year. Don't forget to have a good look at any payslips you receive to ensure the income and deductions match your expectations.

With the Bank of England now indicating that the base rate of interest will be increased over the shorter term, borrowing costs are likely to rise and if you have expensive debt, such as credit or store cards, or overdraft costs, then keeping these in close check is likely to be important, especially as inflationary costs are felt across the UK.

We hope you enjoy the lead up to Christmas and have some fun. However, keep a close eye on costs and expenses in the next few weeks, and if it's all too much, and as a final suggestion, agree a present price cap with your friends and loved ones and stick to it.

No individual advice is provided during the course of this blog.

Keith Churchouse FPFS
CFP Chartered FCSI
Chartered Financial Planner

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