Despite Christmas spending falling by 1.5% in December 2017, millions of Britons started 2018 with a massive amount of debt. According to National Debtline, 16% of British people are falling behind with their finances this January due to overspending at Christmas, resulting in a huge debt hangover for some 7.9 million individuals. This figure is 11% higher than it was the previous year. As a leading cash for clothes scheme, we understand more than most the importance of finding ways to claw back the cash, especially after the festive season. However, you don’t have to let your holiday debt last until Christmas 2018.
Get holiday debt free in months, not years, by calling on the following tips, and get financially prepared for the year ahead. Who knows you may even be able to put some money away for next Christmas…
- Get clued up on what you owe
Knowing how much you owe is of course the first port of call. Whether you took out a credit card to pay for Christmas, extended your overdraft or loaned off mum and dad, identifying your debts is the perfect start to taking control. As well as listing your debts, make sure you’re aware of the interest rates and fees associated with each. You may want to pay one debt off before another to guarantee the most cost efficient route.
- Revise your existing budget
Creating and, more importantly, sticking to a budget is a great way to get a hold on household spending. In the UK, the average household spend rose to £554.20 per week with the cost of transport the biggest area of expenditure for families with and without children. By devising a budget you can highlight your family’s biggest areas of expenditure, and where possible reduce figures to a more manageable and beneficial level.
Before you get started with a record of spending and your new budget, gather your bank and card statements to ensure you accurately record expenditure. You can then begin to prioritise where money needs to be spent and where it shouldn’t be spent – it’s amazing how much the average UK family spends on takeaways and eating out. When budgeting, be honest, consistent and realistic. Don’t restrict yourself too much by planning for occasional expenses, and both fixed and variable expenses, such as utility bills, food shopping and travel.
- Consider a balance transfer
If, like many Britons, you did most of your Christmas spending on credit cards, a 0% balance transfer may be a great starting point. Interest rates can hit hard when the usual zero interest introductory periods come to an end, turning what was a great way to spend into a debt that’s difficult to shift. Many 0% balance transfer products have interest-free periods of up to 30 months, giving you plenty of time to pay off your debt without the worry of rising costs. It’s free to transfer balances of up to £2,000 across many balance transfer options, and with the All in One Credit Card from Santander, you can even earn cashback.
The only downside of balance transfers is if you don’t pay off your balance before the interest-free period ends you may be hit with high rates, meaning you’ll be back to square one.
- Don’t just transfer credit card debts
Balance transfers can also be used to get you back into the black with your overdraft too. Like balance transfers, money transfers come with interest-free periods, the best being as long as 32 months. Unlike some balance transfers however, most money transfer products come with a transfer fee. It may however be worth footing to avoid the daily fees that go hand-in-hand with arranged and unarranged overdrafts.
Switching your current account to a banking product that comes with a fee-free overdraft is another option. Switching to a fee-free overdraft bank account however is subject to the size of your existing overdraft and your credit rating.
- Trade in your old clothes for cash
Making money from your unwanted clothes is no new thing, and with thousands of customers using our cash for clothes scheme every single day, it has become an excellent route to extra income. There are so many reasons to sell your clothes for cash, and our cash for clothes scheme makes it easier than ever to do so.
Simply request your free Genie collection pack, fill up your bag on receipt, book your free collection, and sit back and look forward to payment within 24 hours of valuation. We take most unwanted clothing items off your hands. We cannot however accept clothing from charity shops, other cash for clothes companies, jumble sales, house clearances or car boot sales. We also don’t accept uniforms (school, work or sports), homemade knitwear, personalised clothing or trade stock. Other than that all we ask is for clothes to weigh more than 10 kilos in total.
- Switch your energy provider
With spring on its way, you’re probably already the unlucky recipient of an annual gas and electricity summary. Not great timing considering the level of debt that Christmas brings. Finding the lowest rates for your gas and electricity is still worth doing however, and could save you lots of money in the long run.
There are a number of comparison services available, such as Money Supermarket and uSwitch, each of which make switching as easy as 1, 2, 3. Your switch provider will in fact handle the entire process for you, arranging suitable switch dates with both your new and existing suppliers.
- Bank elsewhere to unlock bonuses
Competition is rife amongst today’s banks and building societies, and now most offer cash rewards for banking with them. Generally between £100 and £150, switch bonuses not only provide a great incentive for switching to a current account with better features or rates, but give you a bit of extra cash to pay off some of your Christmas debts.
- Sell your unwanted gifts online
Christmas is a time for giving, but what if the gift you got wasn’t so well received? Spare yourself the embarrassment of returning unwanted gifts by selling them online. eBay, Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are just some of the big name platforms you can use to sell unwanted gifts and other items. Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree even let you flog unwanted belongings for free, leaving you to pocket all you earn. Some people have even made a living from selling bits and bobs on eBay, Etsy and Gumtree. If you’ve got a lot of things to shift however, be aware that selling in large volumes could be seen as income, which you will be liable to pay tax and National Insurance on.
If those unwanted Christmas gifts and items come in the form of CDs, DVDs, games and devices such as laptops, phones and consoles, you could get your cash even quicker by using trade-in websites. WeBuyBooks, CeX, Ziffit, GameXchange, Momox and Music Magpie are just some of the trade-in websites that provide an instant quotation on items and quick payment upon receipt via cheque, PayPal or bank transfer. Books can also be big sellers on selected trade-in sites, eBay and Amazon Marketplace.
- Turn household waste into a small fortune
Paying off your Christmas debts has never been so easy, you can turn a profit from items that have until now ended up in the bin. From toilet roll tubes, plastic milk bottle tops and champagne/wine corks to jam jars, glass ramekins and coat hangers, it’s surprising what you can sell online. Most rubbish items will have to be sold in bulk but items like empty perfume and aftershave bottles can be sold individually at a price of £5 to £8 each on sites like eBay!
Gumtree, Preloved, Facebook Marketplace and other Facebook groups are all platforms that are perfect for selling household waste to the craft community.
- Head to your local car boot
We may not have the weather for it, but selling at a local car boot, jumble sale or garage sale can be an excellent earner with the right items. You can find your nearest car boot sale via directory sites Car Boot Junction and CarBootSales.org, but be sure to arm yourself with some haggling skills. You’ll find seasoned pros at car boot sales, who’ll drive a hard bargain to get their hands on your goodies. By selling at car boot, jumble and local garage sales, you not only have the perfect opportunity to declutter but could earn hundreds of pounds to help lower your debt further.
- Sell other dust-gathering possessions
If you’ve got more prized items, such as your old wedding dress or gold jewellery, to sell you may not get the price you deserve at your local car boot. For wedding dress sales head to sites like Preloved, Gumtree, The Dressmarket or Sell My Wedding Dress (there is a fee of £10 for this one, but your ad can stay live for up to six months). Cash for gold services aren’t difficult to find either. Get a range of quotes to guarantee the best price for your unwanted gold at pawnbrokers, jewellers and postal gold websites.
- Tell your story for cash
Magazines are always on the lookout for good stories, so if you’ve got one, don’t be shy about sharing it as you could bag yourself a cash reward. Take A Break and Real People pay up to £2,000 per story. Submitting your story is easy too, simply fill in their submission forms online to get the ball rolling. A great story could just clear your entire Christmas debt and set you up for next Christmas too!
- Rent it out for rewards
Exploiting the assets you already own is certainly something that should be explored when settling holiday debt. Once your debt is settled, continuing to rent could provide a great source of extra income for you and your family.
Got a spare room that no one has been into for ages? Get a lodger. You can earn up to £7,500 per year tax-free thanks to the government’s Rent a Room scheme. If you’re not keen on welcoming a stranger into your home, why not use that extra space to store someone else’s belongings? Storage comes at a premium in most UK homes, and many will pay for the privilege to store their belongings in a loft, garage or spare room. Storemates is just one service that connects those in need of storage with those who have it, and it works out 50% cheaper than most self-storage units. You can list your space to find a storemate close to you, and earn up to £600 per year in the process. Please note, this figure is based on a 20 square foot storage space in south London.
It’s not just spare rooms that are ripe for renting. You can rent out your driveway or house amongst other things.
- Reclaim tax on your work uniform
For people who wear a uniform at work, and are in charge of maintaining it, you could be entitled to a tax rebate. Some people have claimed up to £200 thanks to employee tax reliefs. You can even claim for the past five years of expenses if you have been responsible for repairing, cleaning or replacing your work uniform. Tax reliefs can also be claimed for work safety boots.
- Ask for a pay rise
2018 couldn’t be a better time for a fresh start, and what better way to begin than with your career and, more importantly, your pay check. Asking for a pay rise isn’t the taboo that it used to be. If you work hard, why shouldn’t you get paid more? By asking for a pay rise the average family could bring an extra £5,000 in each year.
You’re certainly in the right place to get started with your Christmas debt repayments! Sell your clothes for cash by requesting your free Genie collection pack today. Looking for more ways to earn a little extra? Check out our latest blog for 50 ways to make extra money.