Christmas savings catalogues
Christmas 2009 is not yet here, but there are an abundance of companies ready to help towards the cost of Christmas 2010.
You are sure to have seen the adverts for companies such as Park promoting an easier, less stressful way of saving for Christmas and may have wondered if this would be the best option for you.
Having looked into how this type of company works it would appear that you usually have a few options, one being that you can order a Free Catalogue or look at their Online Catalogue, choose the gifts you want and then pay instalments. The last instalment would be November and on this payment you would need to have paid for all your gifts.
The draw backs of this option are that you may change your mind over the year, or the person for whom you are buying the gift may buy it for themselves or go off it. The other negative is that you would normally be paying the Recommended Retail Price for your gifts, where if you shopped around you would probably find them cheaper.
However, most of the companies also offer you the option of saving towards High Street Vouchers or Love2Shop Vouchers. This means that you can either give the vouchers as gifts, or you can use the vouchers yourself and shop around at Christmas time, making the most of the savings. The drawback, of course, is that you are limited as to where you can shop. Click here for an idea of where vouchers can be redeemed.
Regular Savings Accounts
Would you be better off choosing to set up a Regular Savings Account with a Bank or Building Society? Well, this depends on the current Interest Rates being offered and with The Bank of England base rate dropping, so are the Interest Rates on Savings Accounts. It also depends how strict you can be with yourself not to dip into your account before Christmas if the Saving Account you choose does not have any notice period.
You could choose to set up a Direct Debit to ensure that you do actually make regular deposits into your Savings Account, and even choose a Savings account where you cannot access your account for a set time such as 3, 6, 9 or 12 months. If this resulted in your funds not being available until after Christmas then if you have a Credit Card you could choose to make purchases on your card and then clear your balance when you have access to your regular saver (better still, pay for it with a reward credit card and get some cashback). With this option you would have to be very careful not to get your dates wrong; realise that your funds are available after your credit card payment date and as a result you will incur charges.
Bonuses and Commissions on Christmas Catalogues
You can also ask your family and friends whether they would be interested in ordering from a Christmas Catalogue. This will earn you commission on their purchases, which you can use towards your own purchases, however, this means a committment to collect their weekly installments, and to pay it over to the company, on their behalf.
Examples of commissions available
* Up to 25% on Hamper, Fresh or Freezer Meat, Jewellery or Christmas related purchases such as Trees, Decorations, Cards and Wrapping Paper.
* 5% on Sweets, Cakes and Drinks
* 3% on Electrical Goods
* 10% on other purchases
* 3% on High Street Vouchers exceeding a total of £70.00 but less than £2000
* 4% on High Street Vouchers exceeding £2001
* 2% on other vouchers or experiences which total more than £675.00
If your total order is less then £750.00 the you may not be eligible for the rates above and may only be credited a lower percentage bonus.
How to Work out Percentages
A simple way of working out a percentage is:-
1% = 1p in every pound
2% = 2p in every pound and so on.
If you purchased £620.00 in Vouchers at a 1% Bonus Rate then you would earn a bonus of 620p (£6.20), 1p in every one of the 620 pounds.
How Secure is Your Money?
The security of your money if the company goes into difficulty can be a real issue especially in the current climate and when companies such as Farepak Hampers were declared bankrupt. This resulted in the loss of Christmas Savers money back in 2006 and a package for compensation was established in Oct 2008 but only looks to compensate savers with 5p of every pound which they had saved. Before signing up with a Christmas Savins Catalogue, look what guarantees or insurances they have in place if they were to go bust (if any). Understandably, along with the current climate this is going to create cause for concern and may put people off using Christmas Savers altogether. Take a look at our Savings section and consider the types of savings accounts available, this should give you the information that you need to help decide which option is right for you.