Should You Use a Financial Advisor or Planner?

Few of us have extensive knowledge about any area of our finances. We look at what we can find in terms of a particular investment area and then make the best decision based on the limited knowledge we’ve been able to gather together.

It’s small wonder then that some people like to use the services of a financial advisor. This won’t apply to everyone of course – some may think using such a person means they’re giving up control of their own finances. Nothing could be further from the truth but it all depends on the individual and their own views on the matter.

So – should you use one or not?

How much do you know about a particular investment type?

If you are thinking about investing in a particular investment vehicle it makes sense to find out as much as you can about it before you do so. You might be acting on misleading information. Maybe you’ve got the wrong idea about how profitable a particular investment might be. Maybe you assume it will provide a certain level of risk when actually it could be far riskier than you think.

Knowing your limits and your comfort levels is a big part of the process when considering any investment possibility. This is an area a financial planner can help you with.

They will always know more than you

This is one of the biggest reasons why some people opt to use a financial planner. Most people can find out the basics about anything using the internet or a few well-chosen books. However beyond this few people would be able to spend time researching a particular investment so they could determine whether it was suitable for them or not.

As such a financial advisor could possibly provide useful in-depth information it would be very difficult to get hold of on your own. You may be able to discover more on your own if you had the time, but few of us would have the time or the energy to delve into the details for any given financial topic. The ever-changing nature of many investments also means whatever we do learn is likely to rapidly become out-of-date before we have the chance to use it.

This is essentially what we pay a financial planner for. While they don’t suit everyone at every stage of their lives, they will suit some people more than others. As such it might be worth considering whether you have an area of your financial life that could benefit from some expert advice at one point or another. If so, you could end up with the chance to make more money than you may have done otherwise.

Perhaps more importantly, you will go into an investment with your eyes wide open instead of simply hoping for the best. A planner may make it easier for you to identify whether an investment was potentially all you had hoped for… or nothing close to it after all.

Think Long If You Invest in the Stock Market

Stock market investing is not for everyone. However if you are considering investing some money in this area, it is worth giving it some serious thought before you actually do so.

The reason for this is simple. Some people view the stock market as a place where fast gains can be made. Now in theory this is true. If you chose a particular stock to buy and it happened to appreciate in value over the space of, say, a month, you could sell it for a good profit. However in reality that doesn’t happen that often. Even when it does few people are lucky enough to have bought at the low point and are ready to sell when it hits that good profit level.

That’s why the stock market is on the whole viewed as a long-term investment vehicle. Most experts will agree with this, even though it has been noted some people are increasingly looking at short-term investments. There is more to this story than you might think, however.

History says the overall trend is up

They say hindsight is an exact science and there is a good reason for that. We should therefore check out how the stock market has performed through the years too. This can give us plenty of information on how things pan out over time. And history tells us that on the whole the general trend for the value of the stock market is a good one – it continues to move in an upward direction for the most part.

Now of course there are dips and troughs in this market. We’ve all seen news headlines that have had an effect on the markets. We’ve also read about poor results attributed to a particular business which have led to that business’s stocks taking a nosedive. We’ve equally heard stories about a business that has gone from strength to strength, leading its stock value to do the same.

The point to remember though in all of this is that there will always be drops in value of the stock (or stocks) you hold. This is never going to be any different. So if you are considering investing in the stock market you need to consider whether you are happy with this. Will you worry when the value of the stocks you have dips? Will you wonder if you should cash in those stocks or hang onto them? How will you react if you see them take a serious nosedive? Would you hang onto them in the hope they will recover or cut your losses?

These are the questions you should at least be aware of prior to investing in the stock market. It is clearly not a market everyone will be happy investing in; however you may find if you think for the long-term you would be more settled in the ups and downs of this market. If this is the case, it could be worth looking at which stocks you would invest in.

Focusing on Your #1 Financial Priorities for January

So here we are again – a brand new year is in front of us. As is tradition, the excesses of the festive season are swiftly followed by the cutbacks – and sometimes the worries – of January. If you are now counting the cost of one too many splurges in December, now is the time to do something about it.

Your options are limited of course. You can’t return everything you bought in the run-up to Christmas. Gifts for other people and food items will be long since enjoyed and used, so you have to accept whatever you spent as fact. Now is the time to focus on how to pay for it all if you are dreading the January credit card bill that is about to fall through your letter box.

Here are some tips that should help you through this period.

Focus on housing costs first

Some bills are more important than others. The #1 priority for everyone should be paying your housing costs. Nothing else matters if you can’t keep a roof over your head. For most of us, this won’t be the reality we’re faced with. However if you know you’ve got financial problems, make sure you start with getting your mortgage or rental payments sorted out.

Cut out all unnecessary expenses

Be brutal in January. What could you honestly do without this month? Oftentimes the excess of food we tend to splurge on at Christmas is still hanging around now. Store cupboard items and other things with a long expiry date that didn’t get used over the festive season can be brought out now. They will help you reduce your shopping bill this month. Brown-bag your lunches, avoid the coffee shop at work, avoid the January sales, do whatever you can to reduce your outgoings this month.

Need a new card?

If you know you have a credit card bill looming at the end of the month, consider how realistic it is that you’ll clear the whole thing. If you don’t think you can, consider swapping the balance to a 0% interest deal to pay it off with the minimum of fees.

Keep up these great habits throughout 2015

If you wanted to start the New Year by saving instead of spending money, you can still start in the right way. Once you have taken care of your bills by trying to reduce outgoings as much as possible, you can focus on the months still to come. Think about putting away even a token amount of money each week – you’d be surprised how optimistic you’ll feel even by doing this. Small habits can easily translate into bigger savings as you go along.

Of course your first priority will be to make sure you can start the year in as good a financial shape as possible. So make sure you know exactly where you stand now January is here. The steps above will help you get to where you need to be.

New Year Savings and Investment Planning

Regardless of whether you managed to save and invest money throughout 2014 or not, this is the best time to sit down and review what you’d like to do in 2015. The New Year gives us all an opportunity to look back as well as to look forward. If you did invest this year you can consider whether you achieved what you wanted to achieve, and whether you’d like to make any changes for the New Year. If you didn’t save anything you can consider how to change your approach for 2015 to make sure things will be different this time.

Same again?

Let’s assume you had a monthly investment plan in place during 2014. How did it perform in the end? Did you get the returns you expected? Did you do better or worse than you thought might be the case?

If you look back and you are happy with what you achieved, you may be happy to continue in the same vein once again. This is the easiest path to follow, but it may not be the one that is suitable for you.

Did your plans for making savings in 2014 fall by the wayside?

It is quite possible this was the case for you. Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions that don’t last longer than a day or two. This is quite common, but when you want to make headway with your savings it can be disheartening not to achieve your aims. This is particularly acute at this time of the year, when you look back and think of what you might have achieved had you had the determination to keep up with your plans.

If you’re in this position, use what you learned last year to consider how you can move forward this time around. Think of it like this – last year you didn’t have any knowledge of the challenges you might face in trying to save and invest money. This time around you’ve already tried it once. What obstacles did you come across? What tripped you up? How would you do things differently this time around? You can use all this information to tackle some of the obstacles before you even reach them in 2015. Just think of the difference that could make.

Be prepared

Whatever path you took last time, you’ll know just how to approach saving in 2015 this time. You can also consider other aspects of your approach, such as the budget you work with each month. Are you earning more now than you were this time last year? Have you had any changes in other areas of your household budget? Check all your bills to see whether there are any new deals you can take advantage of.

By doing all this you can make sure you are able to get the best start to 2015. Making an effort now could make a huge difference to where you are financially come this time next year.

How to Invest Money by Avoiding Sales Fever

Many stores hold sales both before and after Christmas to try and lure shoppers in with the promise of great discounts and bargains. However this is not just a time of bargain shopping – it is also a time when you could potentially blow a lot of cash on things you don’t really need.

If you’ve worked hard during 2014 to make sure you’ve been able to save up and invest money in places you’ve never done before, it can be very tempting to splurge once you get to Christmas. This is something we talked about last week. Yet it is also very easy to get pulled in by the many sales tactics that are used to ensure people come in and spend money – whether that’s online or offline.

If you know you’ll be tempted, perhaps the following things might be worth thinking about.

Do you really need it?

If you spot a bargain, take some time before you actually buy it. If you’re in a store, pick it up and carry it with you in case you do decide to buy it. But give yourself time to consider whether or not you really need it. Many sales play on people’s desire to feel like they’ve got a bargain. These techniques could work on you whether you like it or not, so try and cut down on the impulse buys by thinking practically instead.

Look at the actual cash

If you do spend in a store, look at the money you’d be spending instead of paying for items on a debit or credit card. Seeing the actual cash means you get a better idea of how much you’re parting with. It can be a good method of restricting what you buy or helping you realise you don’t need it in the first place.

Set the cash aside

If you successfully refrain from buying something, set the cash aside you would have spent on it. Invest it instead, or simply keep it in a jar for the time being. This will help you realise what you’ve saved. When the amount builds up you can always put it in a savings account.

Window shopping or no shopping at all?

Is it really possible only to window shop when you’re out and about and it’s sales time? Few of us could do this successfully. If you know you’ll be tempted, plan something nice to do at home instead. Maybe arrange a nice dinner with the family, or consider doing something that doesn’t involve going out.

The main thing to remember is that you do not have to participate in any sales before or after the festive season. While it can be good to get things if you are looking for affordable gifts, these sales can lead to unnecessary spending. If you have strict investment and savings plans, these can very easily be wrecked in a short space of time. Make sure you don’t wreck your plans as we ease into a New Year.

Tempted By a Last-Minute Raid on Your Savings?

You’re nearly there now. With less than ten days to go until Christmas is upon us once again, you may have planned and budgeted for this moment over much of the past year. Now you’re nearly there… and yet this eleventh hour, so to speak, can be more tempting than the rest of the year put together.

You may have had a savings plan in place since January as part of last year’s New Year’s Resolution. If you have, you’ve already gone through weeks and weeks of planning, saving and budgeting. You may well have saved up plenty in your savings or investment accounts over the past few months. Whatever your plans are for that cash, chances are those plans don’t include Christmas splurging. Ideally you’ve got a separate budget for that.

But then Christmas is actually – finally – just around the corner. Lights are twinkling, the festive trees are everywhere, people are caught up buying presents, and everyone is busy. It’s great to be in a position where you’re getting excited about the festive season and enjoying everything that comes with it. Yet one of the things that comes with it for many people is the stress of figuring out what to buy and how much to spend.

Again, planning can get you out of trouble here. However it’s still easy to be tempted to dip into those funds you’ve steadily been building up and investing over the past 12 months. When this happens you can wreck all that good work and those good intentions in moments. Especially if you happen to have a credit card handy.

If you’re in this situation now and temptation is beckoning in some way (regardless of whether it’s in the form of extra gifts, more food or simply ‘stuff’), take a moment to think. This is the best way to ensure you don’t spend January and beyond trying to put all your hard work back together again. It is incredibly easy to wreck your good intentions in moments if you’re not careful. Make sure this doesn’t happen by focusing on everything you have achieved financially during 2014. This should help ensure you don’t blow your hard work in a short space of time. Think about all the individual financial decisions you’ve made and the sacrifices you’ve made to get to where you are now. Think how hard it would be to start over from that same stage again. Do you really want to blow it?

Being able to keep a level head financially at this time of year is crucial. Those who don’t end up with a challenge come January. This challenge normally involves how they’re going to figure out how to pay their credit card bill and stay in the black at the same time. If you want to keep on going with your good efforts, let that temptation naturally dissipate now. Leave your savings and hard work untouched and celebrate the success of your resolution now. Then you can keep on going into 2015 too.

Playing with strategy – Financial Spread Betting

 

As a money-smart investor, you will undoubtedly have heard something of financial spread betting (FSB). FSB may promise an easy route to short-term returns, but without a solid, strategic understanding, those potential returns are likely to be elusive at best. FSB can be rewarding and it can be tremendously exciting, but it does require some thorough research. Here are some preliminary pointers.

As provided by the likes of the City of London-based Trade fair, FSB enables private individuals to enjoy the same market-trading opportunities as the professionals, but at a fraction of the cost. It is certainly not risk-free – far from it – but it does offer a means to trade in derivatives of the world’s leading stocks, shares, currencies and commodities.

There are number of books and websites devoted to the strategic complexities of making FSB viable as a form of investment. It originated out of a hybrid between the City’s trading rooms and the sports betting industry. On that basis the recreational emphasis of FSB ought to be kept in mind. It is possible for serious traders to use FSB as an alternative investment strategy to direct market involvement – lack of fees and no liability to Capital Gains Tax offer self-evident incentives – but this is not recommended for anyone taking their first steps in this direction.

Rather than actually effecting a purchase, the ‘investor’ places a bet on the direction of movement of the stock. In what equates to a contract for difference, any subsequent price movement will either generate a profit or a loss on the trade. The trader him / herself decides when to close the position.

Such an open-ended exposure can be alarmingly expensive if sensible precautions are not taken. This is why trades tend to be turned around in a matter of minutes. With no dividend to consider there is not long-term benefit to any longer-term logic.

The first and most fundamental piece of advice, therefore, is to fully appreciate the extent of any potential exposure and to keep it permanently in mind. Automated stop-loss functions are built into the trading desktop software – some organizations make their use mandatory – and there is every reason to use them. FSB is not an environment where anything should be taken for granted.

From the investors’ perspective, FSB rewards market knowledge. It makes sense, therefore, to restrict the number and range of markets in which you trade. Being a master of one market area is all that is required to trade successfully. Partial knowledge (which is to say imperfect knowledge) can be dangerous.

That level of knowledge is as important in determining when to open a position as it is in deciding when to close it. Providers like Tradefair offer an extensive array of historical market charts that can show moving averages or the high or low price of the last number of bars. What is less easily grasped is the level of self-knowledge that is required to use FSB effectively. Self-discipline is a prerequisite. Knowing how liable one is to lose that self-control is an important part of the equation. Positions can shift quite rapidly in FSB and whilst that can be tremendously exciting, it can also be a stringent test of resolve.

FSB does provide the means to start to play with and enjoy your financial insight and awareness, but it is certainly not inconsequential. There tend to be ‘dummy’ or demonstration packages available on the bigger sites and it is strongly recommended that these are explored as a preliminary step. They are free to use 24/7, risk free and – as this correspondent can personally attest – a fascinating way to enhance your investment options. It makes for a thoroughly enjoyable research experience.

Assessing Your Risk Comfort Level

How much risk are you content with? Different people have different limits and they’re all fine in their own way. The bit that matters is how much risk would suit you.

Most people are aware that some investment models carry a lot more risk than others. For example stocks and shares will carry a higher degree of risk than a regular savings account. However they are also very likely to deliver a much better return over a period of time.

Do we have different comfort levels for risk?

We do – even if we may not realize it. For example if you want to save a set amount of money over a relatively short period of time you might stick to a savings account. You won’t earn as much on it but you will ensure you get the cash you need by the time you need it (so long as you add enough cash to your account of course).

In contrast you can take a different approach if you have a much longer period of time to save over. Let’s say 10 years for the sake of this example. This is a period of time where you might be happy to take a little additional risk than normal. The stock market does have ups and downs but on the whole it does improve with age. Hence it would likely represent a higher level of risk if you were to approach it with the intention of investing over a short period instead of a much longer one.

What type of money are you investing?

All money is the same of course. However there are differences in the ways we approach a particular investment.

For example let’s say you have $5,000 to invest that you want to see grow so you can spend the proceeds on the cruise of a lifetime in, say, 10 years’ time. Conversely that $5,000 could simply be extra cash that you’d like to see grow in as productive a way as possible.

Clearly these two situations are very different from one another. You can see that in the first case it is imperative that you make the most of the cash you have to invest. However you do need to be sure you don’t lose that cash. In the second example you might be happy to take a little more of a risk. Since this is excess cash in a sense, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you were to lose it. Hopefully that won’t happen but you might be willing to be a little more risk-friendly in this situation.

As you can see it is always important to assess the level of risk you are happy to accept when considering investments. You should also be aware your risk level is not always going to be exactly the same every time. As we have seen above there are differences that could affect the decision you make on each and every occasion.

How Can You Turn New Year Investment Goals into a Reality?

Have you ever celebrated New Year’s Eve by setting a goal to get started on the very next day when the calendar changes to a brand new year, month and day? Most of us have. However this isn’t the smartest way to do things. It gives you precious little time to plan ahead for one thing.

So as we finally enter the last month of 2014, let’s look at how you can turn the investment goals you have for 2015 into a reality.

Start planning now

If you have an idea of what you want to achieve for 2015, how much you want to invest and where you want to invest it, this is the time to get those ideas down as a concrete plan.

Oftentimes people will set a New Year’s Resolution just as the clock strikes midnight to send us into a new year. It’s no wonder then, with so little in the way of preparation, many of these people will fail with their goals within a few short days or weeks. Start now and you’ll automatically be off to a better start.

Plan for failure

Sounds negative, doesn’t it? Yet this is exactly what you need to do in order to stand a far smaller chance of actually failing in the first place.

Every resolution will have its challenges. With dieting it is days when willpower is at its lowest. With investing it is those days when you don’t seem to have as much money to save as you thought you would. Whatever the challenge might be you can vastly reduce the odds of failure simply by planning ahead.

Think about what the most likely challenges are going to be in your own unique situation. Are you likely to be tempted to spend frivolously when you get paid for example? Would you be likely to forego investing altogether if you missed just one month? Think about the potential stumbling blocks in your situation and find ways you can combat them. By having potential solutions in place in advance – just in case you need them – you stand a better chance of successfully investing for as long as you need to.

The New Year starts now

We may still have a month to go on the calendar but in a sense it really does start now. The plans you put in place in the next few weeks could make the world of difference when it comes to achieving what you truly want to achieve in the New Year.

You also have time to crunch some numbers to work out whether you can save what you want to save and achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. Starting out with a completely unrealistic goal is a real possibility if you don’t, which is yet another reason to get started now.

Even though we’re all getting caught up in the rush of the holiday season, there’s always a little time left for you. Why not use it productively?

Check out ETX Capital’s Spread Betting Platform

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So lets start with:

What is Spread Betting exactly?

Spread betting is an exciting and fast-paced method of trading which allows you to take a position without actually owning the options in question; the main advantage being that your initial deposit only needs to be a fraction of the actual price of the product.

Who is ETX Capital?

ETX Capital is the brand name of the holding company Monecor Ltd which is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to provide financial trading services. The company specializes in providing its customers with access to multiple types of markets through derivatives such as CFDs and spread bets. Since the establishment of the company’s roots in the early 70s, the company’s growth had been driven by unrivalled customer service. This customer orientated approach is also the guiding principle behind all of ETX Capital business operations, from the Sales, Client Support and its technical operations.

Why should I use ETX Capital for Spread Betting?

By selecting ETX Capital as your spread betting provider, you will receive;

  • Thousands of spread betting markets to choose from – including Indices, Currencies, Commodities and Equities.
  • 4 Different Trading PlatformsETX Trader, ETX TraderPro, ETX MT4 and ETX Binary – each tailored to suit a different trading style.
  • Award Winning Services
  • 2011 – Best Value for Money – Investment Trends
  • 2012 – Broker with the Best Online Charts – Money AM
  • 2013 – Best Provider of Forex Trading Tools and Software – UK Forex Awards
  • High quality customer service – Our multilingual Customer Service Team is here to answer any questions or solve any difficulties which you might be experiencing. ETX also offers a support website available in more than fifteen different languages, giving a wide range of answers to frequently asked questions.
  • An education programme – ETX runs international trading seminars, online trading webinars and extensive trading courses for clients. For more information, visit our Education and Tools page.
  • Significant security measures and FCA regulation – ETX Capital is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. Client funds are secured in trust with top tier banks and kept completely separate from company money. ETX Capital is also part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme; in the unlikely event of company bankruptcy, individual clients are entitled to up to £50,000 worth of compensation.

ETX Capital Platform

Their technological advanced proprietary platform is powerful and fast. Trades can be executed within a time span of less than a second letting traders lock in the prices that they want. In addition, Trade-through charts capability and one click trade execution features helps to cut down the traders’ trading time. Other main strengths about the ETX Capital Proprietary platform include features such as watch lists, guaranteed stops.

So to Summarize

ETX Capital’s spread size is one of the tightest available on the market, starting from just 0.5 with a minimum stake of just 50p. The small spread combined with the low stake make it an ideal place for beginners who have less cash to trade with. However, the spread size may be increased if a position is opened outside of regular exchange trading hours.

No deposit is required to open an account and transfers as low as 1p can be accepted from debit and credit cards.

ETX Capital is also a good source of spread betting education and customers can use free webinar sessions to acquire more knowledge about the market. They also offer seminars for traders to attend in person which are suitable for all levels of experience and are a relatively unusual benefit amongst spread betting firms.

Whilst trading, there are a number of resources supplied by ETX Capital as a means of helping investors keep up to date. A global newswire provides an ongoing news stream of important economic events and news from around the world, while early birds can enjoy the Daily Market Bite, a snapshot of what’s hot and what’s not and what to expect in the day ahead.

In the event of any problems, all customers have their own account executive contact at ETX Capital and can reach them via a personal email address or on a direct-dial number.

 

How to Properly Manage Your Money

If you want to invest more money (or even invest anything at all) you have to know how to manage the money you have. If you earn $3,000 a month and you spend at least that, you shouldn’t be surprised when you realise you don’t have anything left to save.

In reality it doesn’t matter how much you earn: the part of the equation that matters most is making sure your outgoings don’t outstrip your income. You have to make sure you always spend less than you earn if you want to keep some back to sink into an investment (whatever it may be).

Properly managing your money starts with budgeting. It also starts with reducing your income as much as you can. It might seem overly picky but it works well to account for every cent you spend. If you pay for everything using a credit card and then pay it off at the end of the month you can end up losing track of what you’re actually spending. This doesn’t bode well if you’re trying to free up some cash to invest in a savings vehicle of some kind.

Of course we’d all like to earn more and there are plenty of ways to do just that. However most people would find it easier to reduce their outgoings before doing anything else, so it makes sense to focus on this first.

Use budgeting tools

If you really want to manage your money well you can make use of a good budgeting tool to help you along. There are plenty of these available online or as software options, so find one that suits you and use it. It might take a while to get into the habit of using it regularly but you’ll be surprised how much information you can get from it.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking small purchases don’t count either. You’ll often find these are the easiest things to strike out of your budget – and they can add up over the course of a month as well. Think about the odd coffee here and there, not to mention a newspaper or maybe a magazine. Even the odd croissant or other treat can add up if you have enough of them over an entire month.

By budgeting and taking account of what you spend where, you can keep track of where each cent goes. This in turn highlights how you can start freeing up some additional cash to put into an investment of some kind. Even if all you do is set up a basic savings account and start putting some cash into that, it could make a world of difference to where you stand financially at the moment.

As you can see, there is a lot to focus on here but budgeting sits at the very top of your to-do list. If you really want to invest some cash, start managing your money as best you can from today onwards.

How Far Can You Trim Down Christmas Spending?

It’s that time of year again: there are less than 6 weeks to go until Christmas and more and more people are starting to spend on the gifts they’ll give to friends and family members.

It’s also the time when some will be busily making homemade gifts that won’t cost as much money. Many would say the festive season has become a huge commercial exercise to bring in money. They’d be right. Certainly, if you’ve been saving and investing hard all year this is the one time when you might be tempted to put your own investment plans to the side. You’d do so in the spirit of generosity of course, but that generosity leads many people to start the New Year in debt.

If you don’t want this to include you, it’s time to consider how to create a memorable Christmas without going into debt at the same time.

Can you trim down your food spending?

In most cases the answer will be yes. Even if you’re catering for a large number of guests on Christmas Day you can still take steps to reduce the spread you lay on. Most people buy too much over the festive period and a lot of things are thrown away. Pre-plan as much as you can and look for deals to keep costs down.

Can you trim down the amount you spend on gifts?

Again the answer is usually yes. You can set budgets with everyone you buy gifts for, or alternatively consider the homemade gift route. Some people shy away from this but there are great gifts that are highly personal and don’t cost much either.

If you can knit, opt for scarves and hats. If you are good in the kitchen, homemade mince pies, Yule logs and other treats go down a storm. Either that or look out for some pretty jars and layer up some seasonal recipes in them, complete with instructions for the recipe attached. Another great idea is a hamper or basket you create yourself. Hampers are great gifts and they’re a lot cheaper (and more personal) to put together yourself.

Plan ahead

Planning your budget, your time and your list of things to do will ensure you spend less. No doubt you set investment goals earlier in the year; they’ll probably still include putting money away in December. If this is the case don’t be tempted to fail at this late stage. Instead, make sure you know what your income will be between now and Christmas and work with that – once you have taken all your deductions off of course.

Even if you haven’t even started to think about the festive season yet, you still have several weeks to make the most of saving money and still planning a great Christmas. Many people opt to go down the homemade gift route every year once they’ve tried it once. It has a tendency to get really popular among others too – and since many of us are on tight budgets it could be the best idea yet.