Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Family Is What Matters. Not How Much You Spend; FESTIVITIES without the Financial Worry Are Priceless, Says MARIE TURBILL. So Have Yourself a Budget-Friendly Christmas

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Family Is What Matters. Not How Much You Spend; FESTIVITIES without the Financial Worry Are Priceless, Says MARIE TURBILL. So Have Yourself a Budget-Friendly Christmas

Article excerpt

Byline: MARIE TURBILL

THIS year we are all counting the cost of Christmas.

But where's the fun in a festive season worrying about the bills hitting the doormat come January? Dad-of-two and financial adviser Nick Matthews, managing director of Norton's MG Shaw (UK) Limited, says: "At this time of year everyone needs to watch the pennies.

"It's not about being an Ebenezer Scrooge, it is just being frugal."

He says, in the current economic climate, additional debt is always best avoided.

A dad himself, he knows the cost of Christmas. Nick and wife Louise, along with their daughters, Bethany, 17, and Hope, 12, of Ingleby Barwick, enjoy a traditional family Christmas.

"We get up, open presents, I cook dinner, we get family round or we go visiting and then we come back and play board games," he says.

"It is spending time with the family that matters, not how much you spend."

When it comes to Christmas, the money man says the best advice he can offer is to, "budget, budget, budget". He says: "Work out how much you have to spend and then compare it with who you have got to buy for. Decide on a budget that is affordable and then stick to it!" Remember to take food and parties into account and even decorations and wrapping paper.

Make use of promotions and discount vouchers: "One of the good things about being in the current economic situation is that there are lots of discounts, sales and special offers to be had," he says. But only buy what you need, don't be tempted by something just because it is cheap.

Nick suggests other ways to cut the cost of Christmas include making your own decorations and cards, lighten the load among friends by organising a Secret Santa, and choose an artificial tree and store decorations carefully so they can be used year after year.

And where possible he says: "Avoid credit, it's important not to get in to debt for Christmas.

"In the current climate you have to budget properly. …

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