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Start planning now for Christmas 2008 says Moneyfacts

11 December 2007
It's not too early to start planning for next Christmas to make sure you take advantage of good savings accounts interest rates and do not fall into a debt spiral that you could be paying off for many Christmases to come, says

Last-minute shopping and waiting for online present purchases to arrive in the post can be stressful and some of us wish that we were more organised, but this stress can be avoided by planning ahead, Moneyfacts' research found.

Planning for Christmas in advance can be good for the bank balance as well as the stress levels, as saving up to buy presents means less debt and credit card hangovers in January.

Moneyfacts recommends a basic savings account for the less-disciplined saver, where even a small amount each month can grow and buy quite a few Christmas presents. However, it warns of committing too much to a savings account and not leaving enough for living expenses, so urges consumers to think about what they can afford.

Moneyfacts issues a word of warning for those looking for the best savings accounts: "Over the last few weeks, has seen the launch of several festively titled regular savings accounts which, started now, could provide the perfect savings plan for Christmas 2009." said Rachel Thrussel, head of savings at Moneyfacts.

She encourages savers not to be "lulled in by headline grabbing rates without first knowing the full terms of the account. These high rates don’t come easily. To get the top rates, you will have to be prepared to jump through hoops, perhaps being required to open other accounts with the provider, take out an investment plan or buy a protection product."

Ms Thrussel also reminds savers to be mindful of other savings options available to them, such as ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) and fixed rate bonds.

"A regular savings account can be ideal for an undisciplined saver with a specific purchase in mind," she said, "but all savers should bear in mind the restrictions and conditions that come with the great rate. There are some great rates available in other savings markets too."

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