Your Money – with Peter Jones

TV’s famous Dragon whores out his name to badly-written Sky Magazine column every month, although this time around it looks to be missing…

It’s been a disappointing month for me, readers. My ghost writer drafted up my column as usual and I made sure he packed it with plenty of sound, money-saving advice for the festive season – plus we cleverly added a santa hat and some tinsel to my byline photo. I have to say I was more than a little shocked when I read this month’s Sky Magazine, as it looks to have undergone something of a revamp. James Martin’s column was there as usual, as were those of Ben Fogle and Gok Wan. Even Mariella Frostrup’s arts section was still there. But they seemed to have missed my bit out for some reason – hopefully they’ll rectify this in January, and I’ve emailed the editor, Lysanne Currie, just to be sure. Lysanne, if you’re reading this, what’s happened to my column? And why aren’t you replying to my messages?

Anyway, I’m going to soldier on with the column – you don’t get anywhere in business by allowing a slight setback to get you down. I’m made of stronger stuff and I’m determined my re-draft will show Lysanne what she’s missed out on this month. Here goes…

Christmas is often a tough time to face up to financially for many families across the country. It can be tricky for a lot of people to control spending at this time of year, with thousands going into spiralling debt which they often struggle to pay back.  It is a nightmare for parents attempting to create the perfect Christmas for their kids, and debt is often an unavoidable consequence for many as they strive to provide for the needs of their loved ones at this special time of year. Luckily, I don’t have to worry about any of that, and even despite the recession I have still profited handsomely throughout my burgeoning portfolio. I’m planning on pulling out all the stops this year and my family are in for a treat! It’s going to be a Christmas cracker and a half – and I for one can’t wait!

I’ve bought each of the kids a scale model of Jenson Button’s F1 Mercedes and we’re having a racetrack constructed in the grounds of our mansion. I’m a major petrol-head at heart and I’ll definitely be having a go in my special scaled-up version of Jenson’s supercar, come Christmas morning – it’s going to be sick! There’s going to be burning rubber and skid marks all over the place! Be warned, I’m mighty competitive and will be timing everyone’s laps…

Unfortunately, not everyone will be so lucky this Christmas. There will be thousands of people across Britain who, for a variety of reasons, will end up spending the festive season alone. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how that must feel, to be sat on your own in a bedsit, lonely and forgotten, with no loved ones to keep you company. Luckily, I don’t have to, as we’re having all the family over this year for a wonderful Christmas extravaganza – it’s going to be brilliant! We always hold Christmas at ours as there’s plenty of space for the kids to run around, plus we have several spare bedrooms should anyone need to crash over. I love being wealthy – it’s fantastic! You should give it a go…

If you don’t feel ready to become rich just yet, then you could give these Christmas money-saving tips a go – you’ll be surprised how much you might save:

Don’t buy turkey this Christmas, as it’s expensive. You can substitute it with Tesco Value Chicken Roll, which is far cheaper. Plus it’s ready sliced, meaning any leftovers can be more easily used for sandwiches on Boxing Day.

You can save money on Christmas crackers by simply not buying any at all. Be honest – can you really remember what you got in last year’s cracker? They’re needless and annoying around the dinner table, so do away with them this year – you’ll thank yourself for it.

Scotsmac is a cheaper substitute for mulled wine, so I suggest using that instead. Also, try watering it down a bit – you’ll be surprised just how far a bottle can go!

You can save on heating bills by inviting as many family members to dinner as you can. You should be able to adequately heat a 2-bedroom house from the body heat of about 9 people. Be careful to scale down the portions on dinner when inviting extra guests, otherwise this will prove to be a false economy.

Wrapping paper is frivolous and is only ever discarded. Use newspaper or magazines instead. If you’re really looking to save £££s, save junk mail pamphlets and election literature from the post and use those instead.

Right, I’m just about done. I think this column should be useful to a lot of people and it’s certainly not a lazy re-write of last year’s Christmas piece I did for Sky Magazine. I know you weren’t the editor back then, Lysanne, but I hope you appreciate the effort I have gone to in sharing my financial wisdom with the readers of your publication. At the moment I’m not altogether sure whether I want to write another column next month, but I will give it some thought over the holidays, and hopefully, if this misunderstanding is resolved in time, I will be back in January.

Merry Christmas, readers…

Peter xx

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