Debt tips for Christmas
Christmas is a time of giving, but you don’t want to give yourself a headache in the New Year with bills and debts you can’t afford. It’s all too easy to overspend, but you can prevent problems by reading our tips about how to manage your money over the festive period.
- Work out a budget and stick to it. Citizens Advice has an online budgeting tool to help you keep track of what you're earning and spending, as well as understanding where you might be able to cut costs, and the Money Advice Service has guidance on managing your money.
- Many people will be paid early at Christmas. If this applies to you, remember that it may be more than a month till your next pay day and plan accordingly.
- Keep an eye on your bank balance, you can be charged even for authorised overdrafts and unathorised ovedrafts can be very expensive.
- Check the dates of standing orders and direct debits and make sure that you have funds to cover them, refused payments and overdraft charges are costly.
- Don’t enter into a long-term credit agreement unless you're satisfied that it offers value for money and you know that you'll be able to afford the repayments.
- Think carefully before paying for extended warranties. You have rights as a consumer that already offer a high level of protection; the Money Advice Service has guidance on how to check if an extended warranty is value for money and you can read more about consumer protection on the Citizens Advice website.
- Short term credit is expensive, a pay day lender may charge £50 to borrow £100 for three months. There may be an alternative to pay day loans if you need to borrow money on short notice, Citizens Advice has a guide about how to shop around for the best deal on credit and information about alternatives such as using your overdraft or a credit union.
- Never borrow from unauthorised lenders, otherwise known as loan sharks. Citizens Advice has guidance about how to identify loan sharks, what to do if you owe money to one and where you can go for help.
If you're in debt and you're struggling to pay your creditors, contact us for help. Our specialist debt advisers can advise you about options for managing your debts, including negotiated repayments, token offers, bankruptcy, IVAs, Debt Relief Orders and maximising your income.