Christmas is a time of giving, but it’s all too easy to overspend – there are tempting offers and pressures to buy, but you must decide how much you can afford before you start spending, as no one wants to start the New Year off in debt.
Planning, budgeting and organisation are essential to avoid getting into debt at Christmas.
Don’t let debt ruin your Christmas, if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.
Here are 10 top tips to staying Debt free this Christmas...
1) Plan early for Christmas, Be realistic and set a budget. Work out how much you are going to spend on each person – and stick to it. Manage expectations as to what you or Santa can give, and if you can’t buy it something, Maybe you can get creative and make something!?
2) Remember to pay your bills! Whether it’s rent, the mortgage, utility bills, food bills and other existing debts they all still have to be paid – and the consequences can be severe if they’re not. Even though it’s Christmas, keep your priorities in check.
3) Don’t bank on an overdraft If you do need more money, don’t just run up an overdraft without talking to your bank first – it will work out much more expensive.
4) Keep things simple If you can afford to pay for your goods outright by cash, cheque, or debit card, don’t be persuaded to take out extended credit agreements unless they really do work out cheaper.
5) Shop around, try as many different places as possible to find the best price. Buy what you want and not what other people say you need.
6) Buy safe to be safe, Whatever the deal, don’t buy from unauthorised traders and don’t borrow from unauthorised lenders. This could cause far more trouble then its worth.
7) Read the small print, Check for hidden extras in any credit agreement. Work out the total amount payable. Ensure that the monthly instalments are within your budget before signing. Interest free credit can seem attractive, but if you don’t pay on time, or miss a payment, you could have to pay a lot more.
8) Do your own credit checks If you are going to use a credit card, shop around and compare terms. Some cards charge high interest rates, but provide interest free periods or discounts. Budget for all these costs and put the payment dates in your diary.
9) Be organised, There’s a lot to remember at Christmas. If you’ve borrowed money don’t forget that it won’t be long before you have to make a payment. Make sure you pay on time, even if it is only the minimum, or you will be faced with additional charges.
10) Start planning and saving for next Christmas once Christmas is over, it’s worth looking at what you did well and what you didn’t. Learn from your mistakes and start planning how you will do things differently next year.
Try to enjoy the holiday or atleast a day or two,
Try not let your situation spoil this lovely time of year and precious memories with loved ones.
Have a wonderful Christmas!