Don't give yourself a Christmas hangover

Posted by Kelly Luff in Dealing with Debt on 6 December 2016 - Kelly is a Marketing Executive at checkmyfile

If you are concerned about debt during the festive season you should get advice now, warns the National Debtline. 5m Brits worry about money in the run up to Christmas, with one in three adults putting their gifts on credit, and if you are one of them, more debt is the last thing you want for Christmas.

Research by uSwitch found that the average person is spending £750 on Christmas day, which has increased by a quarter on last year’s figures. All of this is contributing to the highest levels of credit card debts in a decade, with almost £11bn now on our plastic friends.

Because of the increase in spending, and the apparent lack of funds to pay for it, charities are warning that if you do have a rising debt problem, it is better to face it now than bury your head in the sand until 2017.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said, “Our research shows there are millions of people worrying about Christmas finances who could benefit from seeking advice now, to start to resolve their financial problems. Three quarters of callers to National Debtline tell us they feel less stressed as a result – and often that first step is the hardest to take.

“I would urge anyone suffering from worries about money or debt to seek free advice from National Debtline or another charity as soon as possible. The sooner you seek advice, the quicker we can help you to start getting back on track, and remove some of the worry that can make this time of year difficult.”

By setting a budget, making lists of presents and outgoings and sticking to the allocated spending, you can reduce the nasty surprises that make it onto your New Year credit card bill. Even visiting family costs money in petrol and extra food and drink, so it is important to factor this all into your budget.

Rather than pretending that outgoings like council tax and water bills don’t exist in December, try to pay them first, so that you know what is left. It isn’t as though you get paid twice in January, so it isn’t worth putting off paying them until the New Year.

If you already have debts, adding to them won’t make it any better and you’ll most likely be cringing inside seeing everyone opening and discarding the presents you couldn’t really afford in the first place. If this is the case, speak to one of the free debt charities to advise on how best to move into the New Year on the right footing.

It is, after all, only a few days of the year, and it isn’t worth having even more of a hangover on January 1st than normal.

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