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Don’t be a seasonal spendthrift with a festive financial hangover

Ten tips from the top for a crisis free Christmas

A leading debt management company is urging financial restraint in the build up to the festive season, to avoid suffering from the worst kind of New Year hangover – a severe financial headache!

Debt Advisory Line, which has been awarded the title of Debt Management Plan Provider of the Year, reports huge increases in those turning to the company for debt advice from November through to January.  In January of this year, for instance, Debt Advisory Line saw a massive 40% increase in new customers compared to the pre xmas period and 2010 looks set to worsen for consumers nationwide.

Mike Ransom of Debt Advisory Line said: “The festive season is obviously a key emotive period for many where buying expensive gifts, entertaining and even hosting the Christmas dinner can leave a trail of destruction and people can end up with the headache of picking up the financial pieces when it’s all over in January. We have put together some simple steps to help people take stock of the situation before the season begins so they can avoid plunging into avoidable debt problems and enjoy the holiday period without the financial hangover. It is worth bearing in mind that a considerable amount of Christmas debt will be repaid for most of the following year so think ahead for the best results.”

Get the best out of Christmas and the New Year by following some simple advice  - here’s some top tips from those in the know!

  • Create a budget that gives a realistic amount you can afford to spend on Christmas – not just gifts but the cost of going out socialising, including that all important Christmas do.
  • Money can be saved by eating in – our food and alcohol consumption peaks considerably over the Christmas period.
  • Do not overstretch yourself buying expensive Christmas presents – bear in mind more thoughtful gifts and only spend what you can afford. This is easier to do if you plan ahead rather than panic buying and spending more than you intended.
  • If you are going to use credit, always try and obtain interest free credit so you are not paying any more than necessary for presents.
  • Try and get an interest free deferred payment. However, you do need to ensure you budget and make monthly payments into a separate account so when the payment is due you have the money available.
  • Failure to repay a deferred payment in full will usually result in the credit being converted in a high APR loan – which nobody wants to do.
  • If you think you are going to struggle over the Christmas period speak to your mortgage lender and other creditors. They will often be able to make short-term arrangements to help stop you drowning like giving you a payment holiday or reducing your repayment for a period.
  • It is important you maintain all payments, but there are certain priority debts that have bigger implications if you don’t pay them for example mortgage / rent, secured loans, utilities, child maintenance etc. if you don’t make these repayments, you couldcface losing your home or having your gas, electricity or water supply cut off.
  • If you are struggling to pay your priority debts because you are paying non priority debts (unsecured loans, credit / store cards, catalogues, mobile phones, overdrafts) you need to change your focus so priority debts get paid. You may also want to cancel your gym membership, magazine subscriptions and what better time to give up smoking!
  • If, even after changing your focus and trying to budget more effectively, you are still struggling to make your monthly payments then a different solution is needed.  Debt solutions are available in the form of Debt Management Plans, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), Protected Trust Deeds (PTDs) in Scotland and in extreme circumstances Bankruptcy.   

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For further information please contact Sue Flynn or Hannah Bryce, The Whole Caboodle on 01423 523000 or email hannah@thewholecaboodle.com