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Avoid Christmas Debt with our Five Top Tips

With Christmas being the time of giving it’s a pretty expensive undertaking which makes it so easy to overspend to make sure that everybody has a fab time.  For families with young children, there’s a huge pressure to make sure they get all the latest toys from Santa who seems to have the fattest wallet on the planet!  However, as most adults know, Santa needs repaying at some point in the New Year so today we’re going to take a look at some top tips to use to make sure you don’t get into Christmas debt this year but still have enough spending money for the whole family to enjoy the festive season.

  1. PLAN – be realistic and try to budget accordingly.  Work out how much you can spend on each separate person and then stick to it so that you don’t spend more than you can afford.  While a couple of extra pounds doesn’t seem like a great deal, if you spend a couple of extra pounds on every person, then the pounds will mount up and could be enough to tip you over into debt.  Try to manage the expectations of each family member as to what Santa can realistically bring for them (space on the sleigh is often a little tight) to avoid disappointment on the day.
  2. PAY BILLS – don’t forget that you still have to pay your regular bills over the Christmas period.  Rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, food bills (which are bound to be a little higher when you stock up with festive goodies) and any existing debts still need to be paid so make sure you take this into account when you’re setting your Christmas budget.  Letting your bills slip for a few weeks may seem like a good idea at the time, but could leave you struggling financially at the beginning of the New Year.
  3. DON’T RELY ON DEBT – if you do need more money over Christmas, try not to just run up an overdraft without discussing it with your bank first or it could work out to be much more expensive.  Pay day lenders charge higher interest rates and should be avoided if possible.  However you manage to raise a little extra money for Christmas, check the full payback amount before going ahead and make sure you keep to the repayment dates.
  4. SIMPLIFY – things as much as possible by paying for goods with cash, cheque or debit cards.  Don’t be persuaded to take out extended credit agreements or store cards unless it does really work out cheaper for you.
  5. SHOP AROUND – when you’re buying goods, especially as gifts, do your research and shop around before committing to purchase.  Finding the best possible price (making sure to take the postage costs into account) is a great way to reduce the costs at Christmas.  Beware of extended warranties because the cost of repair is very often less than the cost of the warranty.  By shopping sensibly you’ll get the best deals at the best prices.