Citizens Advice Craven & Harrogate Districts has released a Christmas list of 12 tips to help people avoid pressure on their household budgets.
The charity’s dozen budget bullets could help guard against the heavy toll the festive season can take on family finances.
In the past 12 months, advisers at Citizens Advice Craven & Harrogate Districts helped 713
people with debt problems, 263 of whom needed advice between January and March -
traditionally the busiest months.
At the Harrogate Office, advisers helped 443 people with debt problems, 157 of them falling
in between January and March this year.
Edward Pickering, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Craven & Harrogate Districts, said:
“People can feel an awful lot of pressure on their finances over Christmas.
“But there are some simple and practical steps people can take to guard against a festive debt hangover, including early planning.”
Citizens Advice Craven & Harrogate Districts’s 12 tips for Christmas:
1) Plan early: Plan how much you are going to spend on each person and stick to it.
Manage expectations about what you - or Santa - can give.
2) Don’t forget everyday bills: It may be Christmas, but keep on top of priority bills,
such as rent and council tax. The consequences for non-payment can be severe.
3) Think twice about overdrafts: Don’t run up an overdraft without first chatting to your
bank - or it could be costly.
4) Keep it simple: Pay for your goods with cash or a debit card if you can. Don’t be
persuaded to take out credit.
5) Shop around: Look for the best price and buy only what you want, not what others
say you need. Be wary of extended warranties - often the cost of repair is less.
6) Avoid unauthorised lenders: Loan sharks may seem friendly at first, but borrowing
from them is never a good idea – even if you feel you have no other option.
7) … and unauthorised traders: Whatever the deal, don’t buy from unauthorised
traders - it may prove to be more expensive in the long run.
8) Read the small print: Check credit agreements for hidden extras and work out the
total amount to repay. Interest-free deals have a nasty sting if you miss a payment.
9) Do your own credit checks: If you plan to use a credit card, shop around - some
charge high interest, but may have lengthy interest-free periods.
10) Be organised: If you’ve borrowed, repayment will be due before you know it. Make
sure you make at least the minimum repayment or you’ll be hit with charges. Put
payment dates in your diary or set up a direct debit.
11) Start planning for next Christmas: It may sound crackers, but just after Christmas
is the best time to learn what went well this year, what didn’t, and start saving.
12) Get help if you’re worried: We can give you solid, free and impartial debt advice
online, over the phone and face-to-face.
Call Citizens Advice Craven & Harrogate Districts on 03444 111 444 or click here for help.