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Budget for Christmas
1:04pm Thursday 13th January 2011 in Advice
Once again this Christmas I have over spent on presents. How can I prevent falling into this pattern again next year?
Citizens Advice has produced a ‘Top tips for Christmas’ leaflet which outlines some basic rules on avoiding a ‘debt hangover’. You can find a more extensive version of these tips at www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/top_tips_for_christmas or visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau to pick up the leaflet. For details of your nearest CAB please visit www.adviceguide.org.uk.
1) Plan early for Christmas
Be realistic and budget accordingly.
2) Don’t forget the everyday bills
Remember that rent, the mortgage, utility bills, food bills and other existing debts still have to be paid– and the consequences can be severe if they’re not.
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 takeout extended credit agreements unless they really do workout cheaper.
5) Shop around
Try as many different places as possible to find the best price.
6) Buy safe to be safe
Whatever the deal, whatever the temptation, don’t buy from unauthorised traders and don’t borrow from unauthorised lenders.
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.
8) Do your own credit checks
If you are going to use a credit card, shop around and compare terms.
9) Be organised
If you’ve borrowed money don’t forget that it won’t be long before you have to make a payment.
10) Start planning and saving for next Christmas
Learn from your mistakes and start planning how you will do things differently next year. This might also be a good time to start saving for next Christmas.