Story: Tom Hunt, Pitsmoor Citizens' Advice Bureau
It's that time again when the shops are crammed with Christmas food and presents and TV full of tempting ads. It's easy to feel pressured into spending more than you can afford. Follow the CAB’s Top Tips to keep out of debt this Christmas:
• Plan ahead what you can afford. Make sure you know how much money is coming in and going out. Any left over money is what you have to budget with for Christmas.
• Work out how much you’re going to spend on each person – and stick to it.
• Try shopping just with cash – without using credit cards.
• Don't run up an overdraft without talking to your bank – this will be much more expensive than if you arrange it beforehand.
• If you do need to use credit, shop around for the lowest rate. Check that the monthly payback instalments are within your budget.
• Avoid store cards – most are poor value and some charge interest of 30%.
• Catalogues can be more expensive than buying in the shops.
• With some friends and family you could agree a ‘no presents’ pact or give home-made presents.
• Remember the big winter fuel bills come in February. Don't get into trouble because of an extravagant Christmas.
• If you do get into difficulties, don't ignore them, come to Pitsmoor CAB on Spital Hill asap. and get free, confidential, independent and impartial money and debt advice.