Ashfield CAB advice on how to have a debt free Christmas

How to have a debt-free Christmas with help from Ashfield Citizens’ Advice Bureau

ASHFIELD Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) has this week issued advice on how to avoid getting into debt over Christmas.

The bureau, which is based on Market Street in Sutton, offers advice on a range of issues including debt, employment, relationship breakdown and housing.

Sue Davis, who is chief executive of the Ashfield branch, said: “We all want to have the best possible Christmas and to do that it’s important to make sure you’re aware of what you’re spending and how to be more careful when you shop. If you do get into difficulties, get advice as soon as you can from us or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk.”

Here are some of CAB’s tips for not getting into debt over Christmas:

Plan early for Christmas: Be realistic and budget accordingly. Work out how much you are going to spend on each person – and stick to it. Manage expectations as to what you or Santa can give!

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 are not. Even though it’s Christmas, get your priorities right.

Don’t bank on an overdraft: If you do need more money, don’t run up an overdraft without talking to your bank first otherwise it will be more expensive.

Keep things simple: If you can afford to pay for your goods outright by cash, cheque or debit card, don’t be persuaded to take out extended credit agreements unless they really do work out cheaper.

Shop around: Try as many different places as possible to find the best price.

Buy safe to be safe: Whatever the deal and whatever the temptation, don’t buy from unauthorised traders and don’t borrow from unauthorised lenders. The initial savings and convenience may prove to be a false economy.

Read the small print: Check for hidden extras in any credit agreement and work out the total amount you have to pay. Ensure that the monthly instalments are within your budget before signing. Interest free credit can seem attractive, bt if you don’t pay on time, or miss a payment, you could have to pay a lot more.

Be organised: There’s a lot to remember at Christmas. If you’ve borrowed money don’t forget that it won’t be long before you have to make a payment. Make sure you pay on time.

Start planning and saving for next Christmas: Once Christmas is over, it’s worth looking at what you did well and what you didn’t. Learn from your mistakes and start planning how you will do things differently next year.

For more details on money management visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/fsfl_projects_toptipschristmas.htm or call into the Sutton branch.