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Budgeting for Christmas

Budgeting for Christmas

Christmas can be expensive, but it’s not worth getting into financial difficulty. Be realistic and plan your budget. Remember, rent, utility bills, food bills and other debts still have to be paid.

Together Housing Financial Inclusion Officer, Tina Hutchinson, says: “If you do need more money, don’t just run up an overdraft. If you can afford it, pay for your goods outright by cash, cheque or debit card, don’t be persuaded to take out credit agreements unless they really do work out cheaper.

“If you’re going to use a credit card, shop around and compare terms and conditions,” says Tina. “Some cards charge high interest rates, but provide interest free periods or discounts. Budget for all these costs and put the payment dates in your diary.”

Whatever the deal, don’t buy or borrow from unauthorised traders and lenders.

Tina has some advice if you decide to look for credit: “Check for hidden extras in any credit agreement. Work out the total amount payable, making sure the monthly instalments are within your budget before signing. Interest free credit can seem attractive, but if you don’t pay on time or miss a payment, you could have to pay a lot more.”

A local credit union can sometimes offer loans at lower rates of interest as well as encourage you to save for the future and many offer Christmas saving schemes. You can check  to find one in your local area.

If you’ve borrowed money, don’t forget it won’t be long before you have to make a payment. Make sure you pay on time, even if it is only the minimum, or you will be faced with additional charges. Although it might be the last thing on your mind, once Christmas is over, it might even be a good time to start saving for next Christmas!