By The CAB - 4th December 2012 1:01am
Avoiding the Christmas Debt Trap
Advice for the Citizen's Advice Bureau
Christmas is a time of giving, but you don't want to give yourself a New Year debt
hangover with credit card bills and loans you can't afford. Our top tips can help you
stay out of the red and in control of your spending:
Be realistic and budget accordingly. Work out how much you are going to spend on each person — and stick to it.
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. Even though it's Christmas, get your priorities right.
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.
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 for the best price. Buy what you want and not what other people say you need.
Whatever the deal, whatever the temptation, don't buy from unauthorised traders and don't borrow from unauthorised lenders.
Check for hidden extras in any credit agreement. Work out the total amount payable and ensure that the monthly instalments are within your budget before signing.
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, even if it's only the minimum, or you will be faced with additional charges. Put the payment dates in your diary.
For more information on managing your money and dealing with debt, visit the Citizens Advice website
Adviceline: 08444 111 444
or 03 00 33 00 650 (Mobile)
Your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau is in the Market Square, Thame
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