Many of us look forward to the festive period, but for those who are struggling financially, it can bring a lot of undue strain.
While the holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year, they can also take a toll on your purse strings, with people often feeling the pressure to buy the must-have toy on the market for their kids or the most luxurious present for their loved one.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. It’s possible to have a fantastic time during the festive season, without taking extra financial strain and debt into the new year.
Ways to avoid Christmas debt
During the holidays many people put the blinkers on and pull the credit cards out.
Sometimes, in the sparkle and glow of Christmas shopfronts, with all the bustle and energy of the high street, it’s easier not to think about the flurry of bills that will be arriving in January – but it’s always important to be realistic about the consequences of your spending.
If you get caught up in the moment while you’re shopping, you run the risk of regretting your unrealistic spending when January comes around.
With that in mind, the best way to avoid running up debt during the festive period is to prioritise. Make sure all your essential bills like your mortgage, electricity, council tax and phone are paid before anything else. Ignoring these for the sake of festive purchases will only cause you trouble further down the road.
Once you’ve taken care of these bills, it’s best to sit down and plan out your holiday spending. To make sure you do this in a way that won’t come back to haunt you, you can follow these simple steps:
- Set a budget and stick to it – Write out all your expenses and take them away from your income. What’s left is the money you can use for festive spending. Make sure any holiday costs that you include in this do not go over this amount, including future credit card payments.
- Plan ahead– Save a little each month to give you a buffer for extra spending. This is one of the smartest things you can do as the less you have to find during the holidays the better off you’ll be.
- Spread the cost– Buying gifts throughout the year helps give you less to buy when the festive period rolls around. If you see the perfect holiday gift on sale in July and you can afford it, don’t hesitate. No one will know or care when you actually bought it.
- Keep track of your festive spending– Keep an ongoing record of expenses and always compare it to your budget. If you find yourself exceeding your budget, put on the brakes.
- Avoid hidden costs– Keep an eye on your bank balance and credit limit to make sure you don’t face any penalties, overdraft charges or interest. Hidden expenses can be a budget-killer.
To avoid getting into unnecessary Christmas debt, you could always try to raise the money by selling items on eBay, or having a garage sale. That way you can have a festive clear-out and earn some guilt-free holiday spending money in the process. You might also consider taking on a seasonal job to help you earn some extra cash.
Another option is taking out a Christmas loan, although you need to be sure you’ll be able to repay this completely within the (often short) time frame given to you – or you could find yourself in hot water.
And if you do find you’ve overspent during the holidays and need Christmas debt help, there are many debt counselling agencies out there who can help. Just keep in mind that the best course of action is not to overspend to begin with.
If you’ve found yourself feeling the January blues when it comes to money, contact us today.
We can give you free, helpful advice on how to bring your situation under control.