Have Yourself a Merry Debt-Free Christmas

This Christmas may be bigger and more expensive than ever according to retailers.

The long months of lockdown due to Covid-19 and the inability to see friends, family, mark birthdays or go on holidays means Christmas 2020 could be a long-awaited celebration.

According to the Bank of England a typical household in the UK spends over £2,500 each month but this increases by an additional £800 in December for gifts, food, drink and decorations.

Last year the Credit Unions of Wales survey found eight in ten people admit that Christmas will stretch their finances, with one in three predicting it will affect their ability to pay essential bills such as their rent or mortgage.

Set yourself a Christmas budget now and stick to it. Look at how much you overspent in 2019 and prioritise what makes Christmas special by writing a list of essentials.

It’s worth spreading the cost of Christmas over several months and not leaving it until your last payslip of the year because personal costs, like rent and utility bills need paying.

Spread the cost over several paydays so you won’t have to borrow money and your overdraft won’t be expanding as fast as your turkey-filled waistline.

There are a lot of advantages of using credit cards at Christmas but can you afford to pay for it in the cold light of New Year’s Day or will you begin 2021 with a debt-ridden hangover?

If you need to save £500 for all the trimmings, you will need to put away £30 per week and this can happen just by making simple changes to your shopping habits and general lifestyle choices.

  • You can save £170 by taking a packed lunch to work rather than buying them pre-packed which costs around £10 per week
  • When the insurances for your car, house and travel are up for renewal then consider using a comparison engine to see if you can get a cheaper deal
  • Reconsider the outgoings for your mobile phone, broadband and television subscriptions
  • We all need a holiday – most likely in the UK this year – so shop around for the best deals on accommodation and travel
  • If you’re planning a night out, look for the 2for1 deals and money off vouchers or loyalty cards for chain restaurants

Credit union members are savvy enough to put those savings into an account and watch it mount up throughout the year.

Credit unions can also offer affordable loans of between £50 and £15,000 to help you pay off any existing debts and because you’re not treated as a credit score you’re more than likely to borrow from them even if you were refused by your local bank.

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