Help to control spending and cut debts this Christmas
There’s no escaping it. If you have been anywhere near a shop this weekend you’ll know the annual Christmas retail bombardment is in full swing. And as Christmas gets ever closer, thoughts turn to buying gifts, nights out and making sure loved ones have a good time.
However, given the situation with rising costs, working out how to pay for it all can be challenging. While we all know there are some things that are out of our control, there are a lot of things we can control, or take back control of. How much you spend is one and how you deal with your debts is another. So what can you do to make sure a festive splurge doesn’t turn into a Christmas spending / debt cycle?
Here are some ideas -
Cutting Christmas Costs:
- First and foremost - work out what you can afford. Write down your income and expenditure and create a working budget.
- Don’t be a brand snob. Shop around and don’t be put off by generic brands.
- Beware of glossy brochures! It’s easy to get carried away with the fancy festive food and drink ideas that feature in the supermarket advertising. These tend to be over-priced and seldom live up to expectations.
- Rethink gift giving. Many of us give out of habit. How about this year you agree to stop buying gifts for some people? Chances are they are looking to stretch their budget too.
- Introduce a spending limit. This could be a lower budget per child if you have a large family or where there is a group of people, you each contribute an agreed amount and each person receives a single gift of a higher value.
- Give a Christmas ‘Helping Hand’ Gift Cheque. Give the gift of your time or your talent e.g. washing a car or making a meal.
These ideas can help people to focus on what they really need or want, reduces ‘for the sake of it’ purchases, reduces potential landfill and reduces unnecessary spending.
Cutting Christmas Debts:
Debt created at Christmas plays a role in some of the cases we deal with. Some people are still paying off Christmas-related debt in the following summer, just to begin the cycle again in November. For those with children, this is a difficult area. But changing habits this Christmas could be the beginning of building a better, debt-free future for the whole family.
- Cut up or hide those credit cards. One of the best ways to reduce debts is to stop creating new debts.
- Think carefully if you are going to charge a purchase to a credit card, is it absolutely necessary?
- Focus on reducing or paying off one debt at a time. Try paying more to one debt while perhaps making just the minimum payments on all the others and once that debt is cleared do the same again for the next one. If you can clear one, it’s a great incentive to keep going.
- Look for balance transfers to lower rates or no-interest deals, then concentrate on clearing that debt first before the lower interest rate expires.
These ideas might not immediately help your Christmas cashflow but are worth adding to the New Year ‘To Do’ list.
- Go through your bank statement and highlight items you can reduce or cut completely.
Things like -
Old subscriptions that you no longer use or can do without like music, gaming or magazines.
Gym membership – Can you justify the monthly fee? Consider alternatives like cycling, running, or walking or a free phone app to monitor your exercise and set goals.
TV Subscriptions - is there a cheaper alternative? Online streaming or plug-in USB sticks that will provide numerous channels for a one-off cost could be the answer.
- Shop around for all insurance policy renewals.
- Grow your own vegetables and batch cook to save energy.
We hope you found these suggestions useful. However, if you have problem debts that never seem to get any better or have become unmanageable, then speak with one of our advisers. We’re always happy to help you find the right solution to deal with problem debt.
Senior Insolvency Manager
Phone: 01383 628814
Mob: 07519 124657
Phone: 01383 628828
Mob: 07872 376105
Phone: 01383 628812