Avoiding accruing a post Christmas debt is essential for many UK families. However having a great celebration period and staying in the black isn't an easy task. See our top tips to avoid consumer debt problems at Christmas.

We know, we know! Halloween and bonfire night haven’t even passed yet. It is however approaching the period to begin thinking about Christmas. Christmas is a strain on many families’ finances. Not just present buying but party planning, travel and other expenses. It can become a long term problem if consumers are caught off guard. Statistics indicate ¾ of houses with children make financial sacrifices around Christmas. To avoid facing struggles this year, we have a few tips for managing your festive finances.

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Consumer debt at Christmas: Our top tips

  1. Make a thorough plan
  2. This is a good chance for spreadsheet lovers to go wild. List who you are buying for; set budgets; keep track of progress. Monitoring your spend with a budget can keep you on a steady path. It may also limit the amount of credit needed to get through the season. Where possible plan ahead and pay upfront or start saving earlier. The less you need to spend afterwards, the better.

  3. Don’t leave worries until after New Year
  4. A common answer to problems all year round is to delay. We experience debtors looking to put problems back a few weeks or months regularly. In very few circumstances is this advised. Debt can be a heavy burden, and we suggest beginning repayment as early as you can. Even if early payments are lower, start knocking the total down. A lot of gifts for families are purchased on finance like credit cards. Remember that late repayments incur charges in most forms of credit. Borrow what you are able to repay, and begin repaying early.

  5. Forget unnecessary gifts
  6. Christmas has been turned into somewhat of a festival of commerce in recent years. Don’t fall into traps of overbuying. Christmas is a time to appreciate family rather than buying the most gifts. Be smart with purchasing and remain financially safe. It is better to buy small, with nice intentions than spend for the sake of it.

  7. Don’t rely on overdrafts
  8. If you are in need of more money, do not rely on an overdraft. Your bank may not automatically approve and charges can work out very expensive. If you have an unplanned overdraft, charges can run away from you quickly. Speak to your bank or credit card providers, shop around, and find the best options. While we cannot give advice on what forms of credit to take, we advise you thoroughly investigate. Perhaps an interest free credit card will work for you, or a particular bank account, overdraft arrangement or loan. It will take time, but it could save you in the long run.

A time for celebration

Christmas can be a minefield. It can also however be a time to enjoy family and friends. Don’t fall into spending traps and Christmas could turn out to be a very enjoyable holiday for your family. If you need financial advice to prep for Christmas, we recommend services such as Citizens Advice, Stepchange and money saving expert.

Despite being a debt collection company, we have a duty of care to debtors too. If a debtor has no means to pay, it becomes a hard situation. Working with debtors to mediate ensures debts are paid and both parties find a resolution. For more about what we do, check out our service page.

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