The 12 Debt Tips Of Christmas

We all want to be generous at Christmas – but with so many families facing reduced incomes this year, how do you make sure you don’t end up with your own personal credit crunch come January?

Here are Debt Advice Foundation’s top tips for keeping your Christmas spending under control:

  1. Talk to your friends, family and partner about Christmas spending.  They are probably as worried as you are.  Agree some spending limits, and you’ll all feel better about spending less on each other.
  2. Make a list and stick to it.  This will reduce the risk of impulse buying - and you are less likely to buy too many gifts because you’ve forgotten what you’ve already bought.
  3. Don't max out your store cards.  Interest free credit can be a great way to manage your Christmas shopping, but only if you are sure you understand when the interest free period ends and are certain you can repay the debt in full and in time.
  4. Look at discount and voucher sites.  But make sure you only use them to things that are already on your list!
  5. Manage your children's expectations.  Be honest and tell them what sort of presents Santa can afford this year – and what he can’t.  And hold off buying their presents for as long as possible – that game they can’t live without may change on a weekly basis. 
  6. Spread the cost of the Christmas.  Trying to do it all in one month is where most people tend come unstuck. There will be times in the year when you feel a bit better off than others, so try to maximise your saving and present buying during those periods.
  7. Make gifts and decorations with your children.   Homemade presents are always a big treat, especially for grandparents.
  8. Shop online.  This allows you to compare prices more easily and plump for the cheapest – but don’t be dazzled by special offers for things that aren’t on your list.
  9. Remember to use your loyalty points.  Many people forget or simply underestimate the points they've accumulated over the previous twelve months.
  10. Take advantage of store vouchers and discount days.  Check to see whether stores are giving away discount vouchers with purchases. Holding back half of your purchases for another day may allow you to use a voucher next time around.
  11. Design your own personalised gift voucher to be used in the post-Christmas sales.  Waiting for the sales makes financial sense but it can still be seen as Scrooge-like by some. Designing your own gift voucher shows you've put love and care into it.
  12. Don't bury your head in the sand.  If you have an existing debt problem, deferring the inevitable is just going to make the situation worse. In fact, taking out additional credit immediately before seeking help can result in some debt remedies being made unavailable to you. Speak to a debt advice charity like Debt Advice Foundation as soon as possible - you'll have a much happier Christmas knowing you're on the road to recovery.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Debt Free New Year

From all at Debt Advice Foundation.