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Citizens Advice Bureau are offering advice to keep down the cost of Christmas
3:30pm Sunday 22nd December 2013 in News
THOUSANDS are expected to hit the shops this weekend in a last-minute, pre-Christmas buying spree.
But how many of them will be thinking about the post- Christmas debt hangover which could dominate their finances for months into 2014?
Research from the Money Advice Service suggests one person in three expects to start 2014 with Christmas-related debts, while gifts and festive entertaining is estimated to be costing an average person £487 this year.
Worse still, one person in ten is said still to be paying off last Christmas’s debts with payday loan companies’ sky-high inter est rate loans likely to this year’s celebrations.
Other research suggests a quarter of us is spending more than we can afford, while a fifth of parents feel obliged to buy children this year’s must-have present –most likely a £430 Xbox One.
The Citizens Advice Bureau, along with many other of organisations which help those in debt, are already gearing up to help people who get into financial difficulties after overspending.
Sue Murray, district manager of Rochford and District Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “Many people come to us at the start of the year, when festive cheer has given way to a realisation of the amount built up on credit cards within a short time.
“The bills still need paying and people can find themselves paying for many months and years.”
She added: “It’s about managing expenditure more effectively, and being aware of what you’re spending. People have to be sensible and know what their budget is.”
Mrs Murray stressed people shouldn’t be afraid to ask for financial advice.
She added: “There are other organisations that can help over the telephone, if people don’t want to be face to face.
“Wewant people to seek advice from whatever free source is available as early as possible.”
The Citizens Advice Bureau can be contacted by calling 0844 4770808.
CAB TIPS TO STAY SOLVENT THIS YEAR
- Remember everyday bills should be paid first.
- Be realistic about what you can afford. Agree a budget, either for each person or in total and stick to it ! Pay with cash or a debit card.
- Shop around, look out for discount vouchers and don’t forget to use any store loyalty points or vouchers you may have.
- Use websites such as megashopbot.com to compare the prices of goods.
- If you are spending more than £100 online, pay by credit card, so you are legally protected if your purchase doesn’t arrive.
- If you are thinking about getting a credit card, look for the best deals, including 0% interest and cashback.
- Shop sensibly and avoid unsecured online retailers and unauthorised traders.
- Avoid payday loans with high interest rates which can make Christmas an even more expensive time !Be organised and don’t overbuy food which ends up being thrown away.
- If you are cooking Christmas dinner, ask guests to bring some food or wine.
Plenty of pricey presents
THE Citizens Advice Bureau’s money-saving advice coincides with the release of one of the most hotly anticipated – and expensive – festive gadget wars to date.
Video game manufacturers Microsoft and Sony released their respective new games consoles on to the market last month – prompting groans from thousands of parents, expecting to be pressurised into buying them for Christmas.
Sony’s Playstation Four, aboove, sells for £350, with games, such as the popular Call of Duty, costing as much as £50 each, and accessories such as controllers costing similar sums.
A console, two controllers and two games could cost as much as £500, yet Sony it is selling every unit it can get its hands on, while online retailer Amazon has said anyone who ordered theirs after November 13 won’t get it until after Christmas.
Microsoft’s rival XBox One costs £430 with games and accessories also in the region of £50 a go.
Apple is also pitching for parents’ cash, with new versons of the iPod touch and iPad launched in time for Christmas.
A new iPad starts at £399 – plus £35 for the “official” Apple case to go with it.
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