Belfast Telegraph

Merrier Xmas without debt

Citizens Advice have issued some simple guidelines which can help people avoid getting into debt in the run up to Christmas:

Make a list of who you need to buy presents for and set a limit according to your budget on how much you can spend;

Try to avoid going over your budget. Shop around for the best deals and try to avoid buying on impulse;

If you can afford to pay for something outright then do it. But if you cannot avoid borrowing use the creditor with the lowest interest rate;

Avoid store cards where possible. Retailers may try to entice you by offering an immediate discount if you take one out, but the interest rates are generally very high;

Read the small print. Check for hidden extras in any credit agreement. Work out the total amount payable. Ensure that the monthly installments are within your budget before signing.

Interest-free credit can seem attractive, but if you don’t pay on time, or miss a payment, you could have to repay a lot more;

Be careful with gift vouchers. If buying them make sure you choose a reputable company - if the company goes bust the vouchers will be useless;

Don’t forget — add the everyday bills in your December and January spending budget.

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