Think Money

Think Money

December 09, 2009 06:05 ET

Stay out of debt this Christmas, says Think Money

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 9, 2009) - Around this time each year, millions of people across the UK dust off their decorations and put up the Christmas tree. But as the festive season grows ever nearer, financial solutions company Think Money has advised consumers to be cautious about getting into debt this Christmas.

Melanie Taylor, Head of Corporate Relations at Think Money, said: "Christmas is traditionally a time of excess, and that's not a problem for some people. But it's important to remember that economic conditions are still much more difficult than they were two or three years ago, so we advise shoppers to exercise some caution when it comes to taking on debt this Christmas."

Earlier this year, Money.co.uk estimated that 4.7 million people in the UK were still paying off debts they ran up last Christmas, adding that more are likely to use a combination of savings, credit cards and "money available at the time" to fund purchases.

Mrs Taylor said that these findings reflect the continuing pressure on borrowers in the current economic climate.

"A lot of people who paid for last year's Christmas shopping on credit will have found out how difficult those debts can be to pay back. It's easy for borrowers to assume that they can repay their debts within a few months, but one or two unexpected costs could easily set them back.

"With that in mind, we recommend that shoppers only pay for things on credit if they are sure they will be able to repay the debt in good time. It's a good idea to have a clear plan as to how and when the debts will be repaid, unless it's a debt with a pre-arranged repayment plan, such as a personal loan."

Mrs Taylor added that anyone who does find themselves struggling should make sure that they seek expert debt advice at the first sign of trouble.

"For borrowers who do get into difficulties with their debts, it's important that they don't hesitate to get the right debt help. An expert debt adviser can provide help and guidance on a range of debt solutions, each designed to help with different situations and different levels of debt."

TOP TIPS FOR STAYING OUT OF DEBT THIS CHRISTMAS

* Budget properly.

Work out how much all your regular expenses cost you each month, and subtract the total from your take-home pay. What's left is how much you can safely spend on other things, such as Christmas gifts.

* Set yourself a limit.

We all love giving presents to our friends and family, but for some people that can lead to over-excitement and over-spending. Plan your purchases and set a strict limit on how much you're going to spend on each person, and stick to it.

* Use savings.

Obviously it's not a great idea to dip into your life savings to fund your Christmas shopping, but if you've been putting money aside for no purpose in particular, your savings could take a great deal of the financial strain away from the festive season.

Notes to Editors

One of the UK's leading financial solutions providers, Think Money is based in Salford Quays, Manchester, and employs around 700 employees to deliver a comprehensive range of debt, loan, insurance and banking solutions.

Think Money defines its mission as 'To educate, rehabilitate and advise on all aspects of financial management'.

For more information, visit the Think Money website at http://www.thinkmoney.com/.

Think Money debt section: http://www.thinkmoney.com/debt/

Think Money debt management section: http://www.thinkmoney.com/debt/debt-management/

Think Money IVA section: http://www.thinkmoney.com/debt/IVA/

Contact Information