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3. Financial Problems at Christmas


One of the biggest worries people have at Christmas is the financial cost. A recent survey found that around one million people in the United Kingdom are still paying for Christmas 2013. And no doubt their debt will get even bigger after Christmas 2014. Many people take out loans to cover the holiday period, and often this involves payday lenders or other loan companies who charge exorbitant interest rates. Some people even sell or pawn their belongings to get money to cover the cost of Christmas.

This year there was a lot of publicity surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and this added to the pressure for people to spend more and more. There were chaotic — sometimes violent — scenes at many stores with people grappling for every item, whether reduced or not. Even after Christmas the spending frenzy continues with the New Year sales, and once again cash registers are ringing all over the land.

The key to overcoming financial problems is to set a budget and stick to it. Don’t be tempted to overspend at Christmas or take on big loans. It is important to take control of your finances and not be forced to spend on things you don’t need and cannot afford. Make sure you stick to your budget and keep a record of every penny you spend. This will help you spot areas where you can cut back and make savings. Try to spread the cost of Christmas over a longer period and buy presents throughout the year and be sure to snap up bargains when you see them.

If you find yourself in financial difficulties you can also ask for help from one of the free money advice centres and charities that have been set up in recent years. Your local Citizens Advice Board will have details of those closest to you.