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Consumers Urged To Avoid 'Debt Hangover'

Dec 7, 2007
With Christmas just over three weeks away, consumers are being advised to take steps to make sure that they avoid coming under increased financial pressure.

According to Citizens Advice, there is an increase in the level of those struggling with their money in the wake of the festive period. Following last Christmas, the advisory service claims that many people got into arrears on loans and hire purchase agreements, as well as struggling to manage catalogue and mail order debts. In addition, Britons were reported to be developing problems with overdrafts and money owed on credit cards.

As a result, the advisory service, in conjunction with Barclaycard, has issued a number of tips to help Britons avoid a "Christmas debt hangover". One thing consumers are advised to do is to plan their spending for the yuletide period early and make a budget setting out how much they are to spend on each person. However despite the festivities, people were advised that everyday expenses, such as utility bills, rent, council tax, loans and other existing debts still need to be met during this time of year. Should this not happen, Citizens Advice warned that "the consequences can be severe".

In addition, shoppers were advised to ensure that they shop around when hitting the high street. According to Citizens Advice, comparing prices in as many places as possible should mean that they are able to find the best price. By taking the time to scour the market, consumers could be able to find the most competitively-priced deal on Christmas gifts - a principle that could also be applied to those searching for a personal loan.

Meanwhile, those looking to borrow money, for instance through a personal loan, to help fund their spending during the festive period were urged to read the small print to any contract they are looking to sign up to. Prospective borrowers were recommended to make sure they will be able to afford monthly repayments and that the total amount that they will have to pay back is established. In addition, consumers were advised to avoid borrowing from unauthorised lenders, as despite convenience and any initial savings that they may make, they could well find pressure on their finances increasing.

Teresa Perchard, director of policy for Citizens Advice, said: "It is very easy to get carried away at Christmas and spend on the spur of the moment, especially if people leave it until the last minute. But every year, we see a huge increase in debt problems immediately afterwards. With a little forward planning, Christmas panic buying can be avoided. We hope that these top tips will help people take control of their money as Christmas approaches so they do not start the new year with a debt hangover."

Those Britons who are worried about their ability to manage their money in the weeks following Christmas may wish to consider applying for a debt consolidation loan. Such a form of loan can allow people to merge debts from a number of different sources into a single low-rate monthly repayment, which in turn could free up disposable income. Taking out a cheap consolidation loan could be helpful for a rising number of people, as a study carried out by MoneyExpert indicated that between August and October 3.4 million Britons in debt were "very concerned" about their ability to make repayments. This figure represents an increase of four per cent from the previous three-month period.
About the Author
Tom Dawson writes for Essentially Home Loans where visitors can apply for personal loans online, and also focuses on secured loans for UK residents. Visit Today: http://www.essentiallyhomeloans.co.uk
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