Tips for managing the cost of Christmas

As Christmas approaches, a lot of people are worried about how they are going to fare. There can be a lot of pressure to spend more than is affordable, especially for kids. Here are some important reminders from Citizens Advice Watford.

Figure out how much you can afford and stick to it. There’s nothing wrong with managing expectations and suggesting things like spending limits, secret Santas, or maybe even that you don’t need to exchange gifts.

Don’t forget everyday bills

Remember that rent or mortgage, utility bills, food bills, and other existing debts still need to be paid, the consequences can be serious if they aren’t. It’s not worth starting the New Year late on your bills.

Tempted by Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)?

It’s tempting to split payments, but make sure you have a plan to pay the money back, especially if your circumstances change. If you use BNPL repeatedly, make sure you know how much you owe in total, understand what you’re signing up for, how you’ll be making the refunds, and what happens if you can’t pay on time.

Buy securely to be safe

Whatever the temptation, don’t buy from unauthorized merchants or borrow from unauthorized lenders. These could expose you to unscrupulous collection methods including threats and damage, dangerous goods, and surprisingly high interest rates. You may also not be protected by the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority.

Compare the prices

Try as many different places as possible to find the best price. Buy what you want, not what others say you need. Beware of extended warranties; the cost of a repair could be less than the cost of the warranty.

Get help if you’re having trouble

If you’re worried about paying your bills, get free, independent advice as soon as possible. Call Citizens Advice Watford on 0800 144 8848. They can help you understand your options and make a plan.

About Jimmie T.

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