Avoiding Christmas debt

With the weather turning distinctly seasonal over the last few days it’s hard to avoid the sense of imminent Christmas cheer. But as the mercury continues to plummet, so too, it seems, do our bank balances.

You can ignore the tails of woe from high street retailers; we’re set to spend a record £33 billion this year, and for some of us, that will no doubt prove a serious stretch to our finances.

It can, however, still be a jolly season if you spend wisely, and follow some simple MoneyExpert saving tips.


It sounds tedious, given the mood of revelry now upon us, but as you’re likely to be spending more in the coming weeks it’s important to plan ahead and have an idea of what you’re going to be spending.

Overdrafts can be a simple way of managing a little extra expenditure but only work if you know what you’re going to need and speak to the bank in advance. If you leave it too late you’ll get stung with some serious charges that will only make matters worse.

The same goes for credit cards. There are hundreds out there, and despite talk of card providers tightening their belts you should be able to find a good deal. But it’s no good sticking with an old card only to find in January that you’ve over spent and are paying the penalty.

Store cards

If you want to steer clear of debt this Christmas MoneyExpert’s advice on store cards couldn’t be plainer: don’t go near them. The offer of a 10% discount on your first purchase, or an invitation to an ‘exclusive’ event may sound appealing (it may not!), but once the initial thrill has passed you’ll be left paying back money at the most expensive rate going.

The average APR on store cards is a whopping 24.4%. That means that using a store card for purchases of £1,000 will cost you nearly £200 more than it would using a typical credit card. Compare purchase credit cards here for a better option.

Get online

Using the internet for Christmas shopping is proving hugely popular this year, and it’s obvious why, with online prices almost invariably being cheaper than those offered on the high street.

Websites such as dealclick.co.uk compare prices on items from prams to pet food (not a suitable gift idea), and can save you valuable pounds. If you’re interested in a credit card of loan, then MoneyExpert does a similar job, comparing the market in seconds and tracking down the best deal.

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