Wish it could be Christmas every day – debt free

Electrician Andy Park claims to have celebrated Christmas every day since 1993 – and he’s not the only one feeling the effects of Christmas all year round.

The 43-year-old from Melksham in Wiltshire reckons he’s got through more than 4,800 turkeys in that time and his commitment to the festive season has earned him the title Mr Christmas.

Millions of us unfortunately know what it’s like to have Christmas every day – but not in a good way.

Around one in five of us are reckoned to still be paying for Christmas debt with balances on our credit cards from the festive spending spree.

As around £11.4 billion went on the plastic at Christmas that’s possibly not that surprising. However it’s May and it really is about time you were focusing on the summer sun and a holiday rather than harking back to the festive season.

Incidentally Andy was forced to quit his turkey diet over worries about bird flu.
If a serious Christmas addict can kick the habit then you should be able to as well. MoneyExpert.com is here to show you how.

Debt will be for life not just at Christmas if you don’t change

More than 4.2 million of us were still paying for Christmas 2005 in December 2006.

In fact MoneyExpert.com research shows it takes an average 2.6 months to pay off Christmas plastic debts. Of course we’re not all putting debt on our cards. Around half of all credit card holders did not put any debts on their cards at the festive season and 17 per cent took a month to clear it all.

If you’re one of those people then you are sitting pretty and congratulations. But if you’re not then it may be time to take action if you can afford to.

The longer you delay clearing your debts the more interest you will pay so take action now and you will save money.

It pays to be card wise

Someone putting £1,000 on their card at Christmas and not clearing it for a year will rack up more than £169 in interest charges at the average rate of 16.9 per cent. And they’ll still owe £1,000 as well with no plans to clear the debt.

It’s even worse if you only pay the minimum amount each month. Some card firms will allow you to repay just two per cent a month or as little as £5. That sounds easily affordable and it is.

However look carefully at your credit card terms and conditions. Firms spell out how dangerous that can be. It can on a debt of £3,000 take as long as 40 years to clear your balance only making the minimum payment. And that’s without extra spending.

Think where you want to be in 40 years. It’s likely you don’t still want to be paying off your credit card.

Play your cards right

If you are carrying major debts on your cards then the first thing to do is to stop spending more than you can afford. That’s easily said but it needs to be done if you are going to get a grip.

You should then try to find a card to transfer your debts to if you are paying a high rate. Look out for Lifetime Balance cards. These guarantee a low rate for as long as you need it and give you a chance to try and cut your debts.

You should also look for 0% balance transfer cards. Some companies will offer you up to 13 months at zero per cent on a balance transfer. If you switch £3,000 and pay off £230 each month on one of those cards you’ll clear the debt in 13 months.

That will ensure you are debt-free and allow you to boost your wealth without worrying about how you meet your credit card payments each month.

Mind the fees

Card companies will charge to transfer your debt – generally fees can be as much as three per cent. So if you transfer £3,000 you’ll pay £90. It’s worth paying the fee but only if you really are committed to clearing your debt.

And remember Andy Park managed to quit turkey when he reckoned it was too dangerous to go on. Clearing your debt will help boost your wealth and forget about Christmas until the next time

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