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Dealing with Christmas debts
Last year’s festive season was an enjoyable one for retailers with Christmas spending in the UK growing faster than any other European country. Predictably, only our friends across the Atlantic Ocean beat us with an increase of 2.9% in total US consumer spending, vs 2.2% in Britain.
UK residents collectively spent over £74bn between November and December last year and, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday now firmly in the national conscience, the 2015 Christmas build up is likely to continue the trend of a bumper shopping season for consumers and retailers.
The downside? Well, after the turkey hangover has subsided and all discarded party poppers cleared away, many of us will be looking forlornly into empty wallets and wincing at bulging credit card statements.
Christmas debt can signal a somewhat depressing start to the new year. In this post, we’ve got some top tips for dealing with your inevitable Christmas overspend!
Freeze credit card spending
Credit cards are dangerous pieces of plastic. For many of us, they are an essential line of credit which enable us to spend within our means if cash flow allows and offer superb consumer protection should something go wrong. Unfortunately, they also represent rather too much temptation both before and post Christmas. If you overspend on your credit card on the run up to the big day, the best advice is to avoid using it again until you’ve cleared the balance. Ask someone you trust to hide it from you, if necessary.
Do an interim budget
A household budget is a good idea regardless of your financial situation, but it’ll be absolutely key to getting you back on track after an expensive Christmas. It’s easy, too; simply list all of your income and outgoings (don’t hide anything – be ultra honest). Once finished, you’ll quickly see if you’re spending more than you can afford. You’ll also spot areas in which you can save and pay back those Christmas debts. Be completely brutal; if it isn’t essential, cut it!
There’s nothing quite like a good clear-out – particularly if you can make money during the process! Have a hunt around for old stuff you no longer use which may hold latent value. Old tech stuff (do you really use that Nintendo Wii any more?), discarded phones – anything you can find. As harsh as it may seem, if you receive a Christmas present you have no need for, pop it on the world’s favourite auction site, too (just keep it quiet that you’ve done so!).
Stay in and go dry
This one is pretty easy in January. Since you’re probably partied out and fed up with socialising, so why not capitalise on that. You could set yourself the challenge of staying in for the entire month? No meals out, no nights on the town and definitely no alcohol. You’ll save a fortune and you won’t be alone – the January Dryathlon has become something of a cult hit.
Find additional income
These days, there are a number of ways to earn additional income and they’re surprisingly easy to come by. If you’ve got a skill hidden away which you think people may pay for (perhaps you’re a dab hand in Photoshop), consider signing up to freelancing websites. Sites such as People Per Hour and TaskRabbit People will likely pay for your services and you’ll enjoy earning in return for exercising a passion.