Thursday, January 12, 2012
Guest Post - How to avoid the Festive Financial Hangover
I have just come across some very sobering research: According to Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com 62% of people in Britain struggled to pay for this Christmas, and almost three in ten (28%) ended up in the red. Apparently, 42% had Christmas on credit this year – 4% even took out new credit especially for it. On average it will take almost six months to clear the debt. However, 8% will still be in debt next Christmas. That’s almost one in ten people.
So what can you do that it won’t happen to you next Christmas? The best thing is to start planning now. I have a friend who started shopping for Christmas 2012 even before New Year. This is someone with a large family who is very organized about the whole thing: everything will be labeled immediately and put away. Christmas cards and wrapping bought at knock down prices. Over the course of the year my friend will add to the stash.
How on earth does she have the cash to do that? She keeps a special “Christmas Fund” to which she adds a bit of money every month. How? You can find detailed instructions in my book “Making Friends with Money – How to start feeling wealthy without waiting till you’re rich”. (You can get it from http://www.holisticmoneymanager.com/self-help/) The book also shows you how to apply the same principles to other regularly occurring events, such as your summer holidays and birthdays.
Other things you can do to have a good Christmas despite a tough economic climate is save up reward points and shopping vouchers. Savvy use of credit cards can also help. I advocate paying the balance in full every month anyway to avoid getting into the debt spiral (my book explains what that is). It also gives you a good credit rating and you can then opt for a card which offers cash back or rewards. They can then be saved towards next Christmas.
But what if you’re one of those people who ended up in debt after this Christmas? My advice is, don’t worry about it. “Making Friends with Money” will give you step-by-step directions how to pay it all back quite painlessly while making sure at the same time that you won’t wake up to another financial hangover after next Christmas.