TYPES OF DEBT

Festive Period Debt Help & Advice

Types of Debt

Festive Period Debt Help & Advice

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The festive period can be the most magical time of year for families across Scotland, but for some, it can also be the worst. Its easy to get caught up in the Christmas rush and spend money chasing the ‘perfect’ holiday, which can leave people financially stretched come January.

In this guide we’ll look at festive debt, including what it is, how people fall into it, and where you can get the debt advice and support you need to rebuild after overspending over the holidays.

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What is Christmas debt and how do people fall into it?

There’s no denying the joy of seeing the look on your child, family member, or spouse’s face when they open their gift on Christmas morning, but at what cost to your finances?

When most people think of debt, they think of a maxed-out credit card, unpaid council tax, or other common expenses that can lead people money problems. No one tends to think of the “season to be jolly”.

Christmas debts are the things that can lead to overextend yourself financially over the holiday season and can lead some people to serious debt problems later. They range from the cost of buying presents for children, family, and friends, to the amount of money it costs to celebrate Christmas and New Year at home (or abroad).

One third of UK adults worry about spending more money that they’re comfortable with, and the reasons for falling into financial distress over over the Christmas are more common than many think.

 

How do people fall into debt at Christmas?

There’s an undeniable pressure that comes along with the bright lights of the festive season, with people often finding it difficult to find the balance between buying the perfect presents, enjoying festive parties and catching up with family from far and wide in a short period of time.

Unsurprisingly, people often turn a blind eye to the costs associated with the festive season and find themselves turning to credit cards or payday loans to cover the cost of the celebrations.

Bills become January’s problem, however, by being blasé about how much you’re spending in December can bring a whole new meaning to the January blues.

The holidays don’t sneak up on us, in fact the preparation for December 25th seems to start earlier and earlier each year, which is why it’s important to consider the best way to budget your finances well in advance.

How festive debt can be avoided

There are ways to stop your bank balance from being pushed to the limit during the holidays. Our best advice is always to prioritise your necessary bills as defaulting on these will cause you bigger problems later on. Once you have paid these, use your leftover funds for the holidays using these simple steps.

Set a budget for festive spending

Create a strict budget and stick to it, giving yourself limits will help to avoid a shock bill at the end of the month. This might seem easier said than done but it’s vital if you want to avoid a financial hangover come January.

Save for Christmas bills in advance

Sometimes a little goes a long way and never has that been more true than when it comes to saving for Christmas. One of the easiest ways to save for the festive season is to put a little extra cash away each month in the run up to the big day. Adding gift funds to your savings can help to avoid being caught short when it comes to festive shopping. Building up a small nest egg of money for gifts means you can still buy that perfect gift without stretching your budget.

Spread the cost of food and gifts across the year

Being prepared is also a great way to avoid falling into festive period debt. For example, buying gifts throughout the year allows you to spread the cost and avoid having to spend a large sum of money in one go. It’s the thought that counts, not the time you bought a gift.

Keep track of your Christmas debt level

Keeping a record of your festive spending will also help with this, especially to avoid going over your limit or any surprise charges. Check your bank account regularly to be sure you aren’t subject to any extra interest or overdraft charges.

What if I overspent at Christmas and now I’m having money trouble?

If you’ve overspent at Christmas, try not to panic – it happens to a lot of people. The most important thing you can do is take action on the debts you have built up and pay back what you owe. Below are two of the most common debt solutions available in Scotland.

Trust Deeds

A Trust Deed represents a legally-binding agreement you come to with your creditors, to pay back what you owe via a serious of monthly payments. Trust Deeds are only available in Scotland – the equivelant in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland is an IVA.

Under a Trust Deed, you will be assigned an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) to manage your debt repayment plan. Insolvency Practitioners are debt professionals approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA).

You will make a monthly payment towards your Trust Deed based on what you can afford, and your IP will take that money and distribute it evenly among your creditors. After a fixed period – usually four years – you will be discharged from your Trust Deed, and any remaining debts will be written off.

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

A Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is another popular debt solution in Scotland, which allows you to set up a Debt Payment Programme (DPP) to pay off your debt at an affordable rate. You can find out more about the DAS here on our website.

Because the DAS is overseen by the Scottish Government, it’s not available in the rest of the UK. The closest alternative is Debt Management Plans (DMP).

With a DAS, you set up a payment plan with your creditors which allows you to pay off what you owe at a rate you can afford, while getting full legal protection from creditors. The length of a DAS varies as it lasts as long as it takes for you to repay your debts in full, but that means you can take your time and repay creditors over a timeframe you feel comfortable with.

Where can I get debt advice and more information about festive debt?

Christmas should be about spending time with loved ones, seeing old friends, and leaving out milk and cookies for Santa. For a lot of people, unfortunately, it’s also a time where they experience severe financial anxiety.

If you’re worried about whether you can make it through the holiday season with your finances intact, or you’ve overextended yourself at Christmas and are worried about mounting debt, talk to Carrington Dean today.

We’re one of Scotland’s most trusted 5 star debt advice companies, with over 1,000 reviews on Trustpilot, and our team of experts have helped over more than 35,000 people deal with their debt. For free debt advice and a friendly chat, call Carrington Dean today on 0800 043 1320.

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