Renfrewshire Council

Top tips to help you deal with Christmas debt and save money

Christmas can be a challenging time of year, with many finding themselves in debt as New Year approaches.

At least a third of all families will have spent more than they can afford this Christmas, with 10% putting their entire Christmas spend on a credit card.

If you're worried about post-Christmas debt, check out our top tips for dealing with it.

There's also advice on how to save money, bring more cash into your household and avoid debt next Christmas.

1. Don't Panic - If you do get into trouble with debt there are lots of organisations in Renfrewshire that can help, including Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau and Renfrewshire Council's Advice Works. These services provide free, impartial and confidential advice on how to deal with your debt. Visit www.advicerenfrewshire.org or call 0808 164 2922.

2. Start Saving Now - Money experts are advising people to take the financial strain out of next Christmas by saving for it now. Credit Unions offer Christmas savings accounts that let you set aside money each month, helping you cover the costs next year. Most also offer a payroll deduction service so you can save without noticing money coming off your wages. For more information visit www.mycreditunionrenfrewshire.co.uk.

3. Get help reducing your heating bills - Renfrewshire Council's Energy Advocacy Service or LEAP provide free expert advice and can help you save energy and money. Visit www.advicerenfrewshire.org for more information.

4. Check you're getting the best deal - Use a comparison website to check you are getting the best deal possible on your energy, insurance, credit cards, mobile phones, etc. USwitch are covered by the Ofgem confidence code. Visit www.uswitch.com.

5. Check Your Credit Rating - Your credit rating can have an impact on the interest you are charged for a loan and whether you will be approved for one. For information on how to get a free credit check visit www.RACA.org.uk.

6. Benefits Check - The Scottish Government has launched a free Financial Health Check, run by Citizens Advice Scotland, that ensures you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to. To get in touch call 0800 085 7145.

7. Budget - Setting yourself a budget will help you keep track of your spending. The Money Advice Service has lots of information on how to manage your money, including online budgets and a financial health checker tool. For more information visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.

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