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The festive season is a great time to show a little love to others, but it can also put pressure on your finances.
Buying gifts can strain your bank balance and sometimes lead to purchases or deals that aren't good for your bank balance. And no matter how much you plan or save beforehand, funding Christmas can also put pressure on relationships and even your health.
Local financial wellbeing groups, such as Citizens Advice branches, the Lincolnshire Credit Union and more, are ready to pick up the pieces.
They're there when times get tough and can offer expertise and safe, affordable money services.They also work hard to prevent people from getting into money worries in the first place, including at Christmas time, with lots of information and advice.
Stefanie Potrykus, Support Service Co-ordinator at Citizens Advice South Lincolnshire's outreach office in Bourne, says: “We see the problems from Christmas in January, when the first credit card bills come out.
"We also see a lot of relationship issues after Christmas, that can be the strain of debt or just everyone being at home sometimes.”
Here’s some tips to help you avoid money pitfalls during the festive season:
Buy safe, be safe No matter how good the deal is, check websites are genuine before buying anything and if you’re unsure, look up postal and company addresses. Look out for hidden traps which could be risky, such giving your card details to ‘cover postage on a free item’.
Keep things simple If you can afford to pay for things outright, don’t be persuaded to take out extended credit agreements unless they really do work out cheaper.
Be organised If you do borrow money to buy gifts, make sure you plan how and when you’ll make the repayments on time. Any charges can soon add up. Remember – you can shop around to compare credit card rates and make interest free periods work for you.
Don’t get carried away Remember all the usual bills will still need to be paid, plus any unexpected costs such as extra car maintenance in winter or appliances breaking down!
Together with members and colleagues, Lincolnshire Co-op is raising money for a number of local groups which help people manage their financial wellbeing. Find out how you're part of the support here.
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