Debt warning over trying to buy the perfect Christmas

By Dan Santy Monday 26 November 2012 Updated: 03/12 13:30

PEOPLE are being warned not to land themselves in debt by trying to buy the perfect Christmas.

The message comes from the Rugby branch of the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) charity, which helps people who have reached a crisis point in their financial situation.

To help people avoid getting into debt over the festive season, the charity has launched its tried and tested list of ways for people to avoid a financial meltdown and having to pay for it in the New Year.

Centre manager, Andrew Lewis, said: "We love Christmas. The problem is we are sold this line the perfect Christmas is something we should be buying and that causes more stress than celebration.

"Now is the right time for families to talk to each other to create a sensible game-plan to ensure Christmas is happy for everyone – and so is the New Year."

The top tips have come from both the experience of those within the charity, as well as CAP’s own clients who know what it is like to stick to a tight budget as they clear their debts.

Visit www.capdebthelp.org or call 0800 328 0006 for more information.

*RUGBY CAP has come up with the following ten tips for a debt free Christmas and New Year:

1. Agree on a game plan to stop overspending - do a ‘secret Santa’, agree on a set amount each, a ‘just for the kids’ rule, a ‘from charity shops only’ rule.

2. If children have their heart set on something out of your price range, club together with relatives.

3. Short of a new Christmas outfit? Get together with mates for a swapping party and you’ll all go home with something new, without the cost.

4. If you’re doing the meal, ask guests to each contribute something - drinks, pudding, cheese, cake, even a turkey. If you’re spending time cooking a Christmas feast, you are already giving a lot.

5. Aim to only buy the food you will actually eat and decide what you will do with left-overs, for example - potato cakes from cooked potatoes, make stock from Turkey carcass, soup from uneaten vegetables, freeze un-used gravy for another time.

6. Home-made goodies always go down well – cupcakes, chocolate truffles, shortbread, jam – all are cheap to make and, wrapped with cellophane and ribbon, make great presents.

7. Your time and thoughtfulness are every bit as valuable as your money. Instead of presents, offer vouchers for gardening, washing the car, a few hours cleaning, ironing or making someone’s favourite cake or snack.

8. So many people live alone – a cheery visit from you is worth more than any present.

9. Spend time focusing on what you can enjoy at no cost and make Christmas really special - watching your kids in the school nativity, watching the lights get switched on, enjoying Christmas carols in church, dressing the tree, playing family games.

10. Never take out credit or be tempted by a Christmas loan – you don’t know what the New Year will bring. Your income may change and it could affect your whole family’s security in 2013. No Christmas is worth that.

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