THE SPARK BLOG

Nearly half of all Scots surveyed in a recent YouGov poll are already in debt before they spend on Christmas. Nearly 20% said they were struggling to cope and feeling stressed by personal debt on credit cards and loans.

Christmas debt and relationship breakdown

Debt is a major cause of stress and relationship problems for individuals, couples and whole families. The pressure to spend towards a ‘perfect’ Christmas on gifts, decorations, food and drink can have a damaging impact financially and emotionally.

We caught up with Sharon MacPherson, Chief Executive of Scotcash to get some advice on avoiding a Christmas debt hangover this January.

Sharon MacPherson blogs on Christmas debtWhat can you really afford this Christmas?

“It is important to know how much you can afford to spend this Christmas. We are encouraged to spend a lot of money on gifts and celebrations for a fun and enjoyable Christmas. For many this is short-lived until the credit card bills land in January.

Setting a budget can help you avoid spending more than you can afford. The Christmas Budget Planner tool is a good way to set your budget. Once set try and stick to it during December.

You are not alone

If you are struggling to manage the rising cost of Christmas it is important to know that you are not alone. It can be hard to admit that you are not coping with debt and Christmas can cause extra stress and worry. 1 in 4 people will still have outstanding Christmas payments in February. For some this financial hangover will last well in to April.

Research indicates that the average person spends nearly £470 on gifts, food, drink and socialising at Christmas. A third of people polled thought that they might have to make cutbacks to other non-essential items to be able to pay for the cost of the previous Christmas.

Many people end up being taken advantage of as a result and are lured into taking out high interest loans or expensive credit cards to pay for Christmas. The growth of pay day loan providers provides added risk as their interest rates can be crippling. Wherever possible try to avoid using such lenders or credit cards as a means to support Christmas debt.

christmas debtAlternatives to high interest loans and credit cards

Organisations like Scotcash can provide advice and access to affordable loans and savings accounts. We want to make sure that people we support no longer feel trapped by helping them to manage their debt in an affordable way. Some people are stuck in a cycle of debt. Others are just one step away from it happening to them. Scotcash alongside other providers offer products to change that and help people break free from high cost borrowing.”

For more information on products from Scotcash visit their website.

                                                                                                                                                                                               

Is debt harming your relationships?

Debt is a major cause of stress and relationship problems for individuals, couples and whole families. Counselling can help you deal with the emotional and mental issues around debt and to rebuild relationships.

Find out more about counselling from The Spark or find your local counselling centre.

For counselling enquiries complete an enquiry form or freephone 0808 802 0050.

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