12 tips for Christmas from Citizens Advice Sunderland

Citizens Advice in Sunderland has released a list of tips to help people in the run-up to Christmas.

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 8:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 10:05 am
This list from Citizens Advice Sunderland aims to ease pressure on people's household budgets.

The charity wants to help households avoid pressure on their budgets, and keep family finances healthy. In Sunderland, advisers have helped more than 2,100 people with debt problems over the past 12 months. Their practical advice includes planning early, avoiding unauthorised overdrafts and checking all of the available information before using credit. You can visit Citizens Advice Sunderland in the city's Waterloo Place office or at The Galleries in Washington.

Plan how much you are going to spend on each person and stick to it.
It may be Christmas, but keep on top of priority bills, such as rent and council tax.

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Don't run up an overdraft without first chatting to your bank, or it could be costly.
Pay for your goods with cash or a debit card if you can. Don't be persuaded to take out credit.
Look for the best price and buy only what you want, not what others say you need. Be wary of extended warranties as often the cost of repair is less.
Loan sharks may seem friendly at first, but borrowing from them is never a good idea - even if you feel you have no other option.
Whatever the deal, don't buy from unauthorised traders - it may prove to be more expensive in the long run.
Check credit agreements for hidden extras and work out the total amount to repay.
If you plan to use a credit card, shop around. Some charge high interest but may have lengthy interest-free periods.
If you've borrowed, repayment will be due before you know it. Make sure you make at least the minimum repayment or you'll be hit with charges.
It may sound crackers but just after Christmas is the best time to learn what went well this year, and what didn't.
Citizens Advice can give free and impartial debt advice online, over the phone and face to face.