Don’t let Christmas debt get out-of-control, say experts

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Christmas is coming but, for many, it feels like it’s never gone away as they’re still paying off the credit card hangover from last year’s Christmas shopping spree.

For others, the picture is a lot bleaker with many worrying about how they’re going to get through the next month without incurring bank charges, late fees and returned direct debits; checking their caller display to see if it’s safe to answer the phone, not answering the door unless they know who it is or dreading the flutter of mail dropping through the letterbox.

For those whose current debt runs into tens of thousands, there is a way to ease the pain by entering into a Protected Trust Deed.

Specialist insolvency practitioner Charlie Moore of Moore & Co in Glasgow advises: “With debt of £10-15,000, it’s feasible that a debt counsellor can negotiate with creditors to work out a plan of repayment over a set period.”

Once debt is under control, experts advise taking stock of future expenses and factoring one-off payments such as car repairs or insurance into a monthly figure.

Above all, avoid so-called payday loans.

East Ren councillor Ian McAlpine points constituents to the council’s own money advice team, saying: “Our ‘customer first’ service is free and has excellent advice on combatting spiralling debt. I would also advice opening a credit union account, however small. Credit union loans also have competitive interest rates.”