More than 70 per cent of us worry about how we are going to cover the expenses of Christmas, according to research by CreditExpert. CreditExpert - the online credit monitoring and identity protection service from Experian also found that more than three quarters of us admit to overspending, one in five take six months to pay off the debts they build up as a result of the pressure to splash the cash over the festive period and one in ten only just manage to pay off their Christmas debts in time for next year. All of which is bad news for out credit reports and therefore, our future borrowing power.
One of the biggest problems, according to the research, is expensive last minute 'panic' buying, which affects 34 per cent of people. Just over a third of us get caught out by the pressure to give expensive presents, and 31 per cent of Britons worry about the amount of debt they accumulate over the Christmas period. And many of these problems could be down to lack of forward planning; CreditExpert found that a fifth of people admitted to not budgeting sufficiently for the Christmas season.
"If you don't want to buy in haste and repent at leisure, CreditExpert managing director Jim Hodgkins advises, “you should be aware of your financial situation throughout the year so that you can plan ahead for the December spending spree. That way, you will protect your future borrowing power and maintain a healthy credit score."
For a stress-free Christmas and a prosperous new year, CreditExpert advises:
• Budget for your Christmas spending – you should set limits for your festive spending, from food to clothes and presents
• Plan your Christmas shopping well in advance and stock up on gifts in sales throughout the year to avoid expensive panic buying
• Pay off more than the minimum balance on your credit card in the run-up to Christmas, so you have enough spending power for the seasonal necessities
• Monitor your credit report throughout the year, so you always know what affect the loans and cards you have are having on your credit score – which affects your future ability to get credit, loans and mortgages
Your credit report is your personal credit history, which details your borrowings, any court judgements and other factors that affect your ability to get credit. Regular monitoring not only allows you to manage your finances, it also protects against identity fraud, because you can see if anybody has applied for credit in your name.
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