Most of us spend more in the immediate approach to and during the festive period than we normally would, so it’s probably a good idea to budget in advance and put some money aside – so that come mid-December, you don’t have to dig too much into money you either don’t have, or money you’re going to need in January.
Here are five things that might be worth thinking about:
- Christmas is a prime time for buying things that are either unwanted, don’t work properly or don’t fit. But… buying on credit can give you protection. If you buy goods or services on your credit card, you have extra protection if things go wrong, compared with paying by cash or even debit card, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
- If you need credit, the Experian Credit Score is a guide to help you understand your financial well-being and how your credit information could be interpreted by lenders. To get your Experian Credit Score FREE forever, sign up to CreditMatcher*, a free independent service that helps you compare credit deals you’re more likely to get, based on your credit information.
- If you’re braving the pre-Xmas sales, like Black Friday, try to research deals online first and know stores in advance. Some of the year’s most sought-after toys and games will often have been trailed since the summer – this year’s predicted best sellers include a stylish doll’s house and a motorised blaster from a hit film. It might be worth researching how each shop is laid out and how to get to the most important goods first!
- Shopping online? It’s best to use websites that you know and trust. Always look for a security padlock icon in the top left hand corner of a page before you register financial or personal information on a website. And if an online deal you find, or have been emailed, sounds too good to be true, it quite probably is. Your Experian Credit Report can show you if there are any irregularities, such as suspect applications for credit and rises in card balances.
- When it’s time to pay it all back, don’t forget what you’ve spent: try to stay within your credit limits and do try to pay your credit bills on time. Missed or late payments stay on your credit report for at least six years, and this can have a big impact on your score. If you can’t make the minimum payment, speak to your lender as soon as possible.
* Experian acts as a credit broker and not a lender in the provision of its credit cards and personal, car finance and guarantor loans matching services, meaning it will show you products offered by lenders and other brokers.
Experian acts independently and although CreditMatcher shows products for a range of lenders and other brokers it does not cover the whole of the market, meaning other products may be available to you. CreditMatcher services are provided free however we will receive commission payments from lenders or brokers we introduce you to.
CreditMatcher is provided by Experian Ltd (Registered number 653331). Experian Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (firm reference number 009743). Experian Ltd is registered in England and Wales with registered office at The Sir John Peace Building, Experian Way, NG2 Business Park, Nottingham, NG80 1ZZ.”
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(updated from original post, 25 Nov 2014)