12 Tips for staying debt free over the festive season

By Staff Writer

In a recent statement The National Credit Regulator and SA Savings institute have cautioned South Africans to spend carefully over the festive season so they can afford to pay their 2011 expenses.

Luke Hirst, MD of DebtBusters comments “It is all too easy to get carried away with spending over the festival season with parties to attend and purchasing gifts for family members”.  Hirst goes on to say “consumers must remember their financial responsibilities for 2011. January means school and university fees have to be paid along with purchasing text books and school uniforms”.

With the average household spending 78.2 percent of their disposable income on debt repayments and over 11 million consumers behind on their debt repayments, we don’t want these figures getting any worse next year.  

Hirst adds “each year we see the number of consumers falling behind on debt repayments increase after the festive period with many applying for debt review, as they can’t cope”.

Hirst suggests 12 easy tips on how to stay in control of your finances over the festive season:

 

1. Plan before you spend, by drawing up a household budget over this period.

2.  Speak to everyone in your household about your expenses and how you are going to bring these down in 2011.

3. Pay your debts on time, otherwise there are expensive penalties.

4. If you get a bonus or 13th cheque use it wisely. Pay off high interest debt first or pay school fees upfront or put it into savings.

5. Shop around for the best deals and prices before you make a purchase and negotiate.

6. Always be careful of the “buy now, pay later” offers. They often attract high charges.

7. Get several new insurance quotes for your car or home. You may save some money.

8. How much are you spending on bank fees? Speak with your bank or look at a comparative site like justmoney.co.za to see what bank account is best and cheapest for you.

9. Always remember that some bills such as electricity, water and telephones do not go on holiday and will need to be paid in the New Year.

10. Check your cell phone and internet packages, find out when they are up for renewal and look for better offers.

11. If you do have savings, make sure you are getting the best interest on offer and shop around.

12. Always shop with January in mind, as you will need funds to live on.

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