Dodging the debt trap as festive season approaches

Get the best out of Christmas and the New Year and avoid a severe financial headache by taking some steps to ensure your financial health.

Keighley-based Debt Advisory Line has compiled some top financial tips to encourage financial restraint and help you stay debt-free in the run up to this year's festive season.

Create a budget that gives a realistic amount you can afford to spend on Christmas, not just gifts but the cost of going out socialising, including that all-important Christmas do.

Money can be saved by eating in – our food and alcohol consumption peaks considerably over the Christmas period.

Do not overstretch yourself buying expensive Christmas presents – bear in mind more thoughtful gifts and only spend what you can afford. This is easier to do if you plan ahead, rather than panic buying and spending more than you intended.

If you are going to use credit, always try and obtain interest-free credit so you are not paying any more than necessary for presents.

Try and get an interest-free deferred payment. However, you do need to ensure you budget and make monthly payments into a separate account so when the payment is due you have the money available.

Focus on paying priority debts.