The simple mistakes that could cost you dear

Almost 500 debt enquiries were logged between January and February last year at North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Service and while the New Year is often associated with tight budgets and financial worries, both local and national research also reveals that it is also a time where people take action, with 31st January being the most popular day to seek advice.

Many of us feel the pinch at the end of January after an over indulgent Christmas or spending in the sales. If this sounds like you, I’m sure you’ll be relieved that payday is now upon us. But if you still have a holiday hangover, NACAS advises to make sure you tackle it now before you get further into debt.

 

To help get your finances in shape here are our top tips on dealing with that post-holiday spend:

Store Cards: If you signed up to a store or credit account to take advantage of an introductory offer over Christmas, then pay it off ASAP.  The interest charged on these types of accounts can be higher than a loan or credit card.

Credit Cards: Paying off the total amount by the due date usually means you’ll avoid paying interest. If you can’t manage this make sure you’re getting the best credit deal or consider transferring your balance to one that charges 0% interest.

Overdraft: If you’ve gone overdrawn without agreeing this with the bank first, you’ll usually be charged a high interest rate and often a daily fee. Try to repay as quickly as possible to avoid further charges.

Cut your household bills: Many of us stick with the same providers year on year for things like phones, broadband, TV, insurances and energy etc. Shop around and see if you can find a better deal.

Switch energy supplier: If you haven’t switched energy supplier recently, it’s worth completing a comparison and seeing if there is a better tariff for you. There are also grants available to help with the cost of your energy that you might qualify for. As part of our Energy Best Deal Campaign, we have one-to-one appointments available to help you get the best energy deal for you. Call 01294 467848 to make an appointment.

Council Tax: Check if you are eligible for a council tax reduction (CTR). You might qualify if you are on a low income, live on your own, are disabled, a student or under the age of 18.

Still Struggling?

If your still struggling to get your finances in order – don’t worry. Here at North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Service, we always listen to you carefully so we can provide clear and concise advice that will give you the confidence to deal with your debt. Talking to one of our advisers might just be the best thing you do.

If you want to make 2018 the year you become better with money then get in touch now.

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