As we move further into the month of January the memories of the festive season begin to ebb away and the financial impact of the festive holiday begins to show. Luckily, a real friend knows not to arrange any plans involving money during January. Apart from that new gym membership you signed up for on New Year’s day under the influence of happiness and optimism you haven’t been able to spend much. Payday seems like miles away as we try our best to make whatever is left stretch until the end of the month .
Christmas is without a doubt the most profitable time of the year for most merchants and also credit card issuers.
A survey shows that, In the UK, 1 in 3 people will rely heavily on borrowed money over the Holiday season – That’s approximately 16.9 million people. Of these, just over three quarters (76%) are using Credit cards, while others opt for Arranged Overdrafts, store cards and catalogue credit.
Food and festivity
Now I know that Facebook and Twitter were bombarded with photos of Christmas dinners, with one user even taking it upon himself to rate the dinners he was sent, much to our amusement. However research shows that 1 in 5 have will have paid for their lavish meals with borrowed money.
What are the implications?
Now I’m most certainly not saying there’s anything wrong with paying with Credit. The problem arises in January when people start to miss or delay payments. This is where borrowers get themselves into trouble.
1 in 20 Brits is expected to fall behind in the payment of essential household bills this January as a result of Christmas Spending. This means that an estimated 2.3 million people will be left with crucial bills outstanding, some of these bills being important ones such as rent or mortgage payments, utility bills and council tax .
While credit card companies are licking their lips at the prospect of additional profits from inflated interest & late payment fees. It is us, the consumers who suffer the most in the long run. It is our finances, our credit score and our mental health that will be affected.
So what now?
Naturally around this time of year comes a reactionary increase in the amount of debt advice needed. National Debtline offers free, independent and confidential advice 24 hours a day either online at http://www.nationaldebtline.org or by phone on 0808 808 4000, Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm, Saturday 9.30am to 1pm.
Last year the number of calls to the National Debtline rose by 80% while their website Traffic increased by 66 percent.
A little forward planning however, can save you a great deal of headache even if you do use your credit card. Try to stay in your financial lane and only spend what you can afford. Use your credit card to supplement your lifestyle, not to fund it. In this way you will be able to clear the balance as soon as the bill is received and therefore negate the risk of a damage to your credit score or your peace of mind.