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Have a Happy Christmas 29 November 2004

Recent Research indicates that the average person in Britain will spend 15 hours looking for Christmas presents, walk 20 miles in their search and spend around £560 per person over the festive period!

With ever-increasing pressure to treat our friends and family many homes are still paying off Christmas bills after Easter and in some households this can take over 6 months!

The Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading want you to have a Happy Christmas without the hangover of bills well into the New Year so follow their Top Ten Tips:

  1. Set a budget in advance and stick to it - Decide just how much you can afford to spend without putting yourself in difficulties
  2. Shop around and compare prices
  3. Don't buy on impulse - make a list of what you need and stick to it
  4. Look out for items during the year for stocking fillers and small gifts
  5. Think before you use your credit card - check the Annual Percentage rate (APR) and look for the best credit card deal
  6. Withdrawing cash on your credit card can cost you dear
  7. Plan your credit card repayments - are you reducing the balance or just paying off interest?
  8. Think twice before getting a store card as the interest is often much higher
  9. Don't go over your overdraft limit at Christmas - your bank will charge you
  10. Remember all credit has to be paid back - if you have problems managing your payments contact your creditors at the earliest opportunity - don't let the situation get our of hand

Once you have successfully steered yourself through the spending minefield of Christmas start saving up for the next one - just a few pounds a month will make a big difference.

Finally, if you do get into difficulties and require advice on how to budget or manage your debts contact the Debt Counsellors at the Office of Fair Trading on 686510.

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