Ease That Financial Festive Hangover

Posted on: 02 January 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

People are too scared to open their post-Christmas bills, finds an FSA survey, but help is available.

48 per cent of people are more likely to go on a diet or book a holiday than try to sort out their finances in January, according to new figures published by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on 28th December 2007, while 18 per cent are worried or scared about their bills arriving in the new year.

The survey also found that 58 per cent of people either didn't know what Christmas was going to cost them, or if they did know, they overspent anyway, and almost a quarter used loans or credit cards to finance the festivities.

As people face the costs of the festive season the FSA is publishing a free Moneymadeclear guide to help them through. Just the facts about making your budget work for you provides impartial information about managing your money and what to do if you get into debt.

"Sorting out your budget isn't the most interesting thing you will do after Christmas, but it could be the most important," says Chris Pond, FSA Director of Financial Capability. "The consequences of not managing your money properly can be devastating. If you don't make payments on time it can affect your credit history and at worst put your home and even relationships under pressure.

"We can't promise easy solutions, but our free impartial Moneymadeclear guide will help you work out how much money you have each month and what to do if you are facing debts or the prospect of debts."

The guide shows you how to plan your budget and provides tips for keeping it under control including:

  • Use the FSA's budget planner or online budget calculator to see what you have left after you've paid your bills.
  • Boost your income by claiming any State benefits or tax credits you might be eligible for.
  • Get into the savings habit to help you meet your financial goals.
  • Shop around for financial products to get the best deal for you.
  • If you are in debt - don't panic. You're not alone and expert help is available. Talk to the people you owe money to and use free advice services, such as Citizens Advice Bureau, National Debtline or the Consumer Credit Counselling Service.

In the guide, consumers will also find impartial, jargon-free information and answers to frequently asked questions about comparison websites, debt consolidation and individual voluntary agreements (IVA).

The guide is available from www.moneymadeclear.fsa.gov.uk or by calling the FSA's Consumer Helpline on 0845 606 1234 - Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm (call rates may vary).

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