With Christmas coming up, it doesn’t mean it has to cost too much. Now is the time to be making plans for this Christmas so that you don’t start 2022 in debt. There are lots of bargains to be had and deliveries will arrive in time if you plan ahead. 

It’s a good idea to manage the expectations of your children too. Get them to pick out one special present instead of many. You could ask your family to contribute to buying it with you rather than them buying lots of gifts that might still be in the box in February. For adult relatives you could make your own gifts or hampers which can be cheaper and make the recipient feel extra special with their personal gift.

Be careful with borrowing money to pay for Christmas as high cost credit can leave you struggling all year round and still paying for this Christmas in December 2022!  Think about planning and saving for Christmas earlier on in the year, or buying one present a month, rather than the last-minute dash. Credit unions are a really good option for borrowing and saving. They can also provide help for people who might not be accepted for a bank account.
 
Be wary of ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ schemes such as Klarna or Clearpay as these are often too good to be true. The charges for missing a payment or making it late can push up the total cost by a lot and make the items you bought far more expensive than they needed to be. 

Whilst Klarna don’t add charges for late payments, they do send accounts that fall into arrears to debt collection agencies very quickly. Clearpay charge £6 for a late payment, but for orders over £24 they can charge this up to six times, adding up to £36 to your bill. 
 
Also, you don’t get any protection on your purchase even if you pay your account off by credit card. That means if your item doesn’t arrive or is broken, you can’t make a claim and may end up paying for something you can’t use. 

Read more about ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes on Money Saving Expert. There are lots of useful hints and tips on making savings at Christmas on the website and you can sign-up for weekly emails.