12 days of debt action

  • Are you buying presents on plastic?
  • Struggling with festive food costs?
  • Falling behind on household bills?

Our YouGov poll of over 2000 people found that a lot of us rely heavily on credit to get us though the festive period.


We have put together 12 steps to help you reduce the risk of unmanageable debt over Christmas.


You can follow our campaign on Twitter and Facebook using #12daysofdebtaction


On the first day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...


"Set your festive budget"




Setting a festive budget is probably the single most useful step you can take to manage your Christmas spending – but only one in four of us do this!


Make a list of who you need to buy presents for, set a budget for each and stick to it! 


Plan ahead when it comes to your other shopping too, for example on food, decorations, and visiting family and friends.


On the second day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...


"Keep paying bills"




Don't forget you still need to pay your normal household bills in December, such as mortgage, rent, council tax, gas and electricity.


If you get paid early in December you should consider paying these bills straight away, so you know what you have left is what you have to spend on your Christmas shopping.


On the third day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...


"Shop around for deals"




There are lots of good deals around, even at Christmas. 


You could leave buying your presents until later in the month as sales often start early. You could also consider using price comparison websites if you are buying a bigger gift.


  Whatever you do, make sure you shop around and get the best price.


On the fourth day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...


"Spread the cost"




You may have started saving for Christmas earlier in the year but if you haven't you can still spread the cost of Christmas over December. 


Start buying non-perishable food items earlier in the month when they are on offer in the supermarket, and be sure to take advantage of any loyalty points you have.  


 On the fifth day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...


"Resist borrowing more"




It can be extremely tempting to borrow money to pay for Christmas costs, but as always with borrowing, you have to consider whether you can afford to pay it back. 


If you do decide to take out credit, check the terms and conditions and do a household budget to make sure the repayments won't leave you in difficulty.  


On the sixth day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...


"Keep a track of spends"


 We can all get carried away when shopping in December. The single biggest thing you can do to keep in control is to record what you spend.


Check it against your budget on a regular basis, and while it's easier said than done, keeping a track of your spending can help you stick to the plan.


On the seventh day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...


"Just buy for kids"


 To save money on presents you could agree in the family to just buy for the children.


If you still want to buy for the adults you could consider doing a ‘Secret Santa’ so that each adult only buys one present.


Handmade presents are often cheaper and have that personal touch too.


 On the eighth day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...

"Get advice early" 


 None of us really want to think about personal finances in the run up to Christmas, especially where debt problems are involved.


However if you are already worried about your debt, get advice now. Don’t wait until the New Year.



On the ninth day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...


"Spend time, not just money"


Often the most cherished part of Christmas is not the presents you receive, it’s spending time with friends and family.   


Amid all the hustle and bustle of the festive season, make sure you don’t let worrying about your personal finances get in the way of enjoying the time you have – take early action instead and seek free advice if your debts are taking over.




On the tenth day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...


"Plan your Christmas dinner" 


Christmas dinner can be a budget-breaker in itself  To keep costs under control it’s crucial to plan ahead, shop around and make sure you aren’t left rushing around the supermarket shelves on Christmas Eve! 


 If a number of you are getting together for Christmas dinner, consider bringing a course each. It’s much less stress and a lot cheaper.  


On the eleventh day of Christmas National Debtline said to me... 


"Look out for free activities"


With the kids off school there is always pressure to keep them entertained, and if you’re not careful the cost of keeping them busy will soon mount up!


 There should be lots of free activities in your area over the holiday period, so look out for these advertised in the local paper and community centres. 



On the twelfth day of Christmas National Debtline said to me...


"Have a stress free Xmas"


Merry Christmas everyone!  We hope it is filled with love and laughter.


If you need advice or support over the Christmas period you can get free debt advice 24 hours a day at www.mymoneysteps.org.


In addition, the National Debtline phone lines are open until 1pm on Christmas Eve and open again from 2nd January – call us on 0808 808 4000