'OUR MANTRA is 'if at all possible, avoid taking credit for Christmas'.
Nicky Rossiter of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) in Wexford said that people need to be realistic about what they can afford.
'People are probably finding that access to credit is not as easy as it used to be,' he said. 'Getting a loan for Christmas is probably less likely than it was two years ago. If you are taking credit, be aware of the payment plans that are in place. Even with store credit, be aware of the interest that is on it.'
He advised people who do go looking for a loan from an institution such as the Credit Union, that they be realistic about it. 'If you are looking for a loan, have it carefully budgeted on what you actually need to spend it on,' he said.
MABS mostly deals with people who have already built up debt, and may not now be able to access credit. 'When people get into trouble, they come to us,' he said. 'We are busier than ever, but I would encourage people to make appointments. We are seeing people and are working with through issues with people.'
' The thing with Christmas was people got into a mindset in recent years and were going out of shops with two or three trollies of food,' he continued. ' The country is not closing down, and the best thing is to spend only what you need to spend.'
'If you are on social welfare, you need to look at what you spend this year compared to what you spent in previous years,' he stated. 'You'll be paying for it in January. The temptation is there to forego a mortgage repayment or a bill payment to cover Christmas, but it's a false economy. The tougher time is in January when the bill comes in and you realise you spent more than you intended to. Think through the consequences of what you spend in the month before Christmas.'
'I'm not saying you shouldn't have Christmas but be aware that you're the one who is going to pay for it,' he concluded. 'It's a matter of putting a bit of thought into it.'
MABS in Wexford can be contacted on 076 107 2780 or firstname.lastname@example.org while MABS in Arklow can be contacted on 076 107 2390 or email@example.com