Resolve to get in control of your finances

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Debt charities across the UK are expecting their busiest January in years after shoppers overspent at Christmas. Chris Kay looks at how it pays to keep tabs on your finances.

This month tens of thousands of people in this country have found themselves in the highest levels of debt for years purely because they overspent throughout the festive season.

Citizens Advice said it expected more than 370,000 people would seek advice on money matters in January alone.

Money Advice Trust (MAT) added that more than five million people could run into financial difficulties.

Recently the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, warned about the high level of debt among UK households – with unsecured debt, including spending on credit cards, rising at its fastest pace in 11 years.

Meanwhile HSBC has pegged unsecured debt at £13,000 per household.

It’s clear that not everyone had set a budget for Christmas or made a plan about how to repay existing debts.

If you are one of the many feeling the pinch this January, make a resolution to be more in control in 2017.

One way is to start a Christmas savings account, and set aside manageable amounts all year to spend in the festive season.

Even if your finances are tight, try to save something, you’ll be surprised how quickly it can add up. The important thing is to start the savings habit, however small. At Cambrian, we have a specific Christmas Account, which can be opened with as little as £1. Banks and building societies also have many savings accounts to choose from.

At Cambrian Savings and Loans we have made our own resolution to help our members stay more in control, and have worked to make services more accessible by improving our online technology.

Whether this is finding the balance of your savings while out shopping or using our website calculator to work out the repayment costs of a loan.

Our service now allows members to request balances and transfer money simply by text message, that way they can keep a close eye on their personal finances through their phone and can even move money to another designated account by texting us.

By embracing these innovative online services we hope to make it easier for members to take control of their finances and prevent painful, financial hangovers.

Chris Kay is CEO at Cambrian Credit Union, which is a community based, financial services co-operative. He has worked in the consumer lending sector for more than 35 years.

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