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Deal with your debts this January

January is often when the true extent of any Christmas spending hits, with the arrival of the Christmas credit card bill. National Debtline has been running for 26 years and has seen a slump in calls for help each December, and a sharp rise each January.
Over the last ten Januarys the free debt advice service has received 158,293 calls for help dealing with credit card bills. With many people anticipated to have funded their 2012 Christmas spending on credit, the service is primed for a lot of calls this month.
Joanna Elson, Chief Executive of the Money Advice Trust (which runs National Debtline), said:
“December can be a tough month on household finances, and lots of people use credit cards to manage the upturn in spending. This can be a sensible way to manage financial peaks and troughs, but can be dangerous if you don’t have surplus money left over in the other months to pay off debts accrued over the festive period.
“If possible, rather than take on the full cost of Christmas in one month, the best way to pay for Christmas is to budget for it all year round. Take a close look at what you spent on Christmas last year, divide the total by twelve and try to put that amount away each month until December comes around again. For many squeezed households this is not easy, and the more pressing concern will be to deal with debts accrued last year.
“For anyone worried about their credit card debts, it is important to know that no matter how bad your situation there will be options available to you. Get some free advice over the phone at National Debtline, online at My Money Steps, or face-to-face at your local Citizens Advice Bureaux. Any self-employed people or small business owners can contact Business Debtline for free advice.” 
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