Archive for 2007
Support Christmas Recycling
Payplan and its clients recognise that Christmas is a difficult time financially, especially for those in debt management plans or IVAs who have to budget carefully. However, although many of us spend extra money during the festive season that stretches our bank accounts and increases our debts, this also has other consequences; our environment suffers.
The UK alone will create an estimated 736,571 extra tonnes of waste and rubbish this Christmas and understanding the extra pressure that is placed on our waste and recycling services during the festive season should encourage us all to think twice about how we dispose of our unwanted Christmas presents, gifts, trees and cards.
According to statistics from recent years, Britons send over 1 billion Christmas cards every year and buy 6 million Christmas trees of which only 1 in 6 are recycled – an extra 6000 tonnes of rubbish is dumped as a result.
I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas
Here are some websites that will help you to recycle your Christmas trees and Christmas cards responsibly, as well as providing recycling tips and advice on local recycling services:
Remember, if you’ve chosen to use or buy an artificial Christmas tree then this should last you several years if cared for. Similarly, there are many ways to send Christmas ecards via the internet, which is ideal for those of us who are disorganised and have missed the last Christmas post as well as helping you towards a ‘greener’ Christmas.
Christmas Shopping Deals
If you want to make last minute savings on your internet Christmas shopping, then a recent report in The Guardian has highlighted a sure fire way to do so online this Christmas.
Several websites make available promotional codes, e-vouchers, voucher codes and discount codes that can be entered when you purchase items online and that could save you 10% or more from various retailers for limited periods of time.
So get in quick and take a look at these:
Remember to check the Royal Mail website for last Christmas posting dates to avoid disappointment.
Fee charging debt management companies have been labelled as a ‘high risk’ category by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) who are scrutinising these companies’ fair treatment of clients.
Their business activities and ‘credit competence’ exhibited when obtaining their credit license (a legal requirement enabling them to operate) are also under scrutiny according to Credit Today.
Ray Hall, the director of consumer credit and consumer protection enforcement from the OFT, said:
“From April 2008 applicants [for their credit license] from this high risk group will be more scrutinised and supervised over compliance [to OFT regulations].”
Whilst it is paramount that all debt management companies (including free debt management companies such as Payplan) adhere to OFT regulations and the conditions of their credit license, Payplan believes that it is not ethical to charge clients fees for the privilege of providing debt management and advice.
Fee charging debt management companies typically charge their clients fees of about 17.5% of their monthly payment to their debts and are taking money that their clients could use to pay back their debts more quickly.
For free and ethical debt help, call Payplan on 0800 254 5205 or submit your financial circumstances using their online debt assessment. A sympathetic and experienced debt adviser will then be able to assist you.
If you’ve received a credit or store card offer by post or email, then think hard before applying, even if you think Christmas is going to be tough without one – your debts might soon become a Christmas turkey that you don’t want.
This is an experience typical of many Payplan clients. Although the festive season is a wonderful time of year, all too many of us get carried away buying presents for Christmas and attending parties, Christmas dinners and the desire to buy lavish gifts for our loved ones. We are bombarded by advertising, everyone claiming to be offering the ‘essential Christmas gifts’, and there are literally hundreds of credit and store cards falling over themselves to help us buy this stuff. Understandably, it can be all too easy to spend more money than you can really afford.
UK personal debt is growing by £1 million every four minutes and the hundreds of credit and store cards on the market are being blamed. Take a credit card debt of £1,500. If you’re charged 1.5% a month and only ever pay the minimum monthly requirement of 2% of your outstanding balance, this bill will take an astounding 37 years to clear, and at the cost of thousands of pounds of interest!
It is estimated that over 10% of us are still paying for last Christmas, and yet, at Payplan, we see these same people brandishing the credit card or store cards once again. Many store cards have APRs of nearly 30% and are targeting the most vulnerable who are having difficulty getting credit elsewhere.
Worse still, if you use your credit card to withdraw cash, the Interest rates can average 23% and are charged from the date of withdrawal. You can also expect to pay a fee of up to 3%.
Would you still withdraw £500 on your credit card if you knew that by making only the minimum repayments you’ll repay over £1,400? That’s nearly double the original amount in interest alone.
So what’s our advice? Christmas Day is, when all said and done, just another day, and taking advantage of easy credit can leave you with the disadvantage of difficult debts. Avoid the temptation to take out expensive credit you can’t afford just for the sake of one day.
If you’re on a tight budget then remember that your friends and family would probably consider that togetherness, fun and laughter are the secrets to a fabulous Christmas. So, for those of us that are lucky enough to spend Christmas with our nearest and dearest we should relax and enjoy the time spent with them. That doesn’t need to cost anything.
“All I want for Christmas is…”
Payplan can offer budgeting and free debt advice before and after
Christmas on freephone 0800 254 5205 or by submitting your details online using their debt assessment