There have been warnings that nearly a quarter of us feel under pressure to overspend during the festive period.
This year it has been reported that many people are turning to illegal lenders. It has also been reported that almost half of those who've borrowed money for Christmas this year have used loan sharks, with more than three quarters already struggling to pay them back. Many people turn to loan sharks as they are unable to borrow from high street banks and mainstream lenders.
Taking out credit is not always a good option, especially if you are struggling to pay priorities (like rent or fuel) or are already in debt. Under the pressure of Christmas you are more likely to sign agreements in a rush, without checking the small print.
You should always make sure you know how much the credit is costing you.
Most forms of credit are expensive. If you feel the only way to afford Christmas is to spread the cost by taking out a loan, be very careful to shop around for the best deals. Check the interest rates on offer and compare different forms of credit to see how much you have to pay in total over the whole loan period.
Your Community Bank, Tees Credit Union is a local alternative financial institution who can help local people obtain funds for household goods or cash loans.
Karen Collighan, Financial Education Officer with Tees Credit Union said :
"We may be able to support you with a range of savings and loans products if you cant access these funds from the high street bank. We look at your personal situation when making a decision when lending you money and not just at your credit rating. If you borrowed £300.00 payable over 52 weeks at only £6.97 per week would cost a total of £362.22. The same loan borrowed from a doorstep lender would be repayable at a total of £546.00. "
For more information drop in to your Community Bank at Stratford House, Ramsgage, Stockton TS18 1BS or call us on 01642 941911 or to find your local collection point www.teescreditunion.co.uk.
If you are struggling to pay back loans and pay bills or are worried about a loan shark, visit our debt section by clicking here.
Remember, your consumer rights changed on 1st October. Be a clever Christmas consumer and make sure you understand your new rights when buying and sending this Christmas.