OFT says start saving for next Christmas now

The OFT is providing practical advice to people wishing to avoid the financial strain they may have faced this Christmas as part of its Save Xmas campaign. Top tips include:

Plan early - be realistic about what you are going to need for next year and budget accordingly.

Look at your options - find out about the pros and cons of post office, bank, building society and credit union savings schemes, as well as Christmas clubs, supermarket stamps and hamper schemes.

Take action - choose the best option for you, and start putting some money aside.

David Murphy, head of campaigns at the Office of Fair Trading, said: “It may seem a bit early to be thinking about next Christmas, when many of us are still eating the leftovers from this one. But we want people to be in a position to enjoy Christmas without getting into financial difficulties and that often requires a bit of forward planning.

“It's all too easy to overspend so that we can create a special and memorable time for our friends and family. The idea of saving money can be daunting but there is practical help available.”

The Citizens Advice Bureau has supported the OFT in encouraging people to save through this campaign. Its head of financial capability, John Rhodes, added: “Every year we see lots of people struggling with the financial and emotional challenges of post Christmas debt.

“But with a bit of planning you can look into the options available and set up a savings plan that's right for you.

“Why not make a New Year's Resolution to avoid a Christmas debt hangover next year.”