Helping hand with the post festive bill ...

Pat Hanson is offering advice for those struggling with post-Christmas debt
Pat Hanson is offering advice for those struggling with post-Christmas debt
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Members of a local charity who help those in financial crisis are offering advice and support for Fifers struggling with post-Christmas debt.

The Burntisland-based branch of Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has provided some tips to help locals get through January if they find themselves strapped for cash after all the festivities.

Pat Hanson, centre manager, told the Press that if people know they have overspent, they should look at their finances as soon as possible to get their bank account back into shape.

She said: “Start by going back to your budget and seeing what you might be able to do without this month.

“If you don’t have a budget, the online website Moneysavingexpert.com has a free online one, or download an app to your smartphone.

“Simple things like eating up what’s left in the freezer, buying a supermarket’s own brand or inviting friends over instead of going out can save you valuable pounds.

“Challenge yourself to find activities with the family that are free, like going for walks or playing games. Instead of heading to out to the cinema, borrow a DVD for free from your local library or have your friends over for a movie night.

“The more you can do to cut back, the less tempted you will be to overspend or take out further credit.

“While it’s rarely Christmas on its own that gets people into debt, using credit to pay for gifts can make a fragile situation worse.”

Pat continued: “If you’re worrying about debt, pick up the phone and call our Freephone number 0800 328 0006, or pop into our CAP CAFE which runs every Thursday 11.30 a.m till 2.00 p.m. at Whytecauseway Baptist Church, Kirkcaldy.

“The first step is often the hardest, but once you’ve made the call you can start looking forward to the future. We offer one to one support if needed, and we’re experienced in dealing with the banks and loan companies. It’s never too early to start saving, so once that next pay cheque arrives, put a small amount into a savings account for next Christmas.

“Make it a New Year’s resolution – a choice to be in control of your finances, and not the other way around.” For more information on CAP, visit www.capuk.org