Did you know that shoppers are expected to spend £2.4 billion on Black Friday deals? You could argue this is a little crazy when UK personal debts stands at £1.59 trillion with so many people struggling to make ends meet. You can put your head in the sand until after Christmas about your financial situation but that will only make things worse.
At its heart, Black Friday is an effective marketing strategy. So many minds have worked out just how to tempt you into spending what you cannot really afford. The reality is that you do not save money when you give in to Black Friday. You spend it and perhaps more than you intended and on stuff you did not want until big marketing budgets got into your head and heart.
Community Money Advice
Heather Keates, Chief Executive of Community Money Advice, says:
“Christmas is a challenging time for household finances. At a time of year when families pay more on essential bills such as heating, the cost of Christmas can push households further into debt. We would encourage families to stick to a budget and remember that what we spend in credit will need to be paid for in the new year”.
As a former debt counsellor, I know how easily a change in circumstances can often make it difficult for people to pay back debts which can leave people feeling trapped, isolated and powerless. You can’t always predict job losses, increases in fuel/food costs, bereavement or illness. However, sadly a real stigma remains around people who find themselves in financial difficulty.
Single mum Anna used catalogues and credit cards to get by until her circumstances changed when her Father died.
“I felt really low and ignored my debts and bills. Eventually my debts got sold on to a debt collection company who began knocking on my door regularly … to make sure my daughter had what she needed I would go without, things like new clothes for work or even food. It’s been really important to receive long-term support … since gaining a Debt Relief Order I have been helped to budget and apply for discounts I’m entitled to. Overall I’m a much happier person … if you’re in trouble, you might have to push past your boundaries to get the help you need”.
I agree with Anna. It is a sign of strength to ask for help. We are blessed in the UK in having charities that can help us free of charge with a whole range of issues. We have several money advice charities only too happy to help.
Community Money Advice manages a network of 159 debt advice charities where 1,200 advisors are currently offering face-to-face help and practical support to 5,328 families, managing £154 million of debt. Face-to-face advice and support is a lifeline to people trapped in debt. In 2018 Community Money Advice helped 19,059 people find freedom from debt and hope for the future.
Community Money Advice are asking anyone experiencing stress because of money problems to seek professional help.
For more information, please visit www.communitymoneyadvice.com