Christmas Debt Pitfalls
It can be tempting to over spend at Christmas time, to throw caution to the wind, to worry about it later. When the credit card bills come in in January, however, is when reality bites for many people, and they realise that they can’t afford ALL of the commitments they made in December. Last January credit card debt reached a record high in New Zealand, showing that debt increases incredibly over the Christmas period. If you feel that you are getting into unmanageable debt, there are options for how to deal with this before the busy Christmas season.
Options for dealing with unmanageable debt include:
- Seeing a budget advisor. They can help you work out how you got into this situation and can help you think of ways to cut back on your expenditure.
- Tell your creditors as soon as possible, so they know of your situation, and try to negotiate changes in your payments with the creditor so that these can be managed.
- Check your credit contracts so you know what property may be repossessed, and find out what to expect if this happens.
- Check to see whether Work and Income assistance is available.
- If you think you will not be able to meet your tax obligations, contact the Inland Revenue Department and tell them of your situation.
- Get legal advice about your insolvency options (just in case) e.g. No Asset Procedure, Summary Instalment Order, bankruptcy.
If you are unsure about the implications of a credit contract or are being chased for money that you do not think you owe, Community Law Marlborough can help. We can read your contract, explain what they mean in actual terms, and direct you to budget advisors that will be able to help you to sort out your debt. If you dispute the amount owed, are being chased for an invoice that you believe you have already paid, or are being taken to court to recover debt, we can help organise your paperwork and help you understand your rights. If you would like advice about insolvency options, Community Law Marlborough can advise on this, and can help fill out the paperwork to make sure this happens smoothly. Drop in to 16 Market St Blenheim, or call on 0800 266 529 for free, confidential advice on any of these matters.