Finance expert Anthony Bell gives advice on how to keep out of debt this Christmas and become financially secure

By Anthony Bell, Finance Expert

During the festive season, many of us get a little too festive and overspend. To avoid this, RESCU’s finance expert, Anthony Bell, has listed simple ways to stay in the black over the silly season.

1. Set a budget for your Christmas spending. This should consider Christmas presents, holidays and food.

2. Stick to the budget! There is no point in setting a budget if you are not going to stick to it.

3. Don’t spend money you don’t have. It is common for retailers to promote Christmas payment terms, which allows you to buy now and pay in a couple of months. If you don’t have the cash, all this does is delay the problem. Also if you don’t have the money later to pay the bill, they will sting you with large interest rates.

When it comes to the end of the year, it is also a good time to take a personal stock take on your year-end finances. Set New Year’s resolutions around the following:

1. Look at the terms of your mortgage, particularly the fees and interest rates. Make sure you are getting the best deal possible by speaking to your bank and other financial institutions.

2. Do a health check of your credit cards. If you do have balances accruing interest, look at zero or low rate interest cards. That way the payments you make will go towards the debt rather than the interest!

3. Set a budget for the household for 2010 and stick to it!

4. Look at all your insurances and make sure you are covered. Insurances to consider include income protection, death and trauma and health insurance.

5. Make sure your wills are in place and up to date.

6. Set goals for your finances, such as paying debt by a certain amount, or saving a set amount of money.

By following these tips, you will not only have a great Christmas, but 2010 will also be a prosperous year for you and your family.

For more information about your finances or to make an appointment with a specialist from Bell Partners, go to

Congratulations to Bell Partners for winning the Business Weekly Review (BRW) Top 100 Accounting Firm for 2009, making that the seventh consecutive year running.

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