Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search

Results: What do you think of the Debt-Free Christmas Idea

Great Idea

47.83% • 11 votes

Not a good idea

52.17% • 12 votes

You may not vote on this poll

23 votes in total.

  • FIRST POST
    • SRowlands
    • By SRowlands 13th Oct 16, 1:19 PM
    • 2Posts
    • 6Thanks
    SRowlands
    Debt Free Christmas Idea
    • #1
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:19 PM
    Debt Free Christmas Idea 13th Oct 16 at 1:19 PM
    I have had an idea for a campaign that I think would work really well and help people falling into debt over Christmas...

    We already have some regular bills that are spread over 10 months rather than 12, with no payments in Feb / Mar, but how about if the MSE team could approach all the major utility providers and councils to suggest that they all offer this option, but the payment free months would be December and January (or November and December).
    Although this would mean that the average monthly bills would increase slightly, it would result in households having an extra £300 - £500 a month over the Christmas period - enough to pay for Christmas without spending on credit.

    Any feedback on the idea would be appreciated - let me know what you think... good idea or rubbish ?!?
Page 1
    • tori.k
    • By tori.k 13th Oct 16, 1:41 PM
    • 2,604 Posts
    • 5,632 Thanks
    tori.k
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:41 PM
    • #2
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:41 PM
    Not trying to put a downer on the idea, but it's something I would say utilities provider's would say can already be done with the option of a prepayment meter for energy, water & TV licences are also on a variable payment option to suit. Debt at Christmas is purely consumer debt, if you opt not to spend what you don't have there is no debt.
    Penny saver 19.53/671.61
    Debit to Credit (stage 1) 3652.34 completed 15/10/16
    Debit to Credit (stage 2) 106.67 /4500.00

    150/6190
    0/151200
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 13th Oct 16, 1:42 PM
    • 6,357 Posts
    • 35,118 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:42 PM
    • #3
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:42 PM
    I'm not voting in the poll because I don;t feel either answer really covers it. In theory it sounds like a good idea - but the problem is that it doesn't address the issue which is that people who put christmas on a card do it because they fail to budget. As Martin said years ago - it really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone - it's on the same day every single year without fail, and we have a full 12 months to plan for one after the next!

    The sad thing is that the people who get themselves into a mess at Christmas would still have to a) think ahead enough to request to be converted onto this scheme, and b ) Not get themselves in a deeper hole as a result of being £30 - 50 a month worse off the rest of the year... How many of them do you HONESTLY think currently put the Council Tax/Water rates money aside at the moment, as opposed to those who simply never even notice it and just fritter it away?

    I'm firmly of the opinion that financial education and increasing understanding that credit can be a choice, it does not have to be a way of life, is the way forward, but nannying people and in effect "doing it for them" doesn't help - as if you do that their understanding of their situation never increases.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    • DomRavioli
    • By DomRavioli 13th Oct 16, 1:46 PM
    • 2,856 Posts
    • 4,766 Thanks
    DomRavioli
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:46 PM
    • #4
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:46 PM
    Rubbish - most people haven't got the money to increase to 10 months, especially as winter is high on utilities.

    And not sure where you get your figures from either - I know it wouldn't give me an extra £300; maybe £100 but nowhere near that and I'm in a three bed semi with an extension and having 14 people stay over xmas. Also bills wouldn't increase slightly, add £300 onto 3 utilities, thats an extra £100 each per year, or a tenner a month per utility (at ten months). Most people haven't got £30 lying about every month, and those that this may help deffo do not have £30 every month, ten months of the year.

    If people choose to get in debt at christmas, that is up to them, but this is completely ill thought out. When you have an income of less than £100 a week (as a lot of people do), taking 10% of it for this purpose is just crazy.
    Last edited by DomRavioli; 13-10-2016 at 1:48 PM.
    Observe, Adapt, Overcome.
    SPC 2015 #497
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 13th Oct 16, 1:51 PM
    • 6,357 Posts
    • 35,118 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:51 PM
    • #5
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:51 PM
    Rubbish - most people haven't got the money to increase to 10 months, especially as winter is high on utilities.

    And not sure where you get your figures from either - I know it wouldn't give me an extra £300; maybe £100 but nowhere near that and I'm in a three bed semi with an extension and having 14 people stay over xmas. Also bills wouldn't increase slightly, add £300 onto 3 utilities, thats an extra £100 each per year, or a tenner a month per utility (at ten months). Most people haven't got £30 lying about every month, and those that this may help deffo do not have £30 every month, ten months of the year.

    If people choose to get in debt at christmas, that is up to them, but this is completely ill thought out. When you have an income of less than £100 a week (as a lot of people do), taking 10% of it for this purpose is just crazy.
    Originally posted by DomRavioli
    Decent points but appallingly put across. Courtesy to other posters costs nothing and should ESPECIALLY be applied when someone is new to the forum.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    • MoneyMission2015
    • By MoneyMission2015 13th Oct 16, 1:57 PM
    • 621 Posts
    • 3,070 Thanks
    MoneyMission2015
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:57 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Oct 16, 1:57 PM
    I don't think it's a good idea. It wouldn't give anybody 'extra' money during the Christmas period, because they would be paying for it during the rest of the year. As an example, my gas & electric combined is £65 per month over 12 months. If I were to pay that over 10 months instead it would cost me £78 per month. So for 10 months of the year I would be 'down' £13 per month but then in November and December I would have £156 to spend. I could just save that £13 per month myself and be able to buy bargains throughout the year when I spot them, rather than having to wait until I have the free months. I noticed last year that most of the sales and offers were in September and October and then come November/December, prices shot right back up for almost everything. I bought my daughter a Lego Friends Hotel last year on offer for £75 in September but by the end of October it has shot right up to £95. So if your 'free' months were November and December, you'd be paying the highest prices for stuff that you could have got for a lower price 2 months before if you just saved the money in your own account.

    As another poster said, Christmas isn't a surprise to any of us, it comes at the same time every year so if you want to be able to buy family & friends a gift then you should be planning for it all year. I'm definitely not preaching, because I am guilty of using credit cards in the past which is the reason most of us are on this board, but I have learnt a lot in the last few years and I now budget my money to the penny every month so that I can not only pay debts, but can also save for Christmas, birthdays, emergency fund etc. I've actually got 10 savings 'pots' on the go now and I just stay strict with myself to save every month without fail. A few times I've felt like going on a bit of a splurge and spending it all, but then I think about what I will do if my car breaks down or how I'm going to pay for my daughters Christmas presents and it stops me.

    I know some people are not at that point yet but a scheme like this wouldn't help. I put my council tax money towards debts now in February and March, but looking back on previous years before I had my lightbulb moment, I honestly couldn't tell you where that money went for those 2 months. Probably blown on new clothes and toys for my kids and possibly a few takeaways.
    Last edited by MoneyMission2015; 13-10-2016 at 2:02 PM.
    • SRowlands
    • By SRowlands 13th Oct 16, 2:24 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    SRowlands
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 16, 2:24 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Oct 16, 2:24 PM
    Ah well... as mentioned it was just an idea, and apologies if it wasn't put across well but this was my first post...

    For information with regards to the calculations, I based these on my own circumstances as follows...

    Council Tax - £180 / month
    Gas/Electric - £65 / month (slightly less now thanks to MSE Big Switch !!!)
    Water/Waste - £45 / month
    Landline/Broadband - £35 / month
    Sky - £50 / month

    So total for me is £375 per month. With this idea my monthly outgoings would increase to £450 per month, but then I would not have these outgoings over Christmas giving me an extra £900 over the two months...

    Of course, I would be in the fortunate position of being able to pay the extra each month, but can fully see that others might not be in a position to afford it, and it would be those that I was thinking the scheme would benefit most...

    Okay... bad idea, and feedback appreciated :-)
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 13th Oct 16, 2:38 PM
    • 6,357 Posts
    • 35,118 Thanks
    EssexHebridean
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 16, 2:38 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Oct 16, 2:38 PM
    It's like I said though - the theory wasn't a bad one!

    Welcome to the forums - have a browse about and make yourself at home!
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    • Ilona
    • By Ilona 13th Oct 16, 2:51 PM
    • 1,539 Posts
    • 5,659 Thanks
    Ilona
    • #9
    • 13th Oct 16, 2:51 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Oct 16, 2:51 PM
    Welcome SRowlands. At least you have tried to come up with a solution to that age old problem of how to afford Christmas. As already stated people are living from month to month and don't have much spare cash left over.

    There is another way to avoid spending more at the end of the year, and that is to drastically reduce the presents and entertainment budget, it is not compulsory to join in. And as already suggested, we know Christmas comes at exactly the same time every year, so start saving in January with a monthly budget, even if it is only a few £'s, and put it somewhere where it can't be spent until December 1st.
    Ilona
    I love skip diving
    • DomRavioli
    • By DomRavioli 13th Oct 16, 4:18 PM
    • 2,856 Posts
    • 4,766 Thanks
    DomRavioli
    Decent points but appallingly put across. Courtesy to other posters costs nothing and should ESPECIALLY be applied when someone is new to the forum.
    Originally posted by EssexHebridean
    You're entitled to your opinion, but not to drag mine down. On the block list you go.
    Observe, Adapt, Overcome.
    SPC 2015 #497
    • Pixie5740
    • By Pixie5740 13th Oct 16, 10:19 PM
    • 8,862 Posts
    • 11,882 Thanks
    Pixie5740
    If your bills are £375 a month but you could afford to pay £450 a month then you could set aside £75 a month for Christmas. That's what I do and end up with a nice lump sum in December to spend and it allows me to pick up presents throughout the year in sales. January is a good time to pick up wrapping paper, Christmas card and crackers but you do have to remember where you put them.
    Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 13th Oct 16, 10:38 PM
    • 1,804 Posts
    • 2,999 Thanks
    Smodlet
    Hi and welcome.

    I disagree with your idea as well. If people want to celebrate Christmas, that is their choice. Like anything you choose to buy rather than have to buy, how you pay for it is also your choice... and your problem. Bills have to be paid for. Christmas does not.

    There are plenty of ideas on here about how to cut the cost of presents, one is doing things for others (vouchers for free baby-sitting, for example) rather than buying things that may well be returned the next day! Personally, were I prepared to baby-sit for free, I would do so anyway. It would not be an alternative to a present but a favour I would do for a friend.

    Christmas has become more a retail-fest than anything else. I chose long ago to have nothing to do with it. I don't care what anyone thinks of my choice. Bah, humbug!
    What is this life, if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?

    Every stew starts with the first onion.

    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 14th Oct 16, 11:58 AM
    • 8,370 Posts
    • 8,204 Thanks
    sourcrates
    Hi and welcome.

    I disagree with your idea as well. If people want to celebrate Christmas, that is their choice. Like anything you choose to buy rather than have to buy, how you pay for it is also your choice... and your problem. Bills have to be paid for. Christmas does not.

    There are plenty of ideas on here about how to cut the cost of presents, one is doing things for others (vouchers for free baby-sitting, for example) rather than buying things that may well be returned the next day! Personally, were I prepared to baby-sit for free, I would do so anyway. It would not be an alternative to a present but a favour I would do for a friend.

    Christmas has become more a retail-fest than anything else. I chose long ago to have nothing to do with it. I don't care what anyone thinks of my choice. Bah, humbug!
    Originally posted by Smodlet
    Couldn't agree more smodlet,

    The "Christmas period" now seems to start mid November, it gets earlier every year, its all about trying to prise as much cash as possible from your wallet, i absolutely hate it.

    Add to that i`m not in the least bit religious, and if other people wish to imitate lemmings and worship invisible men in the sky, then thats up to them.

    The only saving grace, is the Christmas dinner, the only part of Christmas that should not be forsaken, so bad idea OP, but welcome to the forum anyway.

    Moving on.............
    Last edited by sourcrates; 14-10-2016 at 12:25 PM.

    For free debt advice please call National Debtline on
    0808 808 4000
    Monday to Friday
    9am to 9pm
    Saturday 9.30am to 1pm
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 14th Oct 16, 12:31 PM
    • 1,804 Posts
    • 2,999 Thanks
    Smodlet
    Totally agree about the Christmas dinner, sourcrates, we do that, all right... just on whatever date we feel like having it, doesn't have to be 25th. We are neither lemmings nor sheep... Baaaaahhh humbug!
    What is this life, if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?

    Every stew starts with the first onion.

    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • datlex
    • By datlex 14th Oct 16, 6:20 PM
    • 1,060 Posts
    • 911 Thanks
    datlex
    I would say utilities provider's would say can already be done with the option of a prepayment meter for energy, water & TV licences are also on a variable payment option to suit.
    Originally posted by tori.k
    Have you had a prepayment meter, had you done so you would know that unless you preload your meter, you will pay significantly more in the winter months. There is also with some companies a limit to how much credit the meter will hold. Credit meters and monthly bills are much better then you could average it out over 10 months of the year.

    Rubbish - most people haven't got the money to increase to 10 months, especially as winter is high on utilities.
    And not sure where you get your figures from either - I know it wouldn't give me an extra £300; maybe £100 but nowhere near that and I'm in a three bed semi .... Also bills wouldn't increase slightly, add £300 onto 3 utilities, thats an extra £100 each per year, or a tenner a month per utility (at ten months). Most people haven't got £30 lying about every month, and those that this may help deffo do not have £30 every month, ten months of the year.
    ... When you have an income of less than £100 a week (as a lot of people do), taking 10% of it for this purpose is just crazy.
    Originally posted by DomRavioli
    Most people I know would have £30 a month lying about as you describe it. I have to say I am impressed that you are able to live in a three bed semi and only have bills of £100 a month. Please let is know how :-)
    I think you have misunderstood the OP. What they are saying is you divide the total you pay for your bills over the year by 10 rather than 12. So for example if you pay £200 a month over 12 months you would pay a total over the year of £2400. If you then divided the £2400 by 10 instead of 12 your monthly bills would be £240 with two months without payments. Of course you are simply paying early you are not actually saving money.

    I don't think it's a good idea. It wouldn't give anybody 'extra' money during the Christmas period, because they would be paying for it during the rest of the year. ...Christmas isn't a surprise to any of us, it comes at the same time every year so if you want to be able to buy family & friends a gift then you should be planning for it all year .... I now budget my money to the penny every month so that I can not only pay debts, but can also save for Christmas, birthdays, emergency fund etc. I've actually got 10 savings 'pots' on the go now and I just stay strict with myself to save every month without fail...
    Originally posted by MoneyMission2015
    totally agree budgeting is vital. It is also important to remember it is the thought that counts.

    OP I can see where you are coming from but I think it misses a few things. I think you might be doing it the wrong way round. Get the £900 at start of year and invest it in a high interest current account to get interest.
    • thegreenone
    • By thegreenone 14th Oct 16, 6:54 PM
    • 168 Posts
    • 320 Thanks
    thegreenone
    You can do it yourself but it takes strong will. You take yourself off DD for all your utilities, set up standing orders and then overpay each month Jan-Oct. Many companies require a DD but do not take it if you have already paid the monthly amount by date due.


    My husband is weekly paid so almost all our bills are divided weekly. Our most expensive time is January and February, so I start paying our council tax at the beginning of March. Last year I managed to overpay weekly and had December free too. DIY but be strong and as the others have said a good budget is vital.
    2016 £2 Saver's club: £54/£250
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 14th Oct 16, 7:11 PM
    • 1,804 Posts
    • 2,999 Thanks
    Smodlet
    If you pay for gas/electric/telecoms/tv by any method other than DD, it will be more expensive. Providers give discounts for paying by this method.
    What is this life, if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?

    Every stew starts with the first onion.

    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • thegreenone
    • By thegreenone 14th Oct 16, 7:44 PM
    • 168 Posts
    • 320 Thanks
    thegreenone
    My only discount is for dual fuel £1.45.. Wowzer! Yes, it all adds up, but I'm not going to change my system for 36p a week. We renegotiate our BT deal every year so that probably covers any extra.

    Water is £10 a week for 48 weeks. I choose the weeks I don't have to pay.

    I used to pay by SO for G&E but thanks to MSE's collective last year it was worth switching but had to go DD. I don't like DDs, it's my money I like to be in control. However my provider put up my DD by £50 pm earlier this year whereas previously I could decide how much, and when, I increased my SO.
    Last edited by thegreenone; 15-10-2016 at 8:14 AM.
    2016 £2 Saver's club: £54/£250
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 20th Oct 16, 1:38 PM
    • 1,804 Posts
    • 2,999 Thanks
    Smodlet
    My dual fuel discount is £90 per year, can't remember what the DD discount is but there is one... to each, his/her own taste and choice.

    I bet you are still nostalgic for postal orders, huh?
    What is this life, if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?

    Every stew starts with the first onion.

    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • Sanctioned Parts List
    • By Sanctioned Parts List 21st Oct 16, 3:30 AM
    • 294 Posts
    • 764 Thanks
    Sanctioned Parts List
    Awh I still vaguely remember having to queue up at a branch of the local electricity board to pay the quarterly bill in cash! Nope, don't miss history - nasty, inefficient and slow.

Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

74Posts Today

3,498Users online

Martin's Twitter