As the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, our thoughts might start turning towards festive matters. Christmas is coming, and while this should be a cause for excitement and anticipation of good family times, for many of us there's something less pleasurable on our minds at this time of year. The holiday season gets evermore expensive, and if money is already tight we might worry about how our finances will cope. It's very common for people to use a credit card to cover the expenses of gifts, food, drinks and socialising, intending to pay off their indulgences in the New Year, but this kind of credit is fairly expensive - especially if your good intentions to repay early don't quite succeed and you end up carrying the debt for many months. Another option is to make use of an overdraft facility at the bank, going 'into the red' over the holiday season.
This is a convenient option, but it comes at a price - an overdraft is often expensive to maintain, with both a monthly fee and a percentage interest charge. This can make an overdraft almost expensive as a credit card. There's also the danger that if you overdraw heavily on your account so that you're close to your limit, you're not leaving yourself much financial breathing space should an unexpected expense arrive in January. Besides that, once you've built up an overdraft it can be very hard to pull yourself back into the black, particularly if your normal budget leaves you with little spare cash each month. So what's the solution to this? Are we doomed to a festive season of bread and water, alone and miserable? Well, maybe a personal loan could be the answer. Taking out a loan, if done thoughtfully and with a definite purpose in mind, can provide you with the funds you need to see you through the holidays without plunging you into penury for the rest of the year.
First of all, by shopping around you'll be able to take advantage of the intense competition between loan providers, and you should be able to get yourself credit at a much, much cheaper rate than that of a credit card or an overdraft. This means your monthly repayments can be smaller, or alternatively you can clear the debt much more quickly. Secondly, a loan is usually arranged on a fixed rate basis, meaning that you'll know exactly how much you need to repay every month. This contrasts to the variable rates of credit cards and overdrafts, which can change from month to month, leaving you unsure in your budgetting. Finally, a personal loan is most often repaid over a specified length of time, after which your debt has been cleared.
With a credit card, it's tempting to just make the minimum repayments, which barely cover the interest charges, leaving the best part of your debt uncleared. This is a guaranteed way to enrich the card company while keeping the millstone of debt around your neck. So is a personal loan the right solution for you? Credit should never be taken out without careful consideration of how it will affect your financial future, and it is of course better to live within your means if possible. However, if you decide that credit is the best way forward then a personal loan is often the cheapest and most effective option.
Nicholas Hunt writes for 1Stop Finance, where you can read more about personal loans, both unsecured and secured. Visit today to get a great finance deal!