Residents across the Harrogate district are being advised to think before they get into debt this Christmas, to make sure they aren't left with unmanageable bills to pay come the New Year.
Christmas is the time of year families and friends look to try and spend quality time together, enjoy the festive season and of course exchange gifts. There's often a lot of pressure to spend money on increasingly extravagant gifts, which can cause stress and sleepless nights spent thinking about how to make Christmas affordable.
Harrogate Borough Council has teamed up with the White Rose (Leeds City) Credit Union to enable their financial services to be offered across the Harrogate district.
Affordability is at the forefront of all credit union lending and every case is assessed on its own merit. Credit union accounts are available to a range of customers; even if somebody has been turned down for a bank account in the past, a credit union may be able to help, providing a bill paying account to help people struggling to manage weekly, fortnightly or monthly outgoings.
A Christmas savings account enables someone to save on a regular basis, but only access the money in November and December. Credit unions can also offer low interest loans to pay off high interest debts.
As well as teaming up with the White Rose Credit Union, Harrogate Borough Council has a 'Managing your money' team. Advisers can suggest changes to make sure people can live within their means, as well as provide advice on a range of issues such as benefits, energy bills and other organisations who can help.
Councillor Richard Cooper, the Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: "Supporting our communities is a key council priority, and we recognise the importance of financial stability in our residents’ health and wellbeing. We want to make the district an excellent place to live and give people the support they need.
"We're all regularly exposed to adverts for payday loans offering a cash injection within fifteen minutes of applying and these become more of a temptation around Christmas time. But it's easy to forget that the loan needs to be repaid, plus interest at incredibly high rates.
"That is why it is important that people realise that there are other options such as the White Rose Credit Union and impartial advice from Harrogate council's 'Managing your money' team. It's a confidential service available by calling 01423 500600 or visiting www.harrogate.gov.uk/managingyourmoney. We are here to help and we can help; just get in touch."
To find out more about how the council's money management team can help visit www.harrogate.gov.uk/managingyourmoney or phone 01423 500600.
For more about White Rose Credit Union services go to www.leedscreditunion.co.uk/whiterose.
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