Chatting to my son on Friday evening, I learned that one of his mates has been asked by his parents to forego a gift this year, in favour of keeping the magic of Christmas alive for his younger sister. I must say, we both found this tough for a 14 year old to handle, and Will gave a strong defence of how stressful it is for teenagers when they are so easily judged by their peers.
But, when it comes to the Christmas crunch, what can you?
You may have read about the new 0% payday loan, available in the last eight days of every month - settle it quick and pay nothing... Buyer beware, though, because when you look at the small print, if you miss the eight day deadline, you’ll pay interest from the minute the loan was made, right up to when you can pay it.
What’s more, if there is any problem with funds going into your account - and we all know the damage Bank Holidays can do there - a continuous payment authority will come looking for the loan, plus interest, plus penalty charges, every seven days, up to twice a day. That’s an awful lot of unauthorised bank charges to add to your woes - Happy New Yuck!
Have you opened a Credit Union account yet?
No doubt, our regular readers will have opened a Credit Union account, entitling them to borrow a small amount of money within three months of saving. Keep these on hold if you can, because they are ideal for covering post-Christmas emergencies like burst pipes, bald tyres and all those other horrors that seem to crop up without fail after we’re all fested out.
Tell me about it!
Still, I was very taken with Will’s advice for parents. Talk to your kids, he says, especially if they're teens who can handle some responsibility, because they’ll have ideas you had not considered. For instance, many youngsters know all about the second hand deals in DVD and game shops, and may be delighted to pick out a bundle so all the family can lay claim to a list of credible gifts.
Time it right...
Above all, Will believes children need more of our time, a spot of advice that sits well with recent research by Unicef, stating that British kids are among the least happy in the developed world, because we keep giving them things instead of attention. The parting tip I found most moving was to stick to your family traditions. Even if your meal has value crackers and tinned veg, Will says keeping some sense of normality helps kids trust that no matter what, your love is still strong.
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