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money.co.uk comment: tips on getting out of debt before Christmas

If you're struggling with debt it can feel difficult to keep your head above water. Clearing debt before Christmas can be really challenging, especially if it runs into the thousands of pounds that can't be paid off using your monthly salary.
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Personal finance expert, Salman Haqqi, outlines his tips on how to pay off debt

Sit down and write a list of all the debts you have, and the interest you're paying

Remember to include all types of debt including credit cards, loans, overdrafts, loans from family and mortgages. This at least allows you to see the size of the problem.

Address the most important debts

Debts that are secured against property such as car loans or mortgages. You must be sure you can continue to make these payments as their consequences for not doing so will be most severe.

Look at your unsecured borrowing such as credit cards or personal loans

A direct debit can help you meet repayment deadlines so you don't forfeit a promotional interest rate, incur penalty charges and harm your credit rating.

Don't ignore it

If you can't afford your unsecured borrowing in addition to your priority debts, don't simply ignore it: get free debt advice for how to inform your lender - whether that's from a debt charity or from a professional debt service.

Consolidate to reduce interest rates

An effective debt solution in some cases is to try and reduce this by consolidating debt into one low interest loan. Alternatively, shifting debt onto a 0% interest credit card can sometimes help with debt problems - as long as you can pay off the balance before the 0% rate expires. Alternatively you can try low rate personal loans to pay off high interest credit cards. This has the benefit of providing a fixed interest rate throughout the life of the loan.

See expert advice

Debt consolidation isn't always the best option and the most reliable route is to seek expert debt advice. An expert can advise you on every debt solution available to you and plan the best course of action for your individual circumstances.

Overall, dealing with debts is a challenging task, but when you break the problem down into its component parts you can start plotting a way out.

Our spokespeople

Salman Haqqi

Salman Haqqi, Personal Finance Editor

Salman Haqqi spent 10 years as a journalist reporting in several countries around the world. Salman left the world of journalism and moved to the UK to pursue a passion for personal finance and a desire to help people make informed financial decisions.

Read Salman Haqqi's articles and guides
Joel Kempson

Joel Kempson, Personal Finance Writer

Joel Kempson devotes his time to helping people navigate the world of personal finance and make informed decisions about their money. He spent his early career writing about TV, movies, comic books and rock music.

Read Joel Kempson's articles and guides