Beating your finance blues

If, despite your best intentions, you’ve woken from the festive haze too afraid to open your credit card bill, help is at hand. We asked award-winning financial expert Sarah Pennells of for her financial hangover cures…


Take a short, sharp, cold shower

Come clean with your bank and credit card company. If you continue to overspend, the interest and daily fees will cripple you.


Don’t stick to the same high interest credit cards. Switch to an interest-free credit card if your credit rating is good enough – this will give you breathing space while you cut down your spending. Check for the best deals.

Break bad habits

Don’t take cash out on your credit card – they will charge you interest immediately and it will damage your credit rating.

Know your limit

Don’t spend up to the limit on your credit cards. Credit rating companies like to see a healthy 30 per cent gap between your credit limit and your balance.

Make a golden financial New Year resolution

Get a financial health check to see what you need to work on. Deal with any skeletons lurking in your financial closet promptly so you can aim for a healthy balance sheet before next Christmas. Check your credit rating for free at

If you slip up, get back on track

If you do miss a card payment, call the company immediately and see if they can drop the charges this once. Missed payments make you look a dodgy risk and will affect your ability to get loans and mortgages.

A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips

Cutting down on anything is painful, but the quicker you start, the easier it is to shift the debt. Supposing you overspent by £600 on Christmas and put it on a credit card charging 20% APR. If you pay the minimum payment of say £15, your £600 shopping spree will take 15 years to pay off and cost you £1,467! You will have wasted £867 – more than the cost of your presents – in interest. But if you increase your payment to £100, you will be debt-free in seven months and pay just £27.49 in interest.

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