THE BRENT Citizens Advice Bureau has issued tips for local people to help them avoid a Christmas debt hangover.

Thebranch, on Willesden High Road, has released ten pointers that should stop people going dangerously into the red to provide friends and family members with festive gifts.

The top tips have also been published in full as a leaflet, which is available from the branch.

Directorof Brent CAB, Jacqueline Carr, said: “We all want to have the best possible Christmas and to do that it’s important to make sure you’re aware of what you’re spending and how to be more savvy when you shop.

“Wewant to get the message out to people in the local community and hopefully keep as many people as possible out of the red this Christmas.

“If you do get into difficulties, get advice as soon as you can from us or visit”

The tips for Brent residents include:

-Planning early for Christmas. "Be realistic and budget accordingly. It is advisable to work out how much you are going to spend on each person and stick to it."

-Don’t forget the everyday bills. "Remember that rent, the mortgage, utility bills, food bills and other existing debts still have to be paid– and the consequences can be severe if they’re not."

-Keep things simple. "If you can afford to pay for your goods outright by cash, cheque, or debit card, don’t be persuaded to takeout extended credit agreements unless they really do workout cheaper."

-Buy safe to be safe. "Whatever the deal, whatever the temptation, don’t buy from unauthorised traders and don’t borrow from unauthorised lenders. The initial savings and convenience may prove to be a false economy."

-Be organised. "There’s a lot to remember at Christmas. If you’ve borrowed money don’t forget that it won’t be long before you have to make a payment. Make sure you pay on time, even if it is only the minimum, or you will be faced with additional charges."

Anyone wanting more money management advice this Christmas, is encouraged to visit Brent Citizens Advice Bureau.

Whatdo you think about people getting into debt to buy presents? Contact, call 07795 666587 or follow @annajessicat on Twitter