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Plan the year ahead and give youself some credit.

THE key to ensuring you never suffer another Christmas debt hangover is to start saving for next time as soon as this year's borrowing is repaid.

Details of how to do this are at Consumerdirect.gov. uk/savexmas.

One sensible option is a credit union savings account. Credit unions are independent financial co-operatives, owned and controlled by their members.

They are regulated by the Financial Services Authority, so the money is as safe as it would be in a bank. Unions are open to anyone who lives or works in their area or who shares their common bond - such as a job or trade union membership.

You can open an ordinary account, which means you can save for any purpose, and access to your money whenever you want it, or you can choose a special Christmas account.

Scotwest Credit Union chief Rod Ashley said: "Our Christmas savings account runs the whole year, allowing people to save every week or month, depending on their situation. After a year, they are paid in a lump sum, leaving them to enjoy the festive period without worrying about how they'll pay for it."

Log on to Findyourcreditunion.

co.uk, or call the Association of British Credit Unions (0161 832 3694) or the Scottish League of Credit Unions (0141 774 5020).

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COIN IT IN: Putting money away eases fears
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 13, 2011
Words:226
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