Credit Unions across Mid Ulster are asking people to think about their Christmas budgets and save a little so they are not hit with big bills early next year.
They are also advising people to plan how much they can afford to spend - and stick to it, as this will put families in a better position to keep a tight rein on Christmas shopping costs.
But added, if you cannot afford to pay for something without a loan, you simply cannot afford it.
It’s easy to say but it’s still true - the best gift at Christmas is being together - and that costs nothing.
Rosemary O’Doherty of the Irish League of Credit Unions said: “Given the current economic difficulties we are advising local people to begin making their Christmas preparations a little bit earlier this year.
“We are inviting members and non-members alike to visit our office and see what options are available to prevent debt later in the year.
“By putting money aside in the credit union now you will not only ease the cost of Christmas down the road but will also establish a savings habit which can be beneficial for loans and other services in the future.”
If you are worried about your finances or want some advice on how to put together a budget, visit your local credit union.