Salvation Army warns of 'vicious' debt cycle after Christmas

Salvation Army warns of 'vicious' debt cycle after Christmas

Salvation Army warns of 'vicious' debt cycle after Christmas

Updated 11 January 2017, 8:55 AEDT

Demand for The Salvation Army's free financial advice service skyrockets across the country over the holiday season, with the wait time in some areas doubling to four weeks.

Demand for The Salvation Army's free financial advice service Moneycare has skyrocketed across the country over the holiday season, with the wait time in some areas doubling to four weeks.

The charity said some people forgo their debt repayments in order to buy gifts and do the "normal" things at Christmas.

Townsville-based Moneycare financial advisor Louise Crocombe called on people to take stock of their financial situation and reel in spending before post-Christmas bills started rolling in.

"[People] feel they have to spend on gifts and they have to spend maybe on travel, and they need to provide food so we do find that families think it's an obligation to spend quite a bit," Ms Crocombe said.

With the first day of the school year approaching, Ms Crocombe said costs were continuing to mount for some after the holiday season.

But she warned people not to be lured by the temptation of "payday" loans, which she said could trap people in a "vicious cycle" of debt.

"The interest and fees on these can be quite harmful in the long run so we do ask that people think and plan before spending," Ms Crocombe said.

She said there were other options available.

"For instance we have no-interest loan schemes [NILS] and there's various providers of NILS... and there's also the National Debt [Helpline] which used to be called Financial First Aid," Ms Crocombe said.

"This is also a great option. It's financial counsellors on the phone."

One NILS provider, Good Shepherd Microfinance, administers interest-free loans to community-based organisations which work directly with clients.

Queensland manager Karen Denham said many people did not realise interest-free loans existed, and often went for interest bearing options.

"Usually people will find money from somewhere, but it's not necessarily the best choice for them, whereas this option is no interest, no fees, no charges," she said.

"So if you get a $700 fridge, you're going to pay $700 back."