Christmas is a special time for many families, when happy memories are forged and everyone comes together. Parents love to see their children's excitement on Christmas morning as they open presents under the tree. But living up to this vision can put parents under huge financial pressure as they struggle to find money to spend on gifts and a celebration.
Starting university is stressful. Although it's a fair while since I went through the process, the daunting task isn't lost on me. The thorniest issues then remain constant now; for some it was the application process, for others achieving their grade expectations, and understandably for many of us, it was the cost.
Perhaps one of the most positive outcomes of the recent economic crisis was the message that consumers would benefit from saving more and borrowing more responsibly. So accessible were interest free loans, 105% mortgages and credit accounts that consumers came to believe they could afford anything, irrespective of their financial circumstances.