Did you know, according to the Money Advice Service, the average UK family planned to spend over £800 on Christmas last year?
We all know that Christmas can be an expensive time and one that can have a big impact on your finances. Essential bills need to be covered and ensuring you have enough money for these and all the extra costs that Christmas brings with it can be hard to manage.
Many people find that after Christmas they have built up debts that need to be addressed and this can be a struggle. Getting through the festive period can be made a lot easier by some simple planning and finding savvy ways to make the most of your money. To help you do this we have some tips to help you stay on track.
Plan ahead: With just seven weeks to go until Christmas it is important that you plan out what you are going to spend in the lead up to the festive period. Knowing what you want to get and sticking to your personal plan is a good way to strike the right balance between wants and needs. Also, if you make a plan beforehand, and set aside enough for your rent, it means that you’re more likely to stay on track financially.
Shop online: Online shopping has revolutionised the way that presents are bought, so not only can utilising the internet help keep you out of the cold on those winter afternoons, but you can also find better deals or bargains that you might not find in the shops. A bonus to this is that you get to do most of your shopping from the comfort of your own home. This guide gives you some great gift ideas for under £5.
Set a budget: Setting a budget for the festive period makes things easier especially at the present buying stage as you can sometimes get caught up in the spirit and overspend. If you know you are going to spend perhaps £20 each on present for each member of your family, nobody will feel worse for having less spent on them than someone else, but you also maintain control of your budget; a win-win situation. This useful Christmas Money Planner can help you set a budget.
Loan sharks offer a good way out for people who go over budget at any time of the year but especially at Christmas. They are dangerous and should be avoided at all costs when looking for a way to increase your budget and here’s why.
Don’t Worry – Help is at Hand
If you think you’ll have a difficult time managing your money this Christmas and are concerned about how you will pay your rent or would like to talk about your rent account, we are here to help. Contact one of our Customer Accounts Advisors who can talk through any of your concerns Call on 01403 220440 and select option 1 or chat to us online with webchat - www.shgroup.org.uk/meshg. If you would prefer, we can discuss your account with a friend or relative. Please make sure you let us know so that we can arrange this for you.
If you would like some more general advice and support concerning your budgeting and finances you can also speak to our Financial Skills Officers who are available all year round, not just for Christmas and they will be able to help you with:
Claiming benefits, including advice with Universal Credit
Smart money management, including debt management, finding more affordable credit, and avoiding payday loan companies
Budgeting and planning
Universal Credit customers
Universal Credit changes the way, and how often, your money is paid into your account. There can also be delays at the start of a new claim that means there may be a period over Christmas and into the new year where you don’t receive money that you thought you were due.
If you are receiving Universal Credit the same support as listed above can still be offered to you and our FSOs can help you plan and budget around the way the Universal Credit works. To find out more about Universal Credit please visit our page on Universal Credit.
Get in touch
If you have any concerns or are worried about managing your money sensibly over Christmas or year-round, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.