20 Dec Christmas on a budget: top ten tips revealed for people in Southend-on-Sea
Southend-on-Sea Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre is offering free debt help and tips on how to enjoy Christmas, even on a tight budget.
Richard Leadley, CAP Debt Centre Manager, said: “We know that most people want to have a nice Christmas, but it can seem hard to do when money is limited and everything seems to cost so much.
“Following these very simple tips can, hopefully, take some of the pressure off and stop people in the Southend area having to worry about out-of-control bills after the Christmas period is over.
“Christmas is supposed to be a time for celebration, but we know that for many people in our area things can be tough, with not much money to go around. We think that with a bit of planning and organisation, as well as a little creativity, people can still make the festive season very special for them and their families.”
Try these top ten tips to help you have a happy Christmas on a budget:
- Make a Christmas budget. Create a budget based on what you can afford, and stick to it. Write out everything you need and work out exactly how much it will cost. See if there’s anything you feel you can do without this year to save some cash.
- Don’t be ashamed to talk about your finances. If you’re worried family or friends may buy you a more expensive gift and you feel like you’ll have to return the favour, be open with them about what you can afford. We all face different circumstances and challenges in life so there’s no shame at all in not being able to afford the same as someone else. Maybe suggest you both set a limit of £10 or whatever you can afford to ensure you stick within your Christmas budget.
- Only buy Christmas presents for close family and friends. People love to be generous at this time of year, but maybe those gifts for the kids of your old neighbours from six years ago aren’t crucial. Prioritise gifts for those closest to you first. If your whole family or friendship group is trying to do Christmas on a budget, try a Secret Santa with a small maximum amount. It means you only have to buy one person a gift and it can be great fun for everyone.
- Avoid using credit or borrowing if you can. Christmas often brings a temptation to just go wild and worry about the consequences later, but that is likely to leave you in financial difficulty at the start of 2022. A great approach is to only buy what you can afford to buy, according to your budget. If you really have to make use of credit or buy-now-pay-later deals, always check the interest rates and terms and conditions first to make sure you fully understand what you’ll have to pay back in the long run.
- Make a food shopping list and only buy what you need. When you’re doing your food shop, make a list, check it twice and stick to it. We all know wandering aimlessly, picking up what we fancy, results in a much bigger bill at the checkout. Try different, cheaper brands for some of your festive grub. You may not be able to tell the difference. It’s also good to plan your meals in the run up to Christmas to make sure nothing goes to waste.
- Reuse things from last Christmas. New things are nice, but not always necessary. Items like Christmas jumpers and decorations can be costly these days so make sure you get plenty of use out of your old ones. Alternatively, see if any of your family or friends have any Christmas stuff you can borrow.
- Consider asking for gifts that you really need. It’s not wrong to want a little treat for Christmas, but asking for a gift that you need and planned to buy anyway will save you money.
- Start saving for next Christmas now. To help relieve some of that horrible financial pressure this time next year, start putting something away for a rainy (or snowy) day now. Maybe just start putting away £1 or £2 a week for Christmas next year, even if that doesn’t cover everything it’s much better than relying on just one payday to cover the whole of the festive period. This could help cover a few presents or maybe your Christmas dinner.
- Keep an eye on the energy you’re using. We know energy prices are on the rise so if you have Christmas lights, try not to keep them on all day. Wrapping up warm with an extra jumper, turning the thermostat down slightly, and avoiding the use of fan heaters that use a lot of energy will help save you money as well.
- Seek free debt help if you’re already struggling. If you’re already in debt and worried the cost of Christmas will only make things worse, seek free, non judgemental debt help from Christians Against Poverty (CAP) or another free debt help service. Get in contact with CAP today on 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org.
Richard said: “This year has been challenging enough so we want to encourage people to follow these tips, and others they may see elsewhere, so that they can have a great Christmas, a more positive end to 2021, and not be worrying about the cost into 2022.”
For even more Christmas savings tips visit: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/christmas-savings/