Find your financial wellness in the lead-up to Christmas
Add financial wellness to your Christmas list with these 5 practical steps.
Between the pressies, pigs in blankets and endless seasonal celebrations, Christmas is undoubtedly an expensive time of year. And with financial pressure cited as one of the top causes of stress in the UK, you wouldn’t be alone if your Christmas cheer is slightly dampened by money worries.
To help look after your mind, body and bank balance this time of year, here are 5 practical steps you can take to maintain financial wellness in the lead-up to Christmas.
1. Set a realistic Christmas budget
This year, give yourself the gift of a well thought out budget. Be sure to factor in all your Christmas spending – plus pre-Christmas celebrations, which can add up quickly!
Free budgeting apps like Plum and Emma can help you get started – and they’re not just for Christmas, either. They use Open Banking to analyse your spending and work out how much you can afford to save each month as well as where you could be wasting money. Open Banking allows third-parties secure access to your bank account information to give you an overview of where your money is going.
2. Plan ahead
Don’t let panic buying send your Christmas spending sleigh off course this year. Even if you’re shopping on Christmas Eve, grab a cuppa beforehand and write out a list of things you need to buy (plus a few backups in case the sprouts are sold out in Sainsbury’s). This is also a great opportunity to check your list against your budget to ensure you stay on track.
3. Have open conversations with friends and family
Talking honestly with your loved ones about Christmas budgets can be a great way to relieve some pressure around the holidays. And there are plenty of ways you can cut back as a team, too, like Secret Santa (where everyone buys just 1 gift for their assigned person), a potluck (where each guest contributes 1 dish) or agreeing to do homemade gifts this year.
It’s also totally OK (for both your sanity and your bank balance) to give yourself permission to not attend every single Christmas event. Prioritise what you “have” to attend – as well as what you want to attend, of course – using your budget as a guide.
4. Set up direct debits to automatically pay off credit cards
According to a recent survey conducted by Finder, almost 23 million Brits (43%) plan to use credit cards to cover their Christmas spending this year. Seeing that balance go up can be stressful, but you can at least cross “pay credit card bill” off your to-do list by setting up a direct debit to automatically pay off your card at the end of your billing cycle.
5. Access financial support if you need it
There’s a variety of support available for people who are struggling at this time of year. Citizens Advice and charities like Step Change offer free debt and money management advice. There are some schemes, grants and hardship funds available from energy suppliers, the government, local councils and charities, if you’re struggling with your energy bills. The Trussell Trust has a support line you can call to ask about food supplies over the holidays. And Mind also offers specific support and advice for taking care of your mental health around the holidays.
About the author
Louise Bastock is an editor at Finder, specialising in a broad range of personal finance topics, from financial wellness to first-time buyers. As video manager, she’s also responsible for presenting and producing the UK’s video content across multiple channels, including YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.
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