Christmas may be over, but for many, meeting the cost of the festive season can be stressful and put a real dent into finances. A government poll suggests that a typical household in the UK spends an extra £800 in December on presents, food and socialising, so now is an ideal time to think about spreading the cost of next Christmas throughout the year. That way, if we’re able to celebrate Christmas 2021 in a more usual way, it won’t come as a big financial shock.
With the help of our partners London Plus Credit Union, we’ve prepared these saving tips, which equally apply if you take part in other annual celebrations such as Eid, Hanukkah or Pancha Ganapati.
- It all starts with planning a budget for what you expect to spend. Make a list of presents, food, travel, socializing, greeting cards, postage, activities with the kids and anything else that is a usual cost for you and your family. Consider the cost of energy over the festive period too - you might have higher heating and electricity costs due to being indoors more during the holidays or guests staying. Read the advice from Compare the market and shop around for a cheaper energy provider in time for Christmas.
- Use a budget calculator such as Moneysupermarket Christmas savings calculator to work out what these costs amount to each week. This is your savings goal.
- Set aside this savings goal amount into a separate account so you can watch it grow month on month. You will be less tempted to dip into it.
- Remember to always look at placing your savings in an organisation that has financial service compensation scheme (FSCS) protection. Otherwise your money may be at risk if the organisation goes bankrupt. Our partner, London Plus Credit Union, has full FSCS protection and have separate sub Christmas accounts to support your saving goals.
- Avoid giving gift cards as presents, especially in the current climate, as the retailer may go bust and the gift card will become worthless. If you receive a gift card, check if it has an expiry date.
- Living through lockdown has given us a new sense of what is important in life. Reign in some of the usual spend by swapping expensive gifts with creating cherished memories with friends or loved ones.
- Watch out for our next publication where we’ll be introducing financial wellbeing sessions with London Plus. These will cover topics such as understanding your credit rating, responsible borrowing and developing good saving habits. The sessions will be delivered online in March, April and May.
Special offer for NHG families
We understand that the pandemic may have placed an enormous strain on your household finances and it’s never been more important to make the right choices when it comes to borrowing or setting aside a little bit of savings.
We want to offer a helpful hand to families by supporting them should they need a short term loan**.
This might be used to cover an unexpected cost, such as a household item breaking down, children’s clothing or to repay an overdraft or a credit card bill built up over Christmas.
If you are eligible**, you can borrow up to £500 over a 40 week term, payable by using your child benefit as a direct form of repayment. An automatic £1 per week will be set aside to a savings account and on the basis you repay the loan set within the loan agreement, NHG will top up your savings by an additional £80. This is all administered through our partner London Plus Credit Union who are fully regulated responsible lenders.
NHG Family Loan
- No credit check
- £500 over 40 weeks at £14.35pw with an additional £1pw savings
- Total cost of credit £573.76 (£500 + £73.76 Interest)
- Repayments by child benefit only
- NHG will pay an additional lump sum of £80***
- Apply here
If you are feeling anxious about potentially overspending and have built debts up that you are struggling to repay, then it’s important to seek sound advice from a government-funded debt agency such as Stepchange.org or DebtFree London (0800 8085702).
**Loans are subject to eligibility and affordability assessments. Terms and conditions apply, 42.6% APR.
***Savings bonus is only offered to tenants where they have met the repayment as set out in the loan agreement. This is a time limited offer and is subject to availability.
A credit union is a financial institution authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm No 473340.