Weíre at the beginning of the Christmas run up, when itís all
about making plans and budgeting. Our Christmas
pages are full of advice and tips on things you can do this December, but
here are some practical and financial things to be aware of, especially if
money is tight this Christmas.
To help with your budgeting, the Money Advice Service have a
free online Christmas Money Planner that can help you budget for
the festive season.
If you run into serious problems with money at Christmas,
help is available for food and childrenís gifts. Some local Salvation Army
centres donate gifts to families in difficult circumstances at
Christmas. Similarly many community groups, local newspapers and radio stations
run Christmas toy appeals, so it is worth doing a bit of research or contacting
If youíre worried you won't have enough cash to buy food,
there is a network of food banks operating across the UK, which are there to
help. You can contact the Trussell Trust to find your nearest foodbank.
If you are on a low income, you may be able to claim a
one-off discount from your electricity supplier under the Warm Home Discount
Scheme. Some suppliers have already closed their schemes
for this winter but others are still currently open, so it is worth contacting
your supplier to ask. You can also apply for a Cold Weather Payment if
you receive certain benefits, such as Income Support, ESA, or Universal Credit.
If you would receive a benefit or tax credit payment on the
25th or 26th of December, you should receive your payment
on Christmas Eve instead. Tax credits due to be paid on the 1st or 2nd of January 2020 will
be paid on 31 December 2019
instead. You can read a full summary of what benefits will be paid when on Netmums.
We do have a word of warning about
universal credit payments over the Christmas period. Many people receive an early payday before
the Christmas break. But if you receive two salary payments fall within the
same month, it can look like youíre earning a lot more than you actually are
and lead to a reduction in your Universal Credit payment in January. Please
watch out for this and if you think this might affect you, please call the Gingerbread
helpline for advice.