With Christmas just around the corner, many of us may be feeling the pressure to spend extra money on last minute gifts. While understandable, overspending can lead us into debt that could take us weeks, or even months to repay.

To help keep Christmas merry, here are some tips on how to cut the cost of Christmas and prevent an unhappy new year:

Cutting back where you can

  • A small, well considered gift is better than splashing out. Agree to do a Secret Santa with friends and family, and keep to a budget of £5 or £10.
  • Making your own Christmas cards can be really rewarding and get your children involved. Young children’s drawings make great cards, plus you can frame them to give to grandparents as a unique present.
  • As well as a necessity, face masks are also becoming a fashion statement. A unique, homemade face mask can be made in no time using elastic and bits of fabric you have around the house, and can make a useful and creative gift.
  • You can even look at flogging unwanted gifts from last year. Selling on Facebook is free, so all the profit is yours. See Martin Lewis’s guide to boosting your income and how to sell on Facebook. 
  • Many of us will be unable to meet face to face this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate. Hosting a party online for free through ZOOM or WhatsApp is an easy way to have lots of festive fun from home. You can have a quiz, and make party hats with card and any spare Christmas decorations. If you feel like keeping things simple, charades are always an option!

If you need to borrow

If you do have to borrow money, make sure you know the full costs involved and you can afford the repayments. Consider if your income is likely to drop and if you would still be able to make the payments. Late payment fees considerably increase the debt and can make it unmanageable.

Beware illegal money lenders or 'loan sharks' at this time of year. Loan sharks prey on vulnerable people and those in debt, charge extortionate interest rates, and can even be violent. You can learn more about spotting loan sharks here and report them by calling 0330 555 2222. 

Better, safer ways to borrow

There are ethical and safe options if you need to borrow money. South Manchester Credit Union offer affordable loans and can also help you save for next Christmas too. They also have saver accounts for children!

In partnership with the Credit Union, Southway has its own Southway Solutions loan scheme, which allows you to borrow up to £300. At 42.6% the APR is a little higher than the credit union’s own rates, but still far less than Pay Day and doorstep lenders.

To enquire about a Southway Solutions loan, or for any other money matters, please contact us. Our Advice Team are here to help you.