Christmas can be a time of worrying financial stress for many across the north-east.
Aberdeen charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) debt centre is offering help and tips on how to enjoy and save money at Christmas, if you’re on a tight budget.
CAP debt centre manager Benjamin Clift said: “We know that most people want to enjoy Christmas, but it can seem so hard to do when money is limited and everything seems to cost so much.
“Christmas is supposed to be a time for celebration, but we know that for many people in our area things can be tough, especially with the recent rises in food and fuel prices.
“We hope 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.”
How to save money at Christmas
Top ten tips to help you have a happy Christmas on a 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.
- 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.
- Presents don’t have to cost a lot to mean a lot. Why not fill a jar with encouraging notes of appreciation or give someone a gift of quality time doing something special together.
- Avoid using credit or borrowing if you can. A great approach is to only buy what you can afford to buy, according to your budget.
- Some simple food swaps can help to save money. Try different, cheaper brands for some of your festive food or why not try roast chicken as a cheaper alternative to turkey.
- Make use of community groups and apps to save money on presents. Sites like Gumtree, Vinted and ebay can all be good places to get presents cheaper. Keep an eye on your local community group on Facebook for items that people may be giving away.
- Consider asking for gifts that you really need. 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 the financial pressure from this time next year, start putting something away for a rainy (or snowy) day now.
- 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. It’s also worth checking if there are any winter weather payments that you’re eligible for – contact Citizens Advice Scotland to find out more.
- Seek free debt help if you’re already struggling. If you’re already in debt and worried the cost of Christmas will make things worse, seek free, non-judgemental debt help from Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Scotland or another free debt help service.