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Five Tips to Avoid a Christmas Debt Hangover
Christmas should be a happy and festive time, but it is not for everyone.
For some, it is a time of reflection, not just of their successes, but also their failures and shortcomings. For others, it is a time not just to appreciate those around them, but also to remember those no longer with them.
It is also a time when those who are experiencing financial difficulties find those difficulties come into focus and become more acute, with the social pressures of feeling they need to buy gifts and go to expensive Christmas night outs.
This particularly is the case for millions of families struggling with problems debts or dependent on benefits, zero hour contracts and the gig economy to survive, particularly when income levels fluctuate and they may have to wait for the New Year before they receive their next payment.
So if you are one of those who finds themselves in that situation what can you do? We have outlined five tips that may help you this Christmas.
Don’t surrender to peer pressure
It’s easier said than done, but millions do it.
You need to think why you need to keep up with others because ultimately it is not about them, but you. Is your life going to be that worse off if you don’t buy that new TV or laptop? What if you buy a less expensive one? Will it still do the job? Will you be poorer? The truth is you will probably be richer as it will have cost you less money. Focus on the positives, not the negatives.
Equally, if you don’t go to the expensive night out, what’s the worst that can happen? Many end up drinking too much and regretting it anyway. You won’t. You will save some money and probably feel better for the rest of the holiday period.
Ultimately, if you feel better about yourself you will find it easier to resist peer pressure. Stop focusing on what you are missing and instead focus on what you are gaining by not surrendering to the pressure to keep up with your peers.
Fight those blues
Keep yourself busy. Christmas is a time of holidays, but unlike in the past, it is no longer a time when all services just close down. More and more businesses and services are remaining open over the festive period to continue serving their customers.
You, therefore, don’t need to be on your own.
Whether it’s the gym, your local bar, church or another service, find out when they will be open and keep using them. Alternatively, remember there are lots of people who struggle over the holiday period, such as the homeless. Many charities and businesses are committed to helping people over this period and are looking to recruit volunteers who can give their time to help others. It may mean serving Christmas meals, or just chatting with people who drop in, but your time will mean something to someone, and it will keep you busy and occupied, one of the most effective ways you can combat the Christmas blues.
Seek advice and assistance
If you are struggling financially and worried you won’t be able to get through the Christmas period, contact your local advice service, or if you don’t know who they are, speak with your local authority and ask them. Crisis grants and loans are available to help people, as are foodbanks, fuel banks and even toy and Christmas hamper banks. This is particularly important where you have children and worried you won’t be able to buy them gifts.
There may also be benefits and support that you are entitled to and not aware of. Alternatively, debt advice agencies and services like Creditfix can often provide you with free advice that will get you through the Christmas period, with a view to working to develop a strategy for dealing with your problem debts in the New Year.
Speak to those around you
If you are struggling financially or feeling down, speak with those around you, such as your family and friends. Your problems will not be unique. Others will be having the same problems. So if it would be easier to not have to buy someone a present, tell them that and explain why. They are likely to understand and will possibly appreciate you bringing it up. It may even give them the opportunity to explain it would be easier for them if you both miss out gift buying for each other. This could be your gift to each other.
Christmas, after all, is supposed to be about people, so making it about that and not spending money will likely make it a happier Christmas for everyone.
Remember there is a new year coming
No matter how bad 2018 has been, remember there will be a new year starting on the 1st January. So rather than brooding over things that could have been, or should have been, look ahead and plan for 2019. What can you do to make the New Year a better one? Sort out your debts? Get more exercise? Take up new hobbies and join clubs that will help you meet other people and keep your busy?
Set yourself realistic and measurable goals and think what you can do to achieve them. Concentrate on taking just baby steps each time and you will find these accumulate into achievements that next Christmas you can look back on with pride.
If you are struggling with your finances or creditors are chasing you for bad debts, you can call us on 0808 2085 195.