Debt charity has this advice to avoid festive money problems
A charity which helps tens of thousands of people with debts every year has revealed itstop 10 tips to feel good without a big spend this season.
Christians Against Poverty, which has two local branches, Swansea West operated by Oasis Gowerton and a central branch operated by Waterfront, Gendros and Bethany church Mumbles, wants people to be smart about the festivities rather than get into financial trouble.
Swansea West Debt Centre Manager Tony Quinn said: “The TV and shop windows are full of adverts trying to convince us that Christmas is about buying and impressing.
“However, encouraged by campaigns by Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis and others, many people are turning away from the excess of Christmas and choosing a simpler way to celebrate.
“It’s tempting to take out credit and pay it off through the coming year but none of us knows what 2019 will bring. So, our advice is simple: have the Christmas you can afford. It takes all the stress out of it and there’s loads you can do that is more affordable.”
CAP’s Top Ten Feel Good Tips for a Simpler Christmas
- Keep the list of those you buy very short. We promise you, your kid’s teacher won’t die if you don’t get them a pot plant, nor will all your work mates shrivel up if you don’t get them all something. Try a children-only rule for presents or set a target amount for each.
- Plan for a great get-together. On the big day aim for a loving atmosphere rather than the focus being on presents. Get your teens to produce a Christmas playlist in advance, make a list of family games, write some thoughtful cards to be given on the day expressing your appreciation of each other.
- Manage expectations within the family.Tell them that you are doing it differently this year and explain why – they may well be more understanding than you think. If your offspring ‘needs’ a more expensive item, see if you can club together with other members of the family.
- Share the meal preparation. Some of the best conversations are made when you’re side-to-side, like when you’re chopping carrots or washing up. Do your bit, not just to help the cook, but for the chats. It’s the perfect way to connect with your nearest and dearest.
- Seek ways of giving your attention. If modern society is starved of something, it isn’t things, it’s attention! Put your phone down, stop staring at the screen and join in. Find out how Great Uncle Bob really is, ask all the things you’ve always wondered. Play a board game with a younger sibling. Make a point of visiting someone on their own at Christmas.
- Crafts and cooking. Spend time making something. It’s not about the result so much. It’s about the doing of it – especially if with others. Make bread, or Christmas biscuits, cut out strips of magazines or junk mail and make paper chains to decorate the house.
- Connect with church. If you want all the Christmas meaning with none of the cost, surely church is one way forward? A warm welcome, togetherness and support from your community and mostly likely a range of things you can opt into, be that a carol service or a kids’ party.
- Do simple things together It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated to be worth doing. Grab a Christmas film and a fancy hot chocolate or organise a supermarket pizza and games night for mates.
- Go radical: postpone Christmas. Put it off for a couple of days and you will have cheap food, cheap presents, cheap decorations and it could be the most fun you’ve had. You can even get the Queen’s Speech on iplayer.
- Give to charity. The season of goodwill is more about giving than receiving. Christians Against Poverty helps some of the poorest families in the UK. Will you help send them an emergency food parcel this year? CAPuk.org/Christmas