Need urgent help with money this Christmas? Don’t know where your next meal is coming from (let alone how to get the kids some presents?) Emergency help is available.
Christmas can be an expensive time of year for families, no matter how financially secure they may be. But for those who are on a tight budget, finding the extra cash to pay for Christmas treats can have a crippling effect. Fortunately, there are organisations which are able to offer help with money. If times are tough this Christmas, don’t be afraid to ask.
If times are tough this Christmas, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, every little bit can help and sometimes you may just need a small monetary grant to tide you over during a difficult financial time.
You can search for available grants online at Turn2Us. Part of the Elizabeth Finn Care national charity, Turn2us will help you gain access to welfare benefits and charitable grants that could provide you with the financial assistance you need for the New Year.
More and more families around the UK are struggling to make ends meet, and in the worsening economic climate being able to feed the family is becoming a greater challenge. FareShare is a UK charity that has been set up not only to fight food poverty, but to fight food waste.
If your household is feeling the effects of rising food prices, or perhaps an income earner has been made redundant, find your nearest FareShare Community Food Network.
Many churches, particularly in the lead-up to Christmas, will encourage the congregation to donate food for a food bank. This is then distributed to families in need. The Trussell Trust works with churches throughout the UK to provide a minimum of three days’ emergency food. Contact the Trust to see if there is support near you.
You won’t have to look far to find some means of emergency help. Most communities have a range of local organisations, such as a Lions Club, that are willing to help families during times of need. Check your local county council’s website to find out what is available in your area. You can find your local council's website here.
There's no need to spend lots at Christmas - remember it's just one day of the year!
Financial assistance is also available from the government, particularly for families on a low income. Gov.uk has information on a range of funds which you may be eligible for, including budgeting loans and help with money for single parents.
If you live in Northern Ireland, you could also check to see if you are eligible for a community care grant.
Worrying about your finances can take its toll on your health and wellbeing, and affect your relationships with those around you. The StepChange is a registered charity that can offer free anonymous debt help.
Raise some quick cash
This doesn't apply to everyone, but you'd be surprised how much money you can make by offloading unwanted items on sites like eBay and local carboot sales. (One of our readers managed to make over £2,000 by selling off all the unwanted stuff in his attic). While you might not make that much, lots people find that they can raise anything from £30-£300 this way.
DON'T be tempted to go for a payday loan
No matter how desperate things seem, avoid the temptation of getting a payday loan this Christmas (here's why).
If you're struggling to make ends meet as it is, your money problems will get a hundred times worse if you get caught in the high interest debt-spiral of payday loans. Avoid them like the plague.
Remember Christmas is just one day of the year
Don't feel you have to buy a sleigh-load of gifts or trolleyloads of food. After all, Christmas is just one day of the year - don't get so caught up in the consumer frenzy that you end up going further into the red (and worrying yourself sick) because you can't afford to give your kids the latest must have toys.
Why not set up a 'present truce' with people outside your immediate family? (One of our writers has already done this, and hasn't looked back since).
Homemade gifts go down a treat too. In fact homemade gifts are often treasured far longer by people than anything you can buy from a shop.
It's best to sit down with the kids and honestly explain the situation. If they're old enough to want expensive, sophisticated presents, they're old enough to realise that Santa has to set a tough budget this year. Having a fantastic family Christmas needn't cost the earth. At the risk of sounding like Tiny Tim, Christmas is about appreciating being with family and friends - it's not about having lots of presents under the tree.
We've got some tips on how you can keep the cost of Christmas 2014 down - but if you find yourself sinking under the stress of coping with Christmas 2014, always remember that help is available from the people and organisations above.