Pamela Henderson, CAP Debt Centre manager, based at Burntisland Parish Church, which serves people from Aberdour to the Kirkcaldy area, said: “We know that most people want to have a nice Christmas, but it can seem hard to do when money is limited and everything seems to cost so much.
“Following these very simple tips can, hopefully, take some of the pressure off and stop people having to worry about out-of-control bills after the Christmas period is over.
“We know that for many people in our area things can be tough, with not much money to go around. But we think that with a bit of planning and organisation, as well as a little creativity, people can still make the festive season very special for their families.”
The debt centre’s tips include: Making a Christmas budget – Create a budget based on what people can afford, and stick to it.
Pamela said that if locals are worried family or friends may buy them a more expensive gift and they feel like they’ll have to return the favour, be open with them about what they can afford. Maybe setting a limit of £10 so they stick within their Christmas budget.
She said another way to cut down on festive spending is to only buy Christmas presents for close family and friends.
She said: “People should also avoid using credit or borrowing if you can. Christmas often brings a temptation to just go wild and worry about the consequences later, but that is likely to leave you in financial difficulty at the start of 2022. A great approach is to only buy what you can afford to buy.
“Another tip is to make a food shopping list and only buy what you need. Try different, cheaper brands for some of your festive grub. You may not be able to tell the difference. It’s also good to plan your meals in the run up to Christmas to make sure nothing goes to waste.
“Another way to save money is to re-use things from last Christmas. New things are nice, but not always necessary. Items like Christmas jumpers and decorations can be costly these days so make sure you get plenty of use out of your old ones.
“People should also start saving for next Christmas now if they can. Maybe just start putting away £1 or £2 a week for Christmas next year, even if that doesn’t cover everything it’s much better than relying on just one payday to cover the whole of the festive period.”
She also advises people to keep an eye on the energy they are using. To save money she suggests trying to to keep Christmas lights on all day and wrapping up warm with an extra jumper as well as avoiding the use of fan heaters.”
Pamela added: “Seek free debt help if you’re already struggling. If you’re already in debt and worried the cost of Christmas will only make things worse, seek free, non judgemental debt help from Christians Against Poverty (CAP) or another free debt help service. Get in contact with CAP today on 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org.