With inflation at its highest level in more than 40 years, and energy and grocery bills continuing to head upwards, many are feeling the pinch – but perhaps even more so now that Christmas is fast approaching.
According to a recent poll by PayPal, 58 per cent of Brits are anxious about the cost of living crisis, and 44 per cent are worried about financial pressure over the festive period.
But significantly, 75 per cent admit that even though they’ll feel financial pressure this year, they would feel too embarrassed asking for help with splitting the cost of celebrations, particularly with family members.
If you’re feeling the pressure this year, that’s perfectly understandable. But not asking for help if you need it, or not saying that you want to cut back this year, are the worst things you can do. Carrying on regardless of your financial reality can make your position far worse, whereas reaching out and being open, honest and frank can make a huge difference, both to your finances and your mental health.
Thankfully, many people are doing the right thing and seeking out the help and support that’s available.
For instance, a study by the Money and Pensions Service has found that more than 11 million people in the UK have sought help with money in the last three months, due to the rising cost of living.
The research showed that a quarter of these people have contacted their bank or energy supplier to ask for extra support, while one in five have searched for free debt advice.
It’s encouraging to see that many people are being proactive, trying to get control of their finances and find support.
But it’s just as important to have conversations about money with your own family and friends, if necessary.
Sadly, many people feel that’s not possible, partly because they don’t want to worry their loved ones and are conscious that they too might be finding it tough this Christmas.
But the PayPal survey found that social awkwardness appears to be a big factor too.
For instance, nearly one in five admitted they didn’t know the easiest way to bring up the topic of sharing the financial load, while a similar figure said they felt embarrassed and ashamed to mention it.
If you’re not in a position to go the whole hog when it comes to buying Christmas presents, making festive travel plans and entertaining guests, you shouldn’t be ashamed to say so.
Given that so many of us are feeling the impact of high inflation at the moment, there’s every chance that your loved ones might appreciate your frankness, as they’re facing similar pressures and worries.
You should only ever live within your means, and while Christmas is always an expensive time of year, you shouldn’t ever feel under pressure to spend more than you can afford.
If you have any questions about managing your money in the current economic climate, and making sure you can stay on course to achieve your financial goals, please reach out to us.
Our specialist advisers are here to provide expert guidance on how to make your money work hard for you during this tough time, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.