Making Sense Of Christmas 2020 – What You Need To Remember

It’s December already and Christmas is just around the corner. You know that Covid 19 hasn’t gone away. You also know that Brexit – probably a ‘no-deal’ Brexit – will follow soon after Christmas. And you haven’t even finished Christmas shopping yet. Indeed there are so many things to think about we have replaced our usual ‘Top Ten Tips for Christmas’ list with a ‘Top Ten Things to Look Out For’ list. Enjoy!

  1. Keep one eye on the news to see what level of Covid restrictions apply to your area. For the most up-to-date news on this go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus or call your local authority.
  1. Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have passed you by but there is still lots of online shopping to do. Know your consumer rights when buying online, especially your refund entitlements, and grab those bargains. Go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ for more consumer information or call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
  1. When scouting for good deals remember ‘if it looks too good to be true it probably is’. Don’t let scammers ruin your Christmas. Go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/check-if-something-might-be-a-scam/ for more information about how to spot, avoid and report scams; or call the Helpline mentioned above.
  1. Money is tight for most right now. Don’t be tempted to borrow from a ‘loan shark’ to tide you over; it will be the worst decision you ever make. Go to www.stoploansharks.co.uk/ to report loan shark activity, or call them on 0300 555 2222 for advice.
  1. Look out for changes to Benefits entitlements and Job Support Scheme rules as Covid restrictions continue. Visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/ and see what you are entitled to and how to claim it; or call your local CA office.
  1. Looking forwards to Brexit, whatever trade deals are signed at the last minute, if you are an EEA national living in the UK who hasn’t yet applied for ‘Settled Status’ you must think about it and act right now or risk losing your entitlement to benefits after Christmas and, eventually, your right to stay in this country. Go to www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families or get independent advice on what to do next.
  1. Again, post Brexit, your consumer rights will almost certainly be different than they are now. For more information go to www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-will-brexit-affect-my-consumer-rights or call their Customer Service Centre on 029 2267 0000.
  1. Winter weather, and Covid restrictions on movement, will mean extra energy costs and, for some, fuel poverty. To see what you can do to reduce your energy bills, yet stay warm this winter, go to www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/save-money-on-your-gas-and-bills or call the National Energy Advice helpline on 0800 304 7159.
  1. Keeping your head above water on reduced income is hard work. If you need advice on how to budget effectively go to www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/beginners-guide-to-managing-your-money or try the budget planner at www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/budget-planning/.
  1. Finally, if you feel you are sliding into trouble financially, don’t wait until it’s too late; get independent money and debt advice from your local Citizens Advice; or via National Debtline on 0808 808 4000. It’s never too late for good advice. We can help you.

With everything that’s going on right now it would be easy not to enjoy Christmas. Take a deep breath, think about the festive season you can have rather than the one you can’t have, and have fun! Next year will come whatever you do about it so spend your Christmas budget wisely and make that January hangover as small as you can.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Our thanks to Coventry Citizens Advice (CCA) for submitting this article to us. For more information, contact your local CA offices or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk.