Financial Wellbeing is essential because it means feeling secure and in control of day-to-day finances (CIPD, 2023). Planning and saving for big events impacts financial wellbeing and the amount of disposable income we have. This may relate to saving for a wedding, maternity leave or your first home. To have good financial wellbeing means that you can deal with unexpected expenses and are in a position to plan and save for the future.
A major factor affecting financial wellbeing, and sometimes wellbeing in general is Christmas. This is because Christmas can trigger overspending. The Money and Mental Health organisation advises that overspending can be particularly challenging at Christmas and those with mental health problems can be more susceptible to Crises spending. They describe this as spending behaviour that:
- Occurs during a period of poor mental health
- Is motivated by emotional or psychological need as opposed to material
- Causes some form of financial detriment.
This spending behaviour can be triggered by the pressure and stress that the festive period often brings. People that have a mental health problem are going to find it more difficult because of how their behaviour is influenced by how they are feeling. For example, people with bipolar disorder are likely to spend more money, particularly during manic periods and people suffering from depression are more likely to comfort spend or spend on others to improve their mood (Money and Mental Health).
We can stay in control over the festive period by:
- Setting a budget for gifts and sticking to it – try using different methods to track spending, e.g. using a spreadsheet to tally up or by loading a prepaid card to purchase gifts.
- Only taking part in activities that are good for our wellbeing, and our purse. Don’t feel pressured to say “yes” to everything that is going on if you can’t afford (or don’t want) to take part.
- Being realistic by planning a Christmas that is right for you.
- Checking out the Christmas MoneySaving tips here, which includes:
- Banning unnecessary presents
- Taking advantage of discounts and cashback
- Free (or very cheap) ways to sprinkle Christmas magic for kids
- Book train tickets in advance
- Buy preloved gifts and items
- Have a clear out and sell any items you no longer need/use
One of the main pieces of advice from the MoneySaving Expert is that if you can’t afford Christmas, then go cold turkey. This is not exactly easy, especially for those that have young children as Christmas is supposed to be such a magical time for them. However, the purpose of this advice is to try to relieve unnecessary pressure and not spend massive amounts of money on ‘just one day’.