As winter approaches, many people start to worry about their finances. With Christmas just around the corner, it's easy to overspend and end up with a financial hangover come January.
What is financial wellbeing?
Looking after your financial wellbeing is essential for maintaining not only your financial health but also your overall wellbeing. The Money & Pensions Service describes it as 'making the most of your money from day to day, dealing with the unexpected, and being on track for a healthy financial future. In short: financially resilient, confident and empowered.'
Financial stress can have significant impacts on your mental and physical health, leading to anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and other health problems. When you have control over your finances, you can have peace of mind knowing that you can meet your basic needs and maybe even handle any unexpected expenses that may arise. You can also make better decisions about your spending, saving or investing, which can help you achieve your financial goals and feel more confident about your future.
Financial wellbeing doesn’t necessarily mean having a lot of money, or a nice car or a big house. It means feeling content, comfortable and secure with your financial situation, and feeling able to live the life you want to live.
Looking after your financial health this winter
Christmas is a time of giving, but it can also be a time of significant financial stress and pressure. The pressure of spending money around the holiday season can be overwhelming for many people and it can lead to a range of negative consequences. From buying gifts to hosting parties and attending events, the cost of Christmas can quickly add up, leaving many feeling financially stretched. It's important to set a budget, prioritise your spending and resist the urge to overspend.
With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can enjoy the festive season without breaking the bank:
- The first step to looking after your financial health is to create a budget. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on gifts, food, and other festive expenses, and stick to it. It's also a good idea to set aside some money for unexpected expenses, such as car repairs or emergency medical bills.
- Before you start your Christmas shopping, make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for and what you plan to get them. This will help you stay focused and avoid impulse purchases. It's also a good idea to shop around for the best deals and discounts.
- Similarly if you're hosting a Christmas party or dinner, plan ahead to avoid overspending. Make a menu and a shopping list, and buy non-perishable items in advance. You can also ask guests to bring a dish or contribute to the cost of the meal.
- Although it can be tempting to put all of your Christmas expenses on a credit card, this can lead to debt that can take months or even years to pay off. If you do use a credit card, try and pay off the balance in full at the end of the month.
- Winter can be an expensive time of year when it comes to heating and electricity bills. Be mindful of your energy usage and try to conserve energy where possible. For example, turn off lights when you leave a room and use a programmable thermostat to control your heating.
- Most importantly, don’t forget about your self-care. Looking after your financial health is important, but it's also important to look after your mental and physical health. Take time for self-care activities such as exercise, meditation or spending time with loved ones.
By utilising these tips, you can look after your financial health this winter and make better choices to improve your financial, physical and mental health outcomes. Your health and wellbeing will thank you!