NOL is one of the most expensive times of the year – so if you’re struggling to find the cash you might be wondering how to get by.
Shoppers are expected to spend a record Â£ 84.7 billion on food, gifts and more this Christmas amid rising prices.
Families have been warned that toys from big brands like Barbies and Transformers as well as Harry Potter could increase by up to 50%.
While three in five retailers plan to increase their prices by the end of the year, your Christmas dinner will likely cost more.
As struggling households have to shell out more cash than ever this holiday season, we’re putting together six ways to get extra cash this Christmas.
From the emergency universal credit loan of Â£ 1,000 to applying for grants under your local council’s welfare program, you could get thousands of pounds to get through the winter.
Universal Credit emergency loan
If you are applying for universal credit, you can apply for a Christmas emergency loan worth Â£ 1,000.
Applicants can get the loan to cope while they wait for their first benefit payment to be made.
However, since this is a loan, you will have to pay it back to the Department of Work and Pensions – although you don’t have to pay interest like with a normal loan or overdraft.
This means that you receive fewer payments each month while you are paying off the loan – so be sure to budget your money if you do.
The amount you can get as an advance depends on the amount of universal credit you are entitled to.
You can request to borrow up to 100% of your estimated Universal Credit payment, and you should get the money within three days of requesting the advance.
The maximum is just over Â£ 1000 if you get the maximum universal credits and you can know the exact amount you can get when you apply.
Borrow money at low rates
Applying for a loan can be an option if you need cash quickly, but make sure that you only borrow money for something essential.
Lending rates are currently at an all-time low, making it easy to get “cheap” deals when asking for money, finance guru Martin Lewis recently said.
You can borrow money with a 0% credit card, which means that for a period of time – usually up to two years – you don’t have to pay interest on your repayments.
Make sure you pay off the loan before the interest-free period is over, but to avoid getting slapped with a high Annual Percentage Rate (APR) at the end of the transaction – they can be as high as 20%.
You should check the interest rates to make sure you are getting the best deal using comparison websites like Uswitch or MoneySuperMarket.
The best rates, however, are usually only available to those with a perfect credit score.
To check if you are eligible for the cards with the best rates, MoneySavingExpert has a credit card eligibility calculator that you can use.
If your credit score is not good, you may want to consider getting a loan from a credit union.
These are local organizations where members pool their savings to lend to each other, often enabling them to offer products at low cost.
Families in difficulty can apply for free money and grants for furniture, bills and food of up to Â£ 1,000 under the welfare scheme.
You can apply for these grants from your town hall – and they are available to low-income people who have encountered financial difficulties or those who have had to deal with a crisis.
You can get up to Â£ 1,000 in some areas – but some councils don’t even have a program families can apply for, The Sun revealed last month.
Grant applications have skyrocketed during the Covid crisis, with some authorities handing out up to 210% more rewards.
To apply for a grant, find out who your local council is by visiting the gov.uk website and contact them to see if help is available in your area.
You will need to file a complaint with your town hall for assistance.
You will likely need to provide financial information to the board so that it can assess whether it should help you, for example whether you are receiving benefits.
You may also be asked questions about your financial situation, for example if you work and what your income is.
Cold weather payments
Cold weather payments are designed to help people cover the cost of heating their homes when temperatures drop.
The financial aid is worth Â£ 25 and you can get it more than once if the thermometers go down between November 1 and March 31.
It is triggered when recorded or forecast temperatures are zero degrees or less, on average, for seven consecutive days.
If you are eligible, you will receive Â£ 25 for every seven day period the weather is below 0 Â° C.
You can check if your area has had a cold weather payment by entering your zip code into the government tool as of November 1.
Subsidies from the Household Support Fund
If you don’t have enough money to pay for essential household items, you might want to check out the new government’s Â£ 500million Household Support Fund.
Households can apply for money from the program since October through their local council.
The aid replaced the Covid Local Support Grant – where families could get up to Â£ 1,500 to pay for food, bills and more.
How much you can get is determined on a case-by-case basis, which means your local council will decide how much to give you.
Check your benefits
At least seven million people are losing more than Â£ 15 billion in unclaimed benefits, according to the Turn2us charity.
According to the Anti-Poverty Charity, the average amount people claim per year is Â£ 5,320, which means you could be missing out on thousands of pounds.
Nearly one million families are under Â£ 2.9 billion in universal credit, while Â£ 745,000 are under Â£ 3.3 billion in untapped housing benefit claims.
To check if you are eligible for benefits, you can use Turn2Us’ new online benefits calculator, which will take you 10 minutes.
You will need bank statements and information about your housing costs on hand to use the tool.
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