Surviving Christmas on an IVA

The clocks have gone back, there are mince pies in the shops. Santa Claus is definitely on his way. If you celebrate Christmas, we know it can be stressful wondering where you're going to find the money for all that eating, drinking and making merry. But living on an IVA doesn't have to mean Christmas is cancelled. Using your budgeting skills, you can make sure you pay for the festive season without missing any of your essential payments in December or January. Read on for some tips.

Look at your budget

Firstly, think about what you'll need to pay for. The obvious things are presents, food and drink. But depending on your circumstances you might need to factor in:

  • travel
  • decorations: reuse last year's if you can
  • cards and wrapping: Have a look online for homemade gift-wrap ideas. Consider switching to homemade or online Christmas card alternatives, or simply going card-free - it's better for the environment as well as your wallet!
  • socialising: do you have a work Christmas do? What about New Year's Eve? If you need a new outfit, keep costs down by shopping second-hand or even clothes-swapping with friends.

Make your budget as detailed and realistic as possible. How many people are coming for dinner? How much will your work Christmas do cost you? (It's a good idea to work out your budget before you confirm your plans!) Don't forget your heating costs will go up, too.

Then work out how many people you still need to buy presents for. Think of ways you can keep this list down. If you buy presents for friends or colleagues, why not do a Secret Santa? Is there anyone on your list who would appreciate a homemade gift? Work out how much you can afford to spend on each person.

Can you make a bit of extra cash?

A pre-Christmas clear out could help you raise some extra money to cover your extra seasonal expenses. If you've got any old clothes you don't wear any more, or old phones or other gadgets knocking around, why not try to sell them? As well as eBay, it's worth looking at selling on Shpock, Facebook and Gumtree. For gadgets and games, Music Magpie and CeX are great too.

Be a savvy shopper

Keep an eye out for sales and offers. If you'll need to travel by train this festive season, don't leave it until December to book your tickets. They usually go on sale months in advance, so buy early while the cheapest tickets are still available.

If you have a plan for how much you're spending, when you're spending it, and where the money's coming from, you should be able to stick to your budget through Christmas. But if you do have any concerns about making your IVA payment in December or January - or at any other time it's really important to contact us as early as you can, so that we can help.

Thanks for reading - and if it's not too early to say it, have a great Christmas!

It's good to know:
  • We negotiate with the UK's major lenders and retailers
  • We pride ourselves on our approach to great customer service
  • Each month 1000s of people are benefiting from our help

To find other sources of free advice visit Money Helper. It's here to listen and give free, impartial, trusted guidance. Based around you and backed by government.

Subject to eligibility and acceptance. Fees Payable. Debt write off applies to unsecured debts only and on completion of an IVA, alternative solutions may be offered. If your IVA fails, it could lead to Bankruptcy. Your ability to obtain credit will be affected for at least 6 years. Homeowners may be required to release the equity in their property.