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Cost of Living Advent Calendar: Our tips to avoid a Christmas money hangover

Posted: November 30, 2022


As the festive season fast approaches, we know many people may be feeling the pinch of rising living costs and energy bills. Our handy ‘Cost of Living’ Advent Calendar is here to help! Each day throughout December, we’ll be sharing useful hints and tips to help you keep costs to a minimum over the festive period.

If you are struggling to pay your rent or energy bills this Christmas call us for help and support on Tel: 0300 123 2640 or contact us via the app.


Cost of Living Advent Calendar:

Thursday 1 December:

Beware of Black Friday deals – Shopping for Christmas gifts? We all love a good bargain, but before you make that purchase, ask yourself do I need it, do I need it now, or am I just being lured by a “bargain”?  It’s easy to end up overspending for the sake of a few bargain products that you may not actually need.


Friday 2 December:

With the cost of stamps increasing year on year, sending a pile of Christmas cards can be a costly business. Why not try hand delivering your cards this year or send personal messages online if you can and save on stamps. You could also get the kids to draw festive pictures to send online to family and friends.




Saturday 3 December:

Are you worrying you’ll struggle to feed your family this Christmas? Why not give our Tenancy Sustainment Service a call to see what help is available. Our team can support tenants with money, benefits and energy issues. They can help by checking tenants’ incomes and situations to see if they can access any benefits, grants, charitable funds and other sources of support. Find out more by calling us on Tel: 0300 123 2640


Sunday 4 December:

Why not spruce up your standing orders and direct debits? With so many payments and subscriptions now done electronically, it might pay to check if there any subscriptions you no longer need that can be cancelled? That little £4 payment for Amazon Music that you forgot about? You might not even miss some of the subscriptions or services you currently pay for, but it all adds up!




Monday 5 December:

There are a number of energy vouchers and grants currently available that you may be eligible for. Unsure if you’ve claimed these or if there’s any other energy support you could be entitled to?  Our specialist energy advice team can check to see what is available – and help you apply too. Contact the team on 0300 123 2640, or at customerservice@hillcrest.org.uk.


Tuesday 6 December:

Keep things simple and don’t stretch your money beyond what you can manage! If you can’t afford to pay for goods outright, then payment plans, credit and store cards can seem like a great option. But remember – you still need to pay that amount back, and if you can’t afford it now, you may still not be able to afford it further down the line. Plus, getting goods on credit usually means paying additional interest too, which can be costly in itself!



Wednesday 7 December: 

Calling all Pensioners! Did you know that there are a number of financial support options available for older people? Many people are unaware of the help on offer, and often these benefits go unclaimed. So why not give our Tenancy Sustainment Service a call on Tel: 0300 123 2640 to see if you could be entitled to Pension Credit or other useful benefits.




Thursday 8 December:

Are you looking for books, CDs, DVDs, blu-rays or video games? If so, why not check online for used or pre-owned offerings. The listings usually describe the quality and very often there are pre-loved items available at a much lower price than brand new. Also check your local library, you can search their catalogue online for free and order books or other media from most branches.



Friday 9 December: 

How are things financially? Are you finding it a challenge to pay your bills? Increases to costs of living has put pressure on many households, but having a budget plan can help. If you would like help in this area, contact our Tenancy Sustainment Service, who can provide helpful advice on how best to budget your money. Contact them on Tel: 0300 123 2640



Saturday 10 December

Are your energy bills correct? Make sure your bills are accurate by giving your energy providers regular up-to-date meter readings. If you don’t, they may use estimates to calculate your bills, meaning you may be paying more than you need to.





Sunday 11 December

For many people, feeling like they have to fork out lots of money for Christmas gifts can be stressful, so why not consider speaking to your family about setting a price cap? This makes sure it is easily affordable for all and a relief for many. It also adds a fun element of challenge to stay within the price cap. Some families also agree only to give gifts to children.


Monday 12 December

Don’t forget your other bills! It may be the festive season and money may be tight, but making sure you still prioritise your monthly expenses such as rent, council tax and energy bills will mean you don’t start the New Year in debt!



Tuesday 13 December

Purchasing items online can be a fast and convenient way to do your Xmas shopping. However, don’t be fooled by any “unbelievable” offers, especially online! Does the advert seem too good to be true? Use common sense and and make sure the item you are looking for is legitimate. We want you to be able to buy safely and with confidence.  Try and use a seller recommended to you or one you know to be above board. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is!





Wednesday 14 December

Worrying about your energy bills this Christmas and beyond? Why not call our energy advice team, who can offer you a range of support. From demos on using your energy systems more efficiently and reducing energy usage, to moving to a cheaper tariff and dealing with energy debt on your behalf, the team may help you trim a fair bit off your bills!


Thursday 15 December

Are you doing your Christmas Shopping online this year? If so, you could benefit from checking out some voucher code websites to try and find discounts before making your purchase. There is often a way to get money off. Why not try Voucher Codes as a useful starting point: https://bit.ly/3hri2wP


Friday 16 December

Are you wondering if you are entitled to any financial or social help? Even if you are working, there may be some benefits you are entitled to. Why not call our Tenancy Sustainment Service to find out if there are any benefits you can claim. Call us on Tel: 0300 123 2640 or contact us via the Hillcrest app.



Saturday 17 December

Are you a carer? Have you had a recent benefit check? You could potentially get £69.70 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits. Why not give our Tenancy Sustainment Service a call to see if there’s anything you could claim. Tel: 0300 123 2640.



Sunday 18 December

Still doing your Christmas Shopping? Why not save some money by snapping up some pre-loved bargains at your local charity shop? Charity shops are a great way to find pre-owned and even new gifts at a fraction of the price and you are also helping a good cause. If you’re Dundee based, you can visit our very own boutique charity shop, Past Present Futures, on Gray Street, Broughty Ferry. There are lots of beautiful clothes and accessories for sale and at a much lower price than new items. Follow the boutique on Instagram at: hillcrestboutique

Monday 19 December

Do you have rent arrears caused by either Covid or the cost of living crisis? There may be support available through your local authority that you could apply for. Find out if you’re eligible by contacting our Tenancy Sustainment Service who’ll be happy to assist. Tel: 0300 123 2640.


Tuesday 20 December

Are you on a low income? You might be entitled to apply for the Warm Home Discount scheme which means you could get £150 off your electricity bill for Winter 2022/23. If you have any queries please contact our specialist HEAT team on 0300 123 2640 or via the MyHillcrest app.


Wednesday 21 December

Did you know that some broadband providers offer special tarriffs for those on low incomes? Check out the deals on offer and find out if you qualify by visiting: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/compare-broadband-deals/broadband-social-tariffs/


Thursday 22 December

When you’re out shopping, instead of choosing well-known brands of products, why not try supermarket budget brands? You’ll find that common pharmaceuticals such as painkillers are often much less expensive if you buy lesser known or supermarket value brands.


Friday 23 December 

Are you preparing a festive feast this Christmas? Instead of buying pre-packaged snacks, you can save money by making your own treats. Sliced carrot dipped in humus, cheese on crackers, or a bowl of popcorn flavoured with salt or paprika, all are cheaper and healthier for at-home snacking than pre-packaged crisps or cake bars. The BBC’s good food website has lots of great snack ideas and recipes! https://bit.ly/3hGSfkF


Saturday 24 December

Dashing to do a last minute Christmas shop? Then you could maybe grab some great bargains as the shops are just about to close – items are often reduced for a quick sale – especially Christmas or party food. Good luck!