Christmas pay dates are screwing us over more than usual this year

With Christmas and New Years falling on a Sunday this year, the following Monday and Tuesday become public holidays, meaning the day you get paid will move.

Most companies choose to bring their December pay date forward in this situation, which can feel like quite a holiday for employees at the time.

But in January, when you’ve potentially had 40 or more days between payrolls, disruption to your usual budget can really hit hard.

Every year when that happens, you’ll see tweets on social media with people joking about January’s payday feeling a million years away.

But with the cost of living so high this year and people’s finances already at breaking point, for many families this will be no joke.

All of which means that preparing for the inevitable Christmas pay gap is even more essential than usual.

If you’re already paid this month, try to avoid using those upfront funds to pay for last-minute Christmas gifts and extras that aren’t essential.

To help with budgeting, Mat Megens, CEO of money-saving app HyperJar, recommends dividing your December paycheck by five as soon as it hits your account.

“If you’re used to a four-week monthly salary, you can unlock yourself when you get paid earlier than usual in December,” he tells HuffPost UK.

“So be sure to divide what you have by five (depending on when you get paid) — not four — to get to your next paycheck at the end of January.”

If you receive Universal Credit along with your salary, a shift in the payment date can also change the benefits you receive, something to factor into any budget.

Anna Stevenson, senior benefits specialist at the Turn2us charity, explains: ‘Unfortunately, if you’re on Universal Credit, this can cause problems, because Universal Credit may appear to have received twice as much pay in the month as you did. actually done.

“Your employer should declare pay on the usual pay date, even when they pay in advance, but it might be a good idea to remind them of this and refer them to HMRC guidance.”

If you think your Universal Credit payment was cut in January, Stevenson recommends contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to explain what happened.

“If it’s been cut, be sure to ask for an RTI (real-time information) dispute,” he says.

“This means the DWP can investigate and re-assign the missing payment to the following month’s payment. It’s worth noting that this can take over a month to rectify, so it’s best to talk to your employer before getting paid to prevent this from happening.

Others have shared their own tips on social media, such as putting money aside and “paying yourself” on the usual pay date.

Megens gives us these additional tips for staying on top of your budget when your payment date has moved:

Swap brands for the supermarket’s own brand
Food is one of our biggest monthly expenses. You can save around £40 in January by swapping big brands for own-brand equivalents from the supermarket.

Forget about regifting…resell instead
If you don’t have gift receipts, head to auction sites like eBay, or try Depop and Vinted for clothes and accessories, to get some pocket money back in January.

Have a sales strategy
Set a limit if you’re spending on the Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve sales, and don’t get carried away. Buy only what you have planned and double check the price right away so you can be sure you are getting the real deal.

Take control: Plan your pressure points
Use the downtime between Christmas and New Year’s to take your first steps in budgeting through 2023. Plan for the year’s financial trouble spots: those big expenses that pop up every year, like home insurance, vacations, and the Christmas. Know when they are due and how much you need to start setting aside to pay them and avoid going into debt.

And if you’re doing all of that and still worried about money, Stevenson says it’s worth checking if you’re eligible for state support.

“Millions of people lose thousands of pounds every year because they’re not sure what they’re entitled to,” she says, urging people to use the free Turn2us benefit calculator to find out what extra help might be available to you and your family in this moment.


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