With both Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on a Sunday this year, the following Monday and Tuesday become bank holidays – which means the day you get paid will be moving.
The majority of companies opt to move their December pay date forward in this situation, which can feel like a real festive treat for employees at the time.
But come January, when you’ve potentially had 40 days or more between pay cheques, the disruption to your usual budget can really hit hard.
Every year when this happens, you’ll see tweets on social media with people joking about January pay day feeling a million years away.
All this means that preparing for the inevitable Christmas pay gap is even more essential than usual.
If you’ve already been paid this month, try to avoid using those early 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 salary into five as soon as it hits your account.
“If you’re used to a monthly salary lasting four weeks you can come unstuck when you’re paid earlier than usual in December,” he tells HuffPost UK.
“So make sure you divide what you have by five (depending when you’re paid) – not four – to get you through to that next pay cheque at the end of January.”
If you receive Universal Credit alongside your salary, a shift in pay date can also change the benefits you receive – something to factor into any budgeting.
Anna Stevenson, senior benefits specialist at the charity Turn2us, explains: “Unfortunately, if you’re on Universal Credit, this can cause problems, because it might look to Universal Credit that you got twice as much pay in the month as you actually did.
“Your employer is supposed to report pay on the usual pay date, even when they pay early but it might be a good idea to remind them of this and point them to the HMRC guidance.”
If you think your Universal Credit payment has been cut in January, Stevenson advises contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to explain what has happened.
“If it has been cut, be sure to ask for an RTI (real time information) dispute,” she says.
“This means that the DWP can investigate and re-assign your missing payment to your next month’s payment. It is worth noting this can take over a month to rectify, so it is best to talk to your employer before you are paid to prevent this happening.”
Others have shared their own tips on social media, such as setting some money aside and ‘paying yourself’ on your usual pay date.
Megens provides us with these further tips for staying on top of your budget when your pay date has moved:
Swap brands for supermarket own-label
Food is one of our biggest monthly expenses. You can save around £40 in January by swapping big brands for supermarket own-label equivalents.
Forget 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 cash back in your pocket in January.
Have a strategy for the sales
Set yourself a limit if you’re spending in the Boxing Day and New Year sales and don’t get carried away. Only buy what you’ve planned for, and double check the price now so you’re sure you’re getting a genuine bargain.
Take control: plan for pressure points
Use any downtime between Christmas and New Year to take your first budgeting steps into 2023. Plan for the year’s financial pinch points – those big expenses that come up every year, like house insurance, holidays and Christmas. Note when they’re due and how much you need to start putting aside to pay for them and avoid getting into debt.
And if you’re doing all that and you’re still worried about money, Stevenson says it’s worth checking whether you’re eligible for state support.
“Millions of people miss out on thousands of pounds each year because they’re not sure what they’re entitled to,” she says – urging people use the free Turn2us Benefits Calculator to find out what extra help may be available to you and your family at this time.