WHILE Christmas is the most magical time of the year, it can also be the most expensive – but there are ways you can get a cash boost.
With energy bills and the cost of food skyrocketing, many households may find it difficult to balance their budgets this festive season.
It means that a helping hand can go a long way – and there are ways to get free cash to get you by.
We’ve rounded nine ways you can earn some money and add more to your Christmas budget.
1. Switch your bank account – up to £200
You could get up to £200 in free cash just by switching to a new bank account.
Many banks and building societies offer bonuses if you switch your accounts to them.
HSBC is paying new customers £200 to switch current accounts and the cash should be paid out before Christmas.
Find out more about how to get free cash when you switch banks here.
2. Warm Home Discount – £150
Struggling households can get a £150 discount on their energy bill this winter.
The discount is available to those on the lowest incomes to help with rising costs.
Households in England and Wales don’t need to apply to get the cash and they’ll automatically qualify if they were receiving certain benefits on or before Sunday, August 21.
If you launch a successful claim for backdated benefits, you may still be able to qualify after this date.
In Scotland, some customers will need to apply for cash.
It’s up to individual energy companies to decide when they will give their customers the discount.
And now six energy companies have told The Sun that they have started paying eligible customers.
British Gas, Bulb, Shell Energy, EDF, Octopus Energy and Scottish Power have started crediting the £150 bill discount to customer accounts.
Energy suppliers have until March 2023 to ensure that all eligible customers are paid the discount.
3. Flog your old phone – up to £200
If you’ve asked for a new mobile this Christmas, why not sell your old one to get some free cash?
You could make up to £200 according to Mazuma Mobile.
Local forums like Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace can help you find someone nearby who could buy your phone and are free to use.
It can depend on the make and the model as well as the condition the phone is in, so if you upgrade your phone often the more you could make.
A 64GB iPhone 8 Plus in good condition could be worth £200 and newer models even more.
Older models are worth less, but if you have more than one laying around it could easily add up.
You can sell your old phone online with the selling sites above, or use phone recycling websites.
Here are three things to watch out for when selling old gadgets online either way.
4. Household Support Fund – up to £180
Households can get £180 in free cash to help with the cost of living.
The help will be dished out under a new round of £421million funding given by the government to the Household Support Fund.
Councils have been given a slice of the new pot of funding on offer, which will be given out to hard-up residents to help pay for bills and essentials.
For example Shropshire Council is giving out £180 to thousands of households, but there’s eligibility criteria to hit.
You must be on a low income and not have received help from the Household Support Fund so far.
You must also be in receipt of housing benefit and claim certain benefits including Universal Credit.
The council will contact those eligible, and you’ll be paid directly before Christmas.
Different councils have different schemes, you can check in with your local council to see how to apply for the help in your area.
5. Winter Fuel Payment – up to £300
The Winter Fuel Payment is worth between £100 and £300 and is paid to all those over the state pension age.
You receive the Winter Fuel Payment if:
- you were born on or before 25 September 1956
- you lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 19 to 25 September 2022 in what is known as the “qualifying week”
You may still be eligible if you lived in Switzerland or another EEA country in that period.
The same goes for if you can prove you have a sufficient link with the UK, like having lived and worked here, or have family here, but were not living here in the qualifying week.
You won’t get the payment if you live in the following countries though because of the warm weather there: Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal or Spain.
Nor will you get the payment if you are in hospital for more than a year getting free treatment and in some other circumstances.
You can find more about who is eligible on gov.uk.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said most payments are made automatically in November or December, and should be received by January 13, 2023.
6. Cash for paying rent – from £145
There’s cash help for anyone struggling that’s available from your local council through the discretionary housing payment.
Anyone claiming Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit could be eligible if they are struggling with rent costs.
Each local authority dishes out the cash to those in need on a case-by-case basis and the amounts available can vary.
After freedom of information requests sent to 30 of the biggest councils, The Sun found earlier this year that the average Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) was £965.
The difference in the maximum amount given out ranged from £32,000 in Brent to £145 in Wakefield, based on the 17 councils that responded.
Here’s everything you need to know about who can get the cash and how to claim.
7. Welfare assistance scheme – up to £1,000
Some councils also offer support through the welfare support fund, to help cover the costs of essentials, from buying new furniture to food vouchers.
An investigation by The Sun found that hard-up Brits can apply for help worth up to £1,000.
But exactly how much you get and what for will depend on where you live – and not all councils have this help.
Grants are given on a case-by-case basis and there will be a different application process depending on where in the country you live.
You can find out who your local council is by visiting the gov.uk website and get in touch with them about whether help is available in your area.
8. Grant schemes – up to £200
Low-income families may be eligible for charitable grants to cover housing costs.
As grants are typically different to loans, most do not have to be paid back.
Turn2Us has a tool that can help you check out grants available near you on its website.
You’ll need to enter some personal information like your postcode, your gender, and your age.
For example The Royal British Legion gives out emergency grants of up to £2,400 a year – which works out at £200 a month – to help those eligible pay for energy bills.
9. Energy cost of living payments – £67
The help will be paid in six monthly instalments from October until March 2023.
Customers saw a discount of £66 applied to their bills in October and November, and will get £67 in December, January, February and March.
We’ve listed how the leading energy suppliers plan to pay households.
If you’re on a credit meter or smart prepayment meter the discount will come off your bills or be credited to your account automatically.
Those on traditional prepayment meters will receive the discount through a voucher.
Check with your supplier to confirm how you’ll receive the cash.