With Christmas just around the corner, many people will be under even more financial pressure.
The cost of living crisis has squeezed budgets in households across the country and many will be eager to stay on top of all the financial changes in the pipeline.
There are further cost of living payments due to arrive in December, along with the next instalment of the £400 energy rebate.
And if you claim benefits, you’ll want to check if your payments will be sent on a different date this month because of the Christmas bank holidays.
Here is everything you need to know, as reported by our colleagues at The Mirror.
December 14 – ONS latest inflation figures
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will release the inflation rate for the 12 months to November on December 14.
Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation is currently at 11.1% – largely because of rising food and energy costs.
Inflation is a figure used to explain how much the prices of everyday essentials have increased.
When inflation is high, it means the cost of living has increased and you’re getting less for your money than you did before.
December 15 – Bank of England interest rates decision
The Bank of England will meet on December 15 to decide whether to raise interest rates for the ninth time in a row.
The central bank increased its base rate on November 3 from 2.25% to 3% – a rise of 0.75 percentage points and the biggest single hike in more than 30 years.
The base rate is what the Bank of England charges other banks and lenders – this in turn then influences the rates they charge customers.
If interest rates are higher, you’ll pay more to borrow on products like mortgages and cheaper loans tend to disappear.
December 18 – Pension Credit cut off
If you think you might be eligible for Pension Credit, then December 18 is the last day to backdate a claim to qualify for the £324 cost of living payment.
Pension Credit is a benefit that tops your income if you’re over retirement age.
It also unlocks extra help including council tax discounts, housing benefit, free health costs and a free TV Licence for the over 75s.
You can find out of you’re eligible on the Gov.uk website.
December 22 – ONS latest GDP figures
The ONS will reveal its latest gross domestic product (GDP) figures on December 22.
GDP is simply a measure of the size and health of the economy, to show whether it has grown or shrunk in a certain period.
Monitoring GDP is particularly important right now, as the UK is already expected to be headed toward a recession.
Last month, the ONS said the UK economy shrank by 0.2% in the three months to September.
A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters – six months – of negative growth.
December 26 – Boxing Day sales
The Boxing Day sales officially start on December 26 – and this can be a great time to stock up on discounted presents for next year.
You may also find cut-price seasonal goods to put away for 2023, such as reduced Christmas trees and decorations.
Some retailers actually start their Boxing Day sales online on Christmas Day – so this is something to keep in mind if you have your eye on anything in particular.
No set dates…
December – Benefits dates moved forward for some households
If your usual benefit payment date falls on a bank holiday, then you may find you get paid earlier than normal.
There are a few bank holiday dates coming up, including Monday, December 26 and Tuesday, December 27.
December 27 is a replacement bank holiday as Christmas Day falls on Sunday.
If your benefit is due on these days, then you may find you get paid on the previous working day, so on Friday, December 23.
Tax Credit households may find their benefit payments due on Wednesday, December 28 are also paid on Friday, December 23 as well, or on December 28 for payments due on Thursday, December 29 in England and Scotland.
Then there is also a bank holiday on Monday, January 2, which is a replacement bank holiday for New Year’s Day, which is on a Sunday.
If you’d normally expect a benefit payment on this day, you’ll likely be paid on Friday, December 30 instead.
Tax Credit households expecting a payment on Tuesday, January 3 will also be paid on December 30, or on January 3 for payments due on Wednesday, January 4 in England and Northern Ireland.
December – £67 energy discount
The third energy bill discount payment, worth £400 in total, will be sent out in November.
The £400 is being split up into six instalments.
Households have already received £66 in October and November – so £132 worth of discounts in total.
Further payments worth £67 will be sent from December 2022 to March 2023.
Direct debit customers get the discount automatically – either as a deduction to your monthly direct debit, or as a refund to your bank account.
If you pay on receipt of your bill, the discount is applied as credit to your energy account each month.
Smart prepayment meter customers also get the discount automatically each month.
If you’re a prepay customer, you will be sent discount vouchers by text, email or post – you’ll then need to manually redeem these.
December – DWP Christmas bonus
The Department for Work and Pensions ( DWP ) is sending out a £10 Christmas bonus to households in receipt of certain benefits in December.
You can see the list of benefits that qualify you for the payment here.
Brits need to receive these benefits in the “qualifying week” – which is usually the first full week of December.
They must also be present or “ordinarily resident” in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Gibraltar.
The DWP hasn’t officially given a date for when the Christmas bonus will be paid.
However, people started receiving it from the start of December last year – so it is likely to be around this time again.
The Christmas payment may show up as “DWP XB” on your bank statement.
December – £300 pensioner cost of living payment
Pensioners who receive a Winter Fuel Payment will get an extra £300 on top of this, thanks to a new cost of living payment being sent out in November and December.
Winter Fuel Payments are normally worth between £100 and £300 – meaning the maximum someone could get is £600 with the cost of living payment on top.
The money should be received by January 13, 2023.
It will appear in bank statements with the payment reference starting with your National Insurance number followed by “DWP WFP” for people in Great Britain, or “DFC WFP” for people in Northern Ireland.
You could be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment if you were born before September 26, 1956.
You normally need to have lived in the UK for at least one day in the qualifying week – between 19 to 25 September 2022.
December – Scotland to pay £260 to families
Thousands of families who live in Scotland will receive £260 this winter to help with the cost of living.
Scottish Child Payment Bridging Payments are being awarded to low-income households with children who receive free school meals.
The final Bridging Payment, due in December, was worth £130 but has now been doubled to £260.
This comes on top of three other separate £130 payments that have already been issued.