We’re really not great at talking about money in the UK. We keep our lips zipped about what we earn, what we owe and what we’ve saved – and it’s doing some damage. If you can’t bring yourself to send up a distress flare in an emergency, the chances of rescue are pretty dim. Everyone’s feeling the financial strain right now, so it’s time to start talking money with our mates.

Even if we’re all keeping each other at a distance these days, it still costs cash to have a social life with friends. Whether we’re masking up and heading to the pub or simply hooking up to play PUBG online, there’s money to consider. It’s tough to say no to mates, especially when we won’t talk about our finances. The run-up to Christmas can be rough going on anyone, but it’s also the worst time of year to be labelled a party-pooper. Here are a few quick survival tips for keeping hold of your mates and your money at the same time.

Be up-front about it

Sometimes, you’re just not going to have the cash for that night out, virtual or otherwise. The big new multiplayer game or hot new restaurant might be the place to be seen right now, but it’s not worth the stress of emptying your wallet at a critical time. You’re better off getting that conversation out of the way early, too - before too many plans have already been made.

Your mates will understand, so don’t worry about being a spoilsport. We all need to keep a tighter grip on our finances from time to time, and any friend worth having will respect that. Odds are, you’re not the only one with money concerns. It could be more than just you who’ll be glad you spoke up when you did.

Know your depth

When you’re in the hole, you have to stop digging. People work their way into debt every year by biting off more than they can financially chew. Your best mate may want an Instagram-class wedding, but that’s no reason to faceplant your own finances into the bargain. Keep away from payday loan outfits and put your money to better use. A short conversation now will be a lot better in the long run than blaming a mate for your own money trouble for years to come.

Suggest alternatives

No one’s saying you can’t be a good mate or have a social life. Just understand where your current limits are and plan accordingly. If your friends make a suggestion your finances won’t stretch to, don’t feel like you automatically have to drop out and leave them to it. Consider throwing out a more affordable idea instead. After all, the point of the exercise is to get together with friends – and you don’t need to drop your wallet down a hole to do that.

Again, the chances are high that at least one of your mates is in the same boat and worried about speaking up. You'll all have a better time if you’re not secretly worrying about the money you're spending.

Cover the cost of Christmas with a RIFT tax refund

The main thing is to be up-front about what you can afford right now. Christmas during a pandemic was always going to be a big ask, but there are still ways to cushion the blow. Obviously, claiming your yearly tax refund is absolutely essential. With an average first refund from RIFT coming to over £2,500, You could easily claim back enough to handle anything the festive season can throw at you!

Find out what you're owed now. With RIFT, you could be stuffing your wallet as well as your stockings this year.

Help your friends have a better Christmas, too

Also, don’t forget our Refer a Friend scheme. This is a fantastic way to let your mates know about the tax refunds they could be claiming - and to make a little extra cash yourself while you’re at it.

Every time someone you’ve referred to RIFT claims their refund with us, you get a cash reward and entry into our prize draws. There’s never been a better time to get started with Refer a Friend, either.

Back because you demanded it, our Double Acts scheme means we’re giving away twice as many prizes as usual, by handing them out to both you AND your mate! Our Star Prize right now is a whopping £1,000 in cash!

Find out more about our Refer a Friend and Double Acts  prizes for Christmas. Most importantly, refer your friends to RIFT for their tax refunds to start stacking up your rewards. It’s time to share the wealth this Christmas with RIFT.