If there’s one thing the British would rather eat their own eyeballs than do, it’s talk about money with our mates. We don’t like to talk about what we earn or save – and we hate letting the people close to us know when it’s all getting on top of us.

The thing is, it costs money to have a social life with friends. Everything from meals out and rounds of drinks at the pub right up to weddings can suck the life out of your wallet. Even so, a lot of us are having a tough time saying no to our friends. We’re not just talking about the “friendship wage gap” here, where some members of a group of mates earn less than others. Even on a level playing field, you still might not want to splash out – particularly in the run-up to an expensive Christmas.

Be honest

Sometimes, you’ve just got to bite the bullet and let your mates know you can’t spare the cash for that night out. You’re better off doing it early, too, before too many plans have already been made.

If you’re worried about getting a reputation as a spoilsport, don’t be. We all have times when we need to focus our cash and time on important stuff, and any mate worth having will understand that. Chances are, the shoe will be in the other foot one day, and you’ll both be glad you spoke up when you did.

A good friend wouldn't want to push you into difficulties, but if they don't know your situation they can't take it into account.

Don't get into debt

Whatever you do, though, don’t dig the hole you’re standing in any deeper than it is. Every year, people all over the UK are pushing themselves into debt just because a mate wants an Instagram-worthy wedding or expensive party.

Stay away from the payday loan outfits, and put your money where it’ll do most good. If you think missing a night out will be bad for friendship, that's nothing compared to what blaming a mate for your financial problems down the road will do to it. 

Suggest Alternatives

None of this means you have to give up your social life altogether, either. Instead of dropping out when your mates make plans your wallet can’t handle, pipe up and suggest something more affordable. After all, the point of the exercise is to get together with friends – and you don’t need to drop your finances down a hole to do that.

Chances are, there's probably someone else in the same boat who doesn't quite know how to bring this up, either. Let's face it, you'll have a better time if you aren't all secretly worrying about the money you're spending while having to pretend to enjoy yourself.

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 is a pricey time of year for all of us, but there are always ways to cushion the blow. Obviously, claiming your yearly tax refund is usually a big help. With an average first refund from RIFT coming to over £2,500, that’s probably enough to handle anything the festive season can throw at you on its own!

Answer 4 questions to find out if you're owed anything now and if you are you'll be stuffing your wallet, as well as your stocking, 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.

With our new Double Acts scheme, 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 – so RIFT Double Acts means that both you AND the friend you referred get the money! How's that for giving your mate best present ever?

  • We’re doubling up our prize giveaways so both you AND your mates get rewarded!
  • We’re adding TWO extra prize draws for you both to win!
  • We’re piling on more chances to win than EVER before!

Find out more about Refer a Friend and check out our new Double Acts double 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.