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Are you dreading the cost of Christmas this year?

Posted 07 November 2016

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Can you afford Christmas this year?

Are you dreading the cost of Christmas this year?

Are you dreading the cost of Christmas? Now that Halloween and Bonfire night are over, your thoughts may have turned to what is, for most people, the most expensive day of the year - Christmas Day. Of course, Christmas brings with it so many good things to look forward to, but there is also the temptation – and sometimes the pressure – to spend more than you actually have.

According to recent research carried out on behalf of Debt Advisory Centre, 18 million Brits dread Christmas because of the cost involved. Perhaps unsurprisingly, young people (18-24) are most likely to dread Christmas because of the cost, and the stats show that a massive one in three are worried about the not being able to afford everything.

Pressure to be seen with the best and latest products can play a part in how much people overspend. This ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ mentality causes 1 in 5 Brits to overspend, as they’re influenced by the spending of others. Again, this pressure is most likely to be felt by younger people – this time under the age of 35 – with two-thirds of those questioned saying that they felt peer pressure to spend more.

It makes for sad reading, but one in seven said that Christmas is effectively cancelled and they won’t be celebrating because they can’t afford it. Almost half of the under 35s said that they won’t be able to do and buy everything they want to, as their budgets won’t allow for it.

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What should I do if I’m worried about the cost of Christmas?

It’s important to remember that January is the busiest time of year for debt advisors as the cost of over-spending at Christmas catches up with people up and down the country. It can be great to celebrate Christmas, but you shouldn’t sacrifice your financial security for the rest of the year just for one day.

At the same time, you probably want to join in the festivities. So what should you do if you’re worried? Here are some important things to remember when it comes to spending over Christmas.

Set a realistic budget

Go through your finances before you start your shopping and set a budget. Work out what you’ve got coming in and everything that you’ve got to pay for – after all your normal bills don’t stop just because it’s Christmas. Try to come up with a total figure for what you’re willing to spend on Christmas and then you can split this up into smaller amounts for food, presents, decorations and anything else you had planned.

Don’t borrow unless you know how you’re going to repay it

We’ve said many times that borrowing isn’t necessarily bad if it’s for a good reason and you know how you’re going to pay it back, but you shouldn’t relay on borrowing if you’re already struggling to afford everything. It may make things better in the short term, but you’re bound to be more stressed if you end up with unaffordable repayments in the New Year.

See if you can shop in the sales

Are there people who you’re buying for that you won’t see until after Christmas day? If so, it makes perfect sense to wait until the January sales before you buy their gift.

Even if you will see someone on Christmas day, see whether you can agree to get some presents – especially the most expensive ones you’re planning to buy – after the big day itself. There won’t be a very long time to wait for the person receiving the gift but there’s likely to be a big difference in the price.

Try shopping online

Online shopping can sometimes be really helpful when it comes to sticking to your budget. When you shop online you can see the total in your basket as you go along, and you won’t run the risk of getting a nasty surprise when you get to the checkout, as you would if you were shopping in store. You’re also less likely to impulse buy when you’re not confronted with the clever psychological tricks of store layouts.

Here at Debt Advisory Centre we know that money worries can seriously impact your ability to enjoy other aspects of your life. If money is tight, it’s completely understandable why you might feel down or worried about Christmas day. But if you budget carefully and avoid buying unnecessary gifts, you’ll give yourself the best chance of being able to deal with the financial demands of the season. If you’re worried about Christmas because you can’t afford your debt repayments, this isn’t something you have to deal with alone. Make sure you reach out to a debt advisor, like the ones here and speak to them about your concerns. Whatever debt problem you’re in, there will be a way to solve it.


*3Gem Research carried out online interviews with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 people between 14th September and 20th September 2016.

**Figures extrapolated based on ONS UK adult population estimates for 2014 of 64.6m



by Christine Walsh

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