Saving or spending this Christmas?

Article by Ruth Johnson

Christmas a time for spending or celebrating?

Christmas, a time for good spirit, friends, family, and money worries…Charles Bean, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, may be telling us to ‘stop complaining about poor returns and begin spending to help the economy’, but at Christmas, we can’t help but feel the strain.

Spending during the festive period can often hit our purse strings hard, and our credit cards even harder, leaving many of us starting the New Year in debt. During the month of December in the run up to Christmas, 35 per cent of us will use our overdrafts to see us through the Christmas period, and a quarter us will dip into our our savings accounts, according to research conducted by First Direct.’s research predicts that 3.8 million people expect to be in debt going into 2011 as a result of their spending for Christmas 2010. Christmas. Christmas is no surprise, we all know when it is coming, and what will be expected; why then, do so many of us end up entering the new year in debt?

In the 1930s, the average spend at Christmas, in total, was less than £50. Compared with £490 spent on presents and entertainment (ING Direct) in 2010. Although inflation and the economy obviously have a part to play in the figures, the difference is staggering. In 2010 approximately £168 will be spent on each child. With Ipads, Kindles and Ipods on every child’s Christmas list, it is no wonder we are spending over triple the amount than we were 70 years ago.

Christmas lists are getting longer. Although this is an era of new technology and gadgets, research has also found that one in five expects to receive a cheque for Christmas and one in 10 a gift card or voucher. For many, gifts are an important part of Christmas. Many hours will be spent thinking about and making/buying a gift for someone. Christmas is also about family, good food and a bit of R and R. Christmas shouldn’t be able debt and worry.

There are many ways in which savings can be made at Christmas. Here are just a few of them.

Use compare websites to ensure you are getting the best price on your goods.Order early to ensure you can benefit from free delivery – leaving it too late may mean you have to pay extra for postage.

Before clicking the ‘buy’, check you have everything you need – deliveries from retailers can be grouped which will save you money on postage.

Before you buy, check voucher websites for money off savings, sometimes you can save yourself up to 25%.

Don’t forget your local high street – not only will you save on delivery charges but you may also be able to fund discounts which aren’t available online.

Unsure on what to get someone? Don’t get them something they don’t want. A gift card allows the recipient to chose their own.

Do your food shopping elsewhere – your regular supermarket may not be the cheapest for your turkey and stuffing – check online/in store for deals with other supermarkets. It may mean extra travelling, but you could save yourself a lot.

Don’t leave your food shop until the night before. The supermarket rush will mean you wont have time to shop around for the best deals.

Recycle – turn last years cards into this years gift tags. Not only will it save you money, but it also helps the environment.

Brand isn’t always best – try cheaper alternatives to branded products.

About the Author

Ruth is owns her own business which she runs from home whilst looking after her two children.

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