The Debt Advice Service
  • Christmas tree in shop window

    Avoiding the Debts of Christmas Future

    We don’t want to be a scrooge, but Christmas shopping can be a recipe for increasing debts for many people. We are going to give some tips on how you can do Christmas on a budget.

    Here at the Debt Advice Service we know that christmas is less than seven weeks away and for many people the excitement is already building, we have already spotted Christmas trees up on the way to work! But does the excitement get the better of us? According to Statista forecasted Christmas sales are projected to increase to £84.7 billion. Spending was down last year due to the pandemic but we as households appear to be upping our Christmas spending to make this year extra special.

    So, how are we going to afford this extra increase in spending?

    The answer is, not all of us will. According to StepChange two thirds of people are already struggling to afford Christmas and according to refinery29 of those people who borrow to afford Christmas, the average time to pay it back will be seven months!

    What can we do to make Christmas more affordable?

    Talk to your family:

    There is always pressure to get the right present at Christmas but as adults this can be a bit of a chore. Have a sensible family discussion, it may be that other family members are in the same boat, perhaps you could agree to only get presents for the children or maybe you all agree to a capped budget. One of our employees had a game with his wife a few years ago and agreed a budget of £15. It was then fun and interesting to see what they could get with their budget.

    Make a budget for buying Christmas presents:

    Ok, this is not the most exciting thing to do when thinking about Christmas, but it is important. Decide what you can afford breaking down the costs for food, travel, decorations and presents and then put down the amount and stick to it.

    Plan with the internet:

    With threats of low stock for Christmas it has been advised that we bring forward when we do our Christmas shopping. Some news channels are even suggesting that men might start their Christmas shopping on the 23rd December this year and not the 24th!

    While this is of course a joke it does highlight an important point, leaving things late can cost you more. We end up panic buying or just buying everything from one store. Plan ahead with the internet, research what you want to buy and where you want to buy it from. That way you will know where to buy presents at the lowest possible price, you might be able to buy more online and reduce the amount of time you are at the shops. This means less time in town which may reduce the amount of lunches and coffees buy while you shop.

    Be careful on Black Friday:

    There are some cracking deals on Black Friday, but before the day comes along have a list of what you need and if its not on one of the deals don’t buy something else! Black Friday is very good at getting us to spend money on things we don’t need. We are convinced that we have saved money buying that electronic gadget that we would never have bought if it wasn’t Black Friday.

    Make your Christmas list early and look around the deals to see if you can tick off what was already on your list. If not move on.

    Don’t be scared to go secondhand:

    With Ebay, Facebook marketplace and several other secondhand websites, buying for Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive. You might be able to find your decorations, trees, lights and dare we say it presents second hand.

    For young children they often go through phases and if their present is in a box and wrapped they don’t care. My child is Paw Patrol obsessed and we managed to get him Paw Patrol toys that would rrp for over £150 for about £50 secondhand. He loves them and he has got a lot more than if we had bought them new. Buying second-hand also works well for bikes. Many children outgrow their bikes leaving bikes in good conditions. If you join social media groups dedicated to buying and selling children’s bikes you can buy a good quality bike at a greatly reduced price.

    Handmade can be fun:

    It seems that as each year goes by the Christmas decorations get bigger and they get more professional. There are colour schemes on a tree and each bauble has to be in the right place. But what about making Christmas decorations with your children, fill the tree with memories, the children will enjoy it and so will you.

    And to all a good night:

    As we said at the beginning, we don’t want to be a scrooge, but we do want you to have a great Christmas, let’s face it we all need it. But if you are worrying about money, you won’t be able to enjoy it. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you make the most of your marketing while sticking to your budget.

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    Lucy R.
    Lucy R.14-11-2020
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