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Christmas festivities are just around the corner. Decorating the house, parties, and gift exchanges with family and friends can all make a dreary winter more bearable. However, this period can also be a prime time for overspending. Many of us start panic buying last-minute presents or purchasing too many ‘must-have’ Christmas decorations.
Learning how to maintain financial control whilst still enjoying the season is a fine balance. It is one which many people in the UK struggle with – and feel the repercussions of in January.
The National Debtline found that a third of all Brits will be borrowing money to fund their Christmas festivities – around 16.5 million people.
At the start of 2019, the average post-Christmas credit card bill was around £323. When added to existing debt, a typical Brit went into the new year owing £740. Furthermore, more than 25% of us had debt which lasted beyond March. This is up from 36% the year before and reflects the increasing problems people have with credit card debt in the run-up to Christmas.
According to The Bank of England, Brits are typically spending £800 more than their average month during the festive season. £800 is a huge sum, but amidst all the festive fun there are endless ways to part with this money.
Research from Deloitte found that the average UK consumer spent £567 on Christmas last year. The majority of this budget went on gifts (53%); our favourites being chocolates, books, cosmetics and perfumes. This rest of our budget goes on food and drink (27%), socialising (12%) and travel (9%). The cultural pressure to spend at Christmas is widespread. Yet, gifts and time spent with loved ones does not have to be expensive.
Christmas does not need to be followed by financial stress or a significant increase in debt. There are a variety of ways you can curb your spending, whilst still enjoying the festivities.
Before heading out for celebratory meals with family and friends, or indulging in the seasonal sales, know your budget. By making a budget beforehand you can exclude those impulse purchases and keep to the essentials.
Christmas is a time to be generous, but you don’t have to break the bank to buy loved ones a great gift. Why not offer to make someone a meal or spend time creating a heartfelt personalised scrapbook.
There is a tendency to think that because it’s Christmas we have to splash out on the finest food and drink supermarkets have to offer. However higher brand goods are not to everyone’s taste – nor is it likely people will notice the difference!
Don’t leave everything till the night before! Take time to find out who’s offering the best prices and do some research for any available discount vouchers. You might be surprised at the offers available.
Debt write off applies to unsecured debts and on completion of an IVA. A debt write off amount of between 20% and 80% is realistic, however the debt write off amount for each customer differs depending upon their individual financial circumstances and is subject to the approval of their creditors.
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Free money help and advice can be found at the MoneyAdviceService.org.uk