Are you spending less this Christmas?

Posted on: 10 November 2009 by Mark O'haire

Christmas is coming and the goose won't be getting very fat this year - according to a festive season spending survey.

Each year we all resolve to start our Christmas shopping earlier rather than leaving it to Christmas Eve. But the reality is, despite our best intentions, many of us buy our gifts at the last minute.

This Christmas, research shows that many of us will be operating on a tighter budget than last year, so it's more important than ever to get a plan of action in place.

Whatever timescale or budget you are working with, it pays to adopt a more savvy approach to your festive shopping. We've teamed up with financial expert and TV presenter, Jasmine Birtles to give you some practical advice and top tips for getting the most out of your Christmas spending.

Brits are buying Christmas gifts earlier than ever to beat the credit crunch and bag a bargain but eight out of ten say they have less money to spend on Christmas this year.

One third of the cash-conscious population are already cramming the stores in search of the perfect festive presents and others should be following their lead for a merry Christmas according to research.

Britain’s high street shops are offering various deals and special offers in the run-up to 25 December hoping to entice shoppers into parting with their cash as the crunch begins to bite. More than three quarters of people say they’ll take full advantage of reward schemes as over half of us are resigned to the fact we can’t be as generous this year as we were last Christmas.

A fifth believe they will save money by shopping early as Britain goes bargain barmy in an effort to avoid blowing their budgets.

“November is only just upon us but cash-strapped Brits have started their Christmas shopping early this year in a bid to stick within their budget,” says financial expert and television presenter Jasmine Birtles.

“Research found that the majority of Brits will be forced to cut their Christmas spending because of the impact of the credit crunch on households.”

Spending Guide

When you're shopping for presents for friends, family, and associates, you can end up spending far more than you ever intended. Follow these shopping tips to prevent yourself from over-spending:

Shop In Person With Cash - Shopping online and paying with credit cards makes it easy to spend huge amounts without ever realising how much money is leaving your pocket. By shopping at a real store with cash, you'll be much more conscious of every penny you spend, resulting in fewer gift expenses.

Make A Shopping List - Before shopping, make a list of everyone on your gift list, and next to their name put the maximum amount you want to spend on them. This way, as you're walking through shopping centres, you'll be able to easily budget and keep your shopping organised.

When Cooking - The expenses associated with cooking for friends and family during the holiday season can quickly add up. To save money on food expenses, plan your meals before you buy groceries so you know exactly what ingredients you need. Also, by buying in bulk you can get great deals on the groceries you use most.

Having Fun - Holiday fun can get expensive: from going out to dinner with visiting friends and family to going to Christmas shows and events, you'll be spending a lot. Try a few holiday activities that cost little or nothing yet still are extremely enjoyable such as Christmas carolling with friends, window shopping in beautifully decorated Christmas markets, ice-skating, competitive board games like Monopoly and Cranium, and volunteering with friends and family at the local homeless shelter are just a few ideas.

Links

For more information and tips on how to have a great Christmas on a tight budget visit www.lloydstsb.com/spender.

Are you spending less this Christmas? Have you started your Christmas shopping early?

Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below or share your thoughts with other readers in the 50connect forums.

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