65% will be making cutbacks this Christmas

A new survey has found that 65% of people will be making changes to their usual Christmas celebrations this year, as budgets are squeezed.

A new survey from uSwitch.com has revealed the ways in which people plan to cut back this Christmas. It found that a third (37%) plan to cut down on presents, while 27% will sacrifice their real Christmas tree, and 9% will go without turkey.

However, the survey also found that, despite so many people trying to spend less this year, one in six (16%) will be forced to borrow to cover the cost of Christmas. Over half of consumers (52%) plan to use a credit card to get them through the festive season, with an average spend of £418 each.

It appears that, although family budgets may have shrunk, expectations have not. A third of those who are spending more than they can afford are doing so because they feel that they must live up to what is “expected”.

Twenty-eight percent of people plan to socialise less with friends, while 18% say they will spend less on entertaining at home and 9% plan to give homemade gifts.

Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com commented on the findings:

“The budget available to host the perfect Christmas has reduced significantly, but the obligation families feel they are under has not. It’s going to be a cut price Christmas, with many turning to plastic not just for their spend but for their tree as well. Relying on credit cards to ease the festive financial burden could mean starting New Year saddled with more debt.”

However, he went on to argue that credit cards can be helpful when used responsibly:

“The cost of Christmas is now so high and consumer budgets so tight, that a time of year traditionally full of joy and festive spirit is now clouded with worry and financial woe. While it’s easy to get carried away and spend more than necessary at this time of year, if funds are tight it makes sense to find a cost-effective way to spread the pain over the festive period.”