Christmas is coming and the goose won’t be getting very fat this year – according to a festive season spending survey.
It found that eight in every ten people questioned plan to cut the amount they spend by an average of £102 each.
In fact, Christmas is set to be a far simpler affair for British families, as they rein in their spending.
New research from Birmingham Midshires, a leading direct savings provider, shows that 78 per cent of Britons are taking what it calls “sensible steps” to make Christmas more affordable this year.
Budgets have fallen by £102, with Britons expecting to pay out £604 on festivities this year, compared with £706 this time last year.
But that doesn’t mean that Christmas will be all doom and gloom. The research points to a revival of money-saving Christmas traditions and Christmas dinner at home.
There is also positive news on budgeting for Christmas, with one in four Britons having enough money already saved up to cover 87 per cent the cost of Christmas (£527).
To find out how the current financial climate is likely to affect Christmas spending, Birmingham Midshires polled 2,000 adults.
* The number of people paying for Christmas on credit has dropped considerably in the last two years. Just 11 per cent say that they will turn to their credit card to pay for Christmas this year – pointing to a 74 per cent drop in the number of people putting Christmas on credit from 2006, when 41 per cent used their credit card to pay for Christmas
* More than one in three people (36 per cent) who cannot afford to cover the costs of Christmas from their salary alone have savings set aside especially to pay for Christmas. Far fewer will raid their long-term savings or investments (11 per cent)
The most common ways of cutting costs include: spending less on gifts (53 per cent); spreading the costs of Christmas by buying presents and other festive supplies in advance of December (46 per cent); re-using last year’s Christmas tree (34 per cent); staying at home for Christmas dinner rather than eating out (31 per cent), and making Christmas dinner from scratch (25 per cent).
The sad news for some children is that 14 per cent of parents will be giving their children smaller stockings this year.
However, there is Christmas cheer in the resurrection of traditions such as picking holly, ivy and mistletoe to decorate the house in one in ten households (nine per cent). Families in the West Country will also be turning their hand to making decorations, such as paper chains and salt dough baubles (seven per cent). People age 25 to 34 are the most frugal when it comes to gifts, one in ten (11 per cent) giving last year’s unwanted gifts to loved ones this year. They are also the most likely to be making Christmas gifts (eight per cent).
The tradition of roasting chestnuts round the fire this Christmas seems to have been consigned to the history books though, with just one per cent of respondents saying that they will uphold the tradition.
Tim Hague, director of savings and investments at Birmingham Midshires, said: “The financial climate certainly doesn’t mean that Christmas is cancelled!
“As our research shows, Britons up and down the country will be cutting back on spending this year without sacrificing on many Christmas treats.
“This could have a very positive effect on New Year finances. Planning for the future and saving early for Christmas means that people will be less likely to suffer a financial hangover come January and could leave many a lot better prepared for 2009.”