Think Money

Think Money

December 21, 2011 08:23 ET

Tips for a Cut-Price Christmas and a Frugal New Year

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 21, 2011) - Think Money, a leading financial solutions company, has advised households to consider ways they could make this Christmas both enjoyable and affordable for the whole family.

Despite the current climate, when many families are sticking to strict budgets and making cutbacks wherever possible, the festive season can put major pressure on households to spend extravagantly: from gifts and decorations to the traditional festive food and drink.

Recent research from uSwitch.com revealed that over a quarter of people (26%) are considering replacing Christmas gifts this year with an 'IOU' - with 39% of those people doing so because they simply can't afford presents for friends and family.

Furthermore, many people are delaying the Christmas spend until the January sales - generally considered to be a prime time for bargain hunting - as many are confident they'll save over £40, on average, buying gifts; and 10% estimate they'll be £100 better off if they hold back.

However, there are some practical tips many families could follow to have a cut-price Christmas - so they can still enjoy the festive season and be less out of pocket for the coming year.

A spokesperson for Think Money commented:

"Christmas is a time of year most of us look forward to, but families living on seriously squeezed budgets may be worried about affording the often high cost: buying gifts for the kids, decorating the family home, buying food and drink, etc.

"With more and more households trying to be frugal with the family finances, increasing numbers of people will be looking to have a Christmas that is both fun and financially viable.

"But rather than 'cancel' Christmas altogether, or delay it until the New Year, there are some simple ways you could celebrate the festive season at a fraction of the price - and keep your finances in healthy shape.

"You don't really need to spend lots of money buying decorations or a Christmas tree - after all, Christmas only lasts for a few weeks every year. As long as you store your decorations well, you could re-use them rather than throw them away. If you do need to buy new ones, visit discount stores for offers. You may even decide that an artificial Christmas tree is worth the investment.

"Rather than buy individual gifts for all your friends and family, why not organise a 'Secret Santa'? That way, everyone is guaranteed to get a present, and if you agree a rough price limit, no one will be spending more than they can reasonably afford.

"When it comes to food and drink, why not spread the cost between the whole family? For example, your dad could be in charge of the turkey, mum could sort the drinks out and your brothers and sisters could have the task of buying the mince pies and Christmas pudding. If other members of family are coming to your house for Christmas dinner, you could suggest they bring a bottle or an item of food.

"Discount stores can often be great places for buying party favours and small gifts for the kids - along with food and drink - and if you feel like getting creative, why not offer handmade gifts to cut back on your shopping bills?

"So, if you want to be ready for 2012 the advice is cut back, reuse and recycle. You never know, you may even find that you enjoy budgeting and want to continue in the New Year.

"Of course, even these simple steps could only be a sensible option for families who are managing their finances well. If you're struggling with repaying your unsecured debts, for example, you should speak to a debt adviser as soon as you can - who may be able to help you lower your monthly repayments with a debt management plan."

Notes to Editors

Think Money is one of the UK's leading financial solutions providers, delivering a comprehensive range of financial solutions, including loan, insurance and banking solutions.

Think Money defines its mission as 'To educate, rehabilitate and advise on all aspects of financial management'.

For more information, visit the Think Money website at http://www.thinkmoney.com/

Or visit Think Money's debt management section: http://www.thinkmoney.com/debt/debt-management/

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