How much can you have an acceptable Christmas for? If new research carried out by the charity Family Action is to believed, it could be less than £200.
This survey, conducted by the charity, has shown that the poorest families will spend around one-third of the amount that the average family will during the festive season.
The average family in the UK will spend between £530 and £690 on items related to Christmas including; gifts, decorations, food and drinks. However, when questioned, the majority of families with a smaller income said that they would be spending around £182.
This breaks down as approximately: £34 on food and drink, £28 on decorations, £6 on cards and £114 on gifts, for a basic Christmas.
Many of the parents asked felt that there was an increased level of pressure on them to provide gifts for their children that, normally, would be more expensive than they can afford.
The main reasons for this appear to stem from the retailers and media providing a constant bombardment or the latest “must have” items. This constant advertisement makes it easier for children to see something that looks great on the flashy adverts, and therefore allows them to keep reminding their parents about said item.
And it doesn’t get better as they grow older, with another major concern for parents being the expectations of their teenagers expecting electronic goods such as MP3 players, the latest mobile phone or tablet PCs.
Despite these pressures, many parents are still planning to spend less than £200 in total this year, with gifts being more practical purchases than gimmicky toys, such as clothes.
What can be drawn from this report is that it highlights the balancing act that a low income parent must maintain: on one side not wanting to ruin the magic of Christmas for your child, whilst having to maintain a sense of reality about the costs.
Some parents may feel the need to take out a personal loan over the festive period in order to tip the balance in favor of their child’s excitement. While this can be a good method in the short-term, it does mean that they will still be paying for Christmas long after the turkey has gone and the presents it paid for have been discarded by their owners.
An alternative to this is a 0% purchases credit card. With this, the holder will not pay interest on any purchases that they have made for up to 15 months, allowing them time to save up again without having to struggle to make payments each month.
Or how about trying to snap up a saving with hundreds of online discounts and vouchers to use in the top stores?