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Counting the Christmas coins

3 min read

Research uncovers that nearly 10 million Brits dip into their overdrafts just to get through Christmas. 

I have a fairly big family and what makes it worse is they live in America, the Caribbean and the Channel Islands (should I take this personally?!). This means that I need to be super organised ahead of Christmas. I can’t do what many people do and start shopping in mid-December or in some cases wait for the January sales (51% of Brits!), I need to start preparing in August. I am NOT joking. It’s not just about getting organised so I can get things posted all over the world, it’s also because it’s so flipping expensive to buy presents for everyone so I try to phase my spending. For those of you with small children in your family, you will undeniably understand the obsession with over-buying for small people. My 2-year-old nephew is getting more presents from his Auntie Katy than Father Christmas has ever made – however, the beauty of buying for a 2-year-old is that he doesn’t care how much a present cost, he is more likely to be more interested in the box the present came in! Yet, I still put so much pressure on myself to spend more money than I actually have in the bank – it’s the same every single year – I never learn. 
 
It appears that I’m not the only one. We did some research looking at the spending habits of us Brits around the festive period and it has uncovered that nearly 10 million of  us dip into our overdrafts just to get through Christmas. I (just) fall into the millennial category and it seems that 18-34 year olds are the most squeezed, with 12% preparing to take out a loan and 27% planning to go into their overdraft to pay for Crimbo. 
 
Not only that, and I love this bit, 20% of us admit to recycling past presents in a bid to boost budgets. There is a certain member of my family (who shall remain nameless) who thinks that I haven’t noticed that the wine he brings round to mine is the same bottle I took to his house the week before. This is a recurring ritual – to the point where I now return with the same bottle to see if I get it back again – we have never discussed this. As long as no-one notices – where’s the harm in recycling something that used to be yours? Unless it’s the fluffy toilet lid cover and matching mat from 1989 (remember them?!) it seems fairly enterprising and a good way to save some money. 1 in 10 of us have admitted to buying second hand gifts and passing them off as new – I might try it!
 
It seems that people are becoming more and more shrewd with their shopping habits around Christmas time, and with online selling and second hand shopping so popular, what once might have seemed like a Scrooge-like approach to present buying are actually the skills of the savvy amongst us. 
 
The question is – how many of us will get presents this year and then sell them. Gasp I hear! Could you imagine? Mum buys me lovely new scarf for Christmas ‘ker-ching’! get it sold! Then, picturing the moment, she asks me to send her a photo of me donning the said scarf (months after I sold it). How do you explain that? One in four people in the North East region have admitted to using the internet to line their pockets from present profits. I suppose the benefits of not holding on to dud presents you don’t want lying around, and the prospect of boosting the bank balance for the January sales, can only be a good thing – if you are brave enough! 
 
So although Christmas can be a struggle for some of us financially, it seems that we can take some inspiration from others and think about a) recycling b) selling or c) waiting for the January sales before buying any presents.
 
Whatever you buy or receive for Christmas, remember it’s the thought that counts! Merry Crimbo!