The lowest price for an acceptable Christmas for a low-income family with two children is £182, a study says. Research for the charity Family Action says the poorest families will spend two-thirds less on the festivities than the average family. Most UK families will spend between £530 and £682 on gifts, decorations, food and drink, it adds. But most of the poorer families quizzed for the study said they would spend less than £200. The report, Breaking the Bank: A Cut-Price Christmas, is based on detailed focus groups and interviews with 22 families who use the charity’s services. Many felt pressure to buy gifts for their children that were far more expensive than they could afford.
They blamed this mainly on the media and older children’s expectations of electronic goods like mobile phones and branded items.
One parent said: “The older ones, they’re all wanting mobile phones or the laptops and you haven’t got the money for that.” Another said: “Mine, she wants a toy and it costs £40. She shows me on the TV every day, when they show advertisements. She just points with her finger. ‘Mum, can you buy me this for Christmas?
Nonetheless, the majority of the parents planned to spend less than £200 in total this year and almost all planned to buy their children essential clothing as Christmas gifts. The report says: “A Cut-Price Christmas highlights the challenge of being a parent on a low income: not wanting to crush your kid’s sense of fun but not being able to escape the reality of up-to-the wire budgeting and debt.” A minimum standard Christmas involved celebrating Christmas Day along with the extended family, a slap-up meal, and giving a few cheap gifts.
Whatever your circumstances the credit union can help smooth the costs of Christmas.
As Christmas is just around the corner it’s time to start planning on how you are going to pay for all those festive items, decorations, presents, and not forgetting the turkey! Take out a low cost loan or merely start savings with us now. The loan repayments will start on your next available pay date and unlike hamper schemes, your savings are safe with our credit union and what’s more you’ll often receive a dividend each year.