Could you afford Christmas if you were out of work?

Could you afford Christmas if you were out of work?

In amongst the wrapping paper, lost amongst the tinsel and the laughter, there’s usually at least one person at any Christmas get-together concerned about the costs. Christmas, with all its traditions, present-giving and feasting, doesn’t come cheaply.

In fact, we’ll each spend a staggering average of £54,000 on Christmas over the course of our lifetimes. One report puts our annual spending on Christmas at £753 on average. Given that’s not a million miles off the average monthly mortgage payment for a homeowner in the UK, that puts our Christmas spending in to perspective. Christmas is expensive.

Many people worry about how to afford Christmas anyway – on a normal, employed, average year. We get into debt for it. In fact 52% of consumers have been reported as being concerned they will still be paying off the previous years’ Christmas when the stockings need filling for another year. So what would happen if you were out of work? How would you afford Christmas then?

Where Does Our Christmas Spending Go?

Perhaps we can work out where we’d prune costs by looking at where we spend it. Food and drink will sent you back £174 per household. That festive feasting costs a good bit more than the sixpence hidden in the plum pudding. Then each adult, for their at home personal consumption only (so no Christmas parties or festive tipples at the pub), will spend another £45 on alcoholic drinks.

Gifts of course are the obvious costs, and survey figures vary but conservatively, on average you could be spending £750, with some reports putting that figure as double that. Santa might take the credit, but you foot the bill.

Then there are the hidden costs. For example, the average family car will rank up 608 miles on the clock over the Christmas period, requiring an additional one-and-a-half tanks of fuel.

Where would you make the cut if you had to?

How to Afford Christmas on a Budget

Of course, there are many reasons why your budget may suddenly be tighter this year, not just unemployment. Where could you make some cost savings without becoming decidedly bah humbug?

Your first port of call will be to budget accurately. Rather than thinking what you hope or wish to spend, based on past expectations, what can you actually afford? You should only be spending within your means. So we have shared some suggestions below:

  • Slash the Cost of Gift Giving: Gifting costs the most. Therefore only buy for those you really feel you can’t avoid by agreeing to drop reciprocal gifts. Then think about free or cheap gifts, and homemade offerings.
  • Use Supermarket Points: Supermarket loyalty points collected throughout the year can be used for some gift purchases, but also towards the cost of Christmas dinner itself.
  • Get Selling: Pre-Christmas is a great time to sell things on sites such as eBay. Kid’s toys which have been languishing unloved as they’ve been outgrown, for example, can be sold to fund this year’s gifts.
  • Be Prepared & Compare: By comparing prices between different retailers, and ensuring you have a strict list and budget which you stick to, you can help ensure you don’t waste money.
  • Scale Down the Celebrations: No one is suggesting that you axe Christmas, but what are the elements of Christmas which really truly matter to you and your loved ones? Focus on these elements, and trying to source them cheaply. For example, if you love the annual carol concert, this year go to a free Christingle service instead.

Prevent the Christmas Blues

We’re all at risk of finding ourselves in a financial hole at Christmas-time. Even if you’ve prepared and saved all year, you may find unemployment means those funds are needed elsewhere. That’s why it is essential that you’ve given thought to how you would afford Christmas if you were out of work.

In reality, this isn’t just about Christmas. Being able to know you could still afford your usual Christmas is just the icing on the cake. Income protection is the financial plan which ensures financial security for you and your family, whatever the time of year. That way, if you find yourself out of work in December, with fears of disappointing excited little faces, then you have a safety net in place.

Our Income Protection plan is suitable for both the employed and the self-employed to ensure things, such as Christmas, can carry on should you find yourself out of work due to illness or injury. It’s the peace of mind to ensure you have a peaceful Christmas-time.

Please note: All information within Your Resource Centre is correct at the time of publication, and we make every effort to keep content accurate. However sometimes information may be out of date. You should not rely on this information when making financial decisions as no financial advice has been given. The information reflects the view of the author and not that of Shepherds Friendly Society.

If you’re not sure what to do when making financial decisions then you should consult a financial adviser, who will likely charge for any advice that is given.

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