Press release:

One in eight sacrifice having a Christmas tree to pay for this year’s festivities

  • One in five households (18%) plan to cut their Christmas spending this year[1] with one in eight (13%)  forgoing the traditional Christmas tree to make ends meet[2]
  • Two fifths (44%) of households are worried about the cost of Christmas this year, with nearly one in five (17%) saying they will spend beyond their means[3]
  • Six in ten (60%) households will be cutting back this year, by spending less on presents and attending festive social occasions[4]
  • com offers a few simple steps  that can help consumers better manage their Christmas finances this year.

Millions of Brits are facing a frugal festive season this year as new research from  uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service, reveals that nearly one in eight (13%) families will not put up a Christmas tree this year to keep costs down[2].

With the cost of living reaching a five year high in 2017, getting through the festive period is now on the nation’s mind with one in five (18%) consumers admitting they will be cutting back on their Christmas spending[1]. This is perhaps unsurprising as two fifths (44%) say they are worried about the financial demands of what is, for many, the most expensive time of the year[3].

Stagnant wage growth and inflation mean that 2017 has been difficult for millions of UK families, with many worse off[5] than they were this time last year. This financial pressure is reflected in the research – with nearly one in five (17%)[3] saying they will spend beyond their means to pay for the festivities by borrowing to pay for Christmas. Almost a third (29%) say that Christmas this year is likely to be more expensive[6] and for another quarter (26%) the pressure of delivering a perfect Christmas for their family is the reason they will be overspend[7].

During the holiday season, 60% of UK households say they will try to make savings where they can such as on presents, with nearly one in three (28%) planning to spend less on presents, while one in four (26%) will give out fewer gifts. With party season well underway, it might surprise some to hear that one in five (23%) will also turn down social events to save money.

Top 6 things Brits are doing to cut back on costs this Christmas[4] % of people
1 Spending less per present 28%
2 Not buying the latest tech products 27%
3 Buying fewer people presents 26%
4 Socialising less 23%
5 Not sending Christmas cards 14%
6 Not buying a Christmas tree 13%

Source: uSwitch.com, November 2017

Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “For many, Christmas is the season of giving, however, with the cost of gifts, Christmas dinner, travel and treats all racking up, consumers can be left feeling anxious about how they’re going to be able to afford the festivities.

“It is a reflection of the times that so many families will be forced to cut back on well-loved staples like the traditional Christmas tree. However, there are a few simple things households can do now which can help manage costs and prevent having to tackle a bigger financial issue later.

“If you feel like your spending is spiralling out of control, help is at hand. Charities like StepChange offer free and impartial advice to help get on top of your debt.”

Step to help manage your Christmas finances

  • Set a budget for the festive period and stick to it.
  • Do your shopping early: last minute shoppers often end up spending more
  • Don’t forget to include the all-important spending associated with Christmas and New Year socialising – the reality is you’re likely to want one or two treats so make sure you budget for it
  • Compare any offers you find with those available at other shops and online as you may find there is a cheaper price
  • Don’t forget to pay your everyday bills amid the festive excitement
  • When paying for anything on credit, don’t forget the interest you will pay. Debt can build up if not paid off straight away
  • Avoid going into an unarranged overdraft. They can be more costly than using other forms of credit such as credit cards
  • Don’t forget you could be waiting up to six weeks between your December and January pay days – so plan accordingly

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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Notes to editors

Notes to editors

Research carried out online with the uSwitch.com Consumer Opinion Panel in November 2017 amongst a sample of 4,024 UK adults.

  1. When asked ‘Do you expect to spend more or less on Christmas festivities this year than last year?’ 18% of respondents selected ‘Less’. 18% of 51,767,543 (ONS UK adult population) = 9,318,158 people.
  2. When asked, ‘Will you cut back on the cost of Christmas this year by doing any of the following? 13% selected ‘I won’t buy a Christmas tree’,
  3. When asked ‘Which of the following statements best describe how you feel about the cost of Christmas this year?’, 9% of respondents answered, ‘Extremely worried’ and 35% of respondents answered, ‘Slightly worried’. When asked ‘Do you think you will spend beyond your means this Christmas?’, 17% of respondents answered ‘Yes’
  4. When asked, ‘Will you cut back on the cost of Christmas this year by doing any of the following? 28% selected ‘I will spend less per present’, 27% selected ‘I won’t buy the latest game console/phone/tech gadget’, 26% selected ‘I will cut down on who I give presents to this year’, 23% selected ‘cut back on socialising’, 14% selected ‘I won’t send Christmas cards’, and 40% selected ‘I don’t plan to cut back on costs this year’
  5. Social Market Foundation analysis of ONS earnings figures, found that workers are £300 worse off than a year ago as inflation and weak wage growth bite:  http://www.smf.co.uk/workers-300-worse-off-year-ago-inflation-weak-wage-growth-bite/
  6. When asked ‘Why will you spend beyond your means this Christmas?’ 29% of respondents selected ‘Because Christmas is more expensive this year’
  7. When asked ‘Why will you spend beyond your means this Christmas? 26% of respondents selected ‘Because Christmas is very important in our household’

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

Customers can sign up to an account that automatically monitors the energy market and notifies them when they can move to a cheaper tariff, while broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and identify the best deal for their postcode.

The multi award-winning 'Switching Made Simple' app allows customers to compare energy, broadband, credit card, mobile and SIM-only deals – and uSwitch also has a UK contact centre manned by energy and broadband experts. Customers can post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH to receive a free call back and be guided through the comparison process, or they can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details.

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