CHRISTMAS in Huddersfield will be the most economical ever this year.
Shoppers are planning to spend less than previous years, according to a survey undertaken by the Government’s National Savings & Investments Agency.
Some 42% of people are planning to cut costs this Christmas, with most lowering their budget for buying gifts for friends and family.
A quarter of the people surveyed admitted that this Christmas will be their most cost-conscious to date, thanks to the credit crunch affecting how much money they are able to spare for the season.
However, over a third of women in Yorkshire admitted to buying extra presents during the run up to Christmas. This pushes them over budget, causing almost half of them to feel guilty and frustrated by their spending in the new year.
Just over a third of Yorkshire men admitted to overspending, with a quarter saying that they also buy extra presents that they haven’t budgeted for.
About 11% of people have said that they aren’t looking forward to Christmas at all because they are so worried about not being able to afford decent presents and decorations, while 24% said that money doesn’t matter when it comes to enjoying Christmas and that by making handmade presents and playing traditional parlour games, families can have a great time without emptying their wallets.
The survey suggests that most people would agree that expensive presents aren’t important, with 61% saying that it’s the thought that counts and not the gift itself.
"Our research shows that few people look at the financial value of gifts they are given," said John Prout, a spokesperson for NS&I.
"The last thing anyone wants during this season of goodwill is to have financial worries at the back of their mind so we’re encouraging people to stick to an affordable budget, enjoy the festivities with people they are close to and concentrate on what really matters at this time of year."
We went into Huddersfield and asked the public about their Christmas shopping habits. Here’s what they had to say:
William Boyd, 20, is a music journalism student at the University of Huddersfield. He said that he sets a budget of around £20 per person, and tries his best to stick to it. He tends to leave his Christmas shopping until last minute because his only extra income is from his temporary Christmas job which he doesn’t start until mid-December. He agreed that it’s the thought that counts for him, but he doesn’t apply that when he buys presents for other people.
"A lot of people say that the price of presents doesn’t matter," he said. "But I never know if they’re telling the truth and I don’t want to risk it and end up looking cheap!"
Pearl Sutton, 54, from Honley, says that she doesn’t normally set a budget, but intends to this year.
"Normally I spend different amounts depending on who the present is for, but it generally totals at least £2,000 every year," she said. "Things are tough this year though so I’m going to try not to spend that much. It probably won’t work though, because I like to spoil people."
James Furey, 25, who works at TK Maxx, tends to spend between £40 and £50 each on his friends and family’s presents.
"I try to set a lower budget but I can never really stick to it,’’ he said. "I like my presents to be expensive, but meaningful."
Hannah Coulson, 22, is a photographer from Dalton. She thinks of herself as being organised when it comes to shopping for gifts, often coming in under the budget she sets for herself.
"I don’t have a lot of extra cash, so I spend about £25 each on my family, and a bit less on my friends," she said. "I don’t tend to overspend because I do my shopping online, so I’m not tempted to buy extra things that I haven’t budgeted for."
Jackie Holland, Sky retail manager, admits that she isn’t very organised when it comes to doing her Christmas shopping.
"I decided I was going to start in September this year and I bought a couple of presents then," she said. "But I haven’t done anything since so it looks like the rest of it will be done on Christmas Eve as usual!"
Like many people, Jackie is planning to spend less this year than she has before, although she thinks that presents should be meaningful, but also appropriately priced for the person they are bought for.