CHESTER, England - With Christmas just ten weeks away, a poll conducted by MoneySupermarket.
com has found one in two consumers (53 per cent) are already worried about how they will fund the cost of Christmas festivities this year.
Britain's number one comparison site asked consumers whether they are worried about being able to afford Christmas this year, and while 53 per cent of the 2,075 people polled are already worrying, this is down seven per cent from last year but the same as 2010 levels. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) say they're not worried at all this year, increasing from 18 per cent last year, indicating there may be some relief to the nation's festive finances.
Despite a drop in 'Christmas worriers', over half (53 per cent) of those worried are seriously concerned that things will be a lot tighter this year, with the rest (47 per cent) worried they will have to make some cut backs.
Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket commented: "UK households have continued to feel the pinch in 2012, and many may fear the worst with the cost of Christmas still to come. It is good to see that slightly less people are worried this year however there are still many dreading the festive period creeping upon us. Sadly, financial worries tend to take the sparkle out of Christmas, but it doesn't have to be that way.
"When it comes to funding a busy period like Christmas, taking a 'jam jar' approach to savings and putting a little aside each week in a regular savers account, such as the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society Regular Saver account which pays 4 per cent for 12 months, could help to make your money stretch further. Ideally, households would have started saving months ago; however this is not always an option so consumers must look to make savings where they can. With only two paydays left until Christmas, it is important you start to plan ahead and not be left with a hole in your finances come Christmas and New Year.
"A credit card offering interest free purchases could be another alternative and offer some much needed flexibility. Zero per cent deals can be an efficient way to spread the cost of Christmas, with leading products such as the Tesco Clubcard Credit Card offering up to 16 months of interest free on purchases. However anyone going down this road must ensure they can afford to clear the balance quickly or may find themselves paying off their debt when Christmas 2013 comes knocking. Alternatively using a cashback credit card such as the Barclaycard Cashback Credit Card or the American Express Platinum Cashback Card can help reward your spending over Christmas.
"Christmas needn't be a financial headache. If you can't afford to borrow to fund the festivities or don't have any savings, don't despair. Using vouchers and searching online for the best deals won't make you a Scrooge - many of us are already feeling the pinch and doing Christmas on the cheap needn't prevent you enjoying the occasion."