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Families make sacrifices for Christmas, but one group does well

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Over 40% of people have been forced to make sacrifices to pay for Christmas, but as a nation we will still be spending £1bn on our pets.

The latest quarterly Disposable Income Index from Scottish Friendly and the Social Market Foundation shows almost six in ten (56%) British households are making significant financial sacrifices to afford Christmas.

This includes relying on credit, delaying rent, mortgage or household bill payments. The report also found that over half of families feel under pressure to have the ‘perfect Christmas’, citing other family members and TV advertising as the main sources of pressure. TV advertising will hit £6bn this year, a 40% increase over the last seven years.

A report by GoCompare showed around two in five families have been forced to make sacrifices to pay for this year’s festivities, including cutting back on heating, clothes and food shopping, taking on an extra job and even selling belongings.

The research showed only 36% of households have no financial worries about this Christmas, with over a fifth (21%) saying they will be celebrating on a smaller scale than they’d like. One in ten surveyed said they really can’t afford Christmas at all.

UK households expect to spend an average of £726 on Christmas celebrations. Cutting back on clothes shopping, major purchases or food shopping were the main sacrifices made to fund Christmas. One in ten (9%) will be taking on more work, overtime or an extra job, while 9% will sell belongings.

Households continue to be squeezed from declining real wages, and higher inflation, which hit 3.1% in November. The inflation crunch has also hit Black Friday discounts, which were down 12% compared to 2016. Mark Billige, UK managing partner at pricing strategy consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners, said: “The average order amount grew by 9% over the previous year. So consumers spent more overall this year due to higher prices.”

However, amid all this sacrifice, there is one group apparently set to do well this Christmas. Our furry friends are due to receive gifts worth more than £1bn, according to research from Direct Line Pet Insurance. Over a quarter (29%) of pet owners – over seven million adults – plan to buy presents for their cat or dog to open on Christmas Day along with the rest of the family.

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