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Nearly half of UK consumers plan to trim costs this Christmas

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The main target area for savings is gifts. People say they’ll buy fewer and cheaper presents.

More than 40% of consumers say they won’t give as many presents this year, 33% are looking to buy cheaper gifts, and 26% are scouting for promotions and discounts, according to the latest online poll for Which?

But Christmas presents weren’t the only area where respondents said they’d be cutting back. Nearly one-third (30%) said they’d cut spending on food and drink for gatherings at home while a quarter (23%) said they’d go out less as a way to save cash during the cost-of-living crisis.

Some are already having difficulty paying their regular bills. Which? estimates that an average of 7.9% of households missed or defaulted on at least one mortgage, rent, bill or credit payment in November, compared to 6.6% a year ago.

‘Why waste money on Christmas?’

Which? offered some real-life examples, quoting a woman, age 21, from the South West, who said: “The cost of living is ridiculous. I can barely afford to support myself … why would I waste money on Christmas when I can use [it] to survive?”

Another woman, age 27 from the East Midlands, said: “I have less spare money this Christmas than I would normally have. I have had to pay a number of large bills in the last few weeks. I think most of my family and those I celebrate Christmas with are in the same boat as well, so it’s a bit of an agreement that Christmas this year will be quieter and less frivolous.”

Lisa-Anne Campbell, age 46 from Hertfordshire, said she has been setting aside money over the past few months so her two young children don’t see the Grinch this holiday. She told Which? that increased energy costs coupled with food inflation meant she’ll cut out gifts to friends and other relatives this year.

“I have also cut back on Christmas costs by buying second-hand gifts, refurbished electronics, and shopping during the Black Friday sales”, she said.

‘The cost of everything has increased’

Still, the holiday won’t exactly be Dickensian for many. Which? found some people who said they’d spend more, though that may be a result of higher prices rather than an all-out seasonal spree.

One man, age 59 from Scotland, said: “I’m spending more because the cost of everything has increased. From prices of items to postage. I’m not buying any more than previous years either but it’s still more expensive.”