Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas - the season to be jolly? by Margaret Collins

Here's a timely article by Margaret Collins, one of the wealth coaches at The Money Gym. Their blog, is one of my favourites and always worth checking out.

Christmas can be many things - a great family occasion, a time to celebrate or something to endure. For many it is an opportunity - or an excuse to escape to sun or to snow.

With each Brit spending an astonishing £2,200.48 - that's the average spend over the festive season last year, it can also be a financial nightmare.

Cornhill Direct's survey of 4,000 people revealed that £693.05 a year is spent on presents for loved ones, £337.27 on presents for friends, whilst £45.45 on people such as neighbours, tradesman and the postman.

Now while it's great to be generous, a third of people go into debt for Christmas in a bid to make it the best year ever. Personally I have different definitions and aspirations for my best year yet!

Twenty per cent of people are still trying to clear the debt by March and 10% are still in debt by the next Christmas. Does this sound familiar???

We're also pretty good, on average, of eating and drinking our way into debt spending £269.48 on food and £180.24 on alcohol - that's a collective total of £449.72 a year but all within a couple of weeks! (Thank goodness nobody has yet calculated the calorific content of our consumption or I'd be really scared.)

I've no intention of "doing a Scrooge" here. In the middle of winter there are pretty good reasons for wanting to celebrate something and have a good time - just try to make sure you don't have to live with unpleasant consequences for months afterwards. Whether it's debt on the credit card or inches on your hips - it can be so easy to put on and so difficult to lose!

As sure as the sun rises at dawn, the sales will be upon us as retailers try desperately to part us from our money. By now you've missed the boat so far as shopping early goes so wait until you get the bargain. Shop online so as to get the best price - and be tempted less by the impulse buy. I can't imagine a friend worth having who would wish you going into debt to fund their flashy Christmas present.

If you're looking for something different why not try that ethical Christmas gift - a dozen ducks or two small goats can make a world of difference to a family in the developing world - really the difference between life and death - and you still get a really great card to give to your friend. (Apparently someone has used my Christmas gift to feed 30 schoolchildren???!!!)

Remember enlightened millionaires live in integrity - and still have fun.

Here's hoping you attract all you need and most of what you want!

No comments: