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Let Santa Be The Only One In The Red This Xmas

Many of us get caught up in the unnecessary expense of the Christmas season. It is so easy to forget that Christmas is not about costly gifts and putting yourself under extra financial pressure – it is about enjoying time with family and friends.  So wisely state THURLES CREDIT UNION, who today have launched their annual Christmas campaign – Let Santa be the only one in the red this Christmas.

The campaign urges those in the Thurles area in particular, to avoid borrowing way beyond their means & thus avoid “a sack full of debt,” in the New Year.

To coincide with the launch of the campaign, THURLES CREDIT UNION have published the results of an Irish League of Credit Union (ILCU) survey on Christmas spending.


Finances / Spending

Irish consumers expect to spend €527 on average this Christmas compared to €562 last year. Middle age adults and females are likely to spend more money than other groups.

The ILCU Christmas survey shows that 8 in 10 Irish adults feel worse about their financial situation in the run up to Christmas 2012. However, 58% state that Christmas will be enjoyable regardless of financial worries.

Four in Ten persons will be able to rely on their regular income to pay for Christmas related costs, a further four in ten will dip into savings to finance their Christmas celebrations. 19% hold savings specifically for Christmas, 5% will use their credit card, 5% will get a credit union loan, 2% will borrow from family and friends and a further 2% will borrow from moneylenders.

Christmas Debt / Overspending

More than half of consumers (56%) expect to experience a shortfall in spending over the Christmas. Some 25% believe that they will end up paying for Christmas well into the New Year because of unnecessary financial expense. Some 31% worry where they will get the money to pay for extra expenses for Christmas.

Seven  in Ten consumers will take a month or more to recover from overspending at Christmas. Consequently it will take on average of 2 months for a typical consumer to recover financially from the holiday season. Male consumers are likely to recover more quickly (7 weeks) than their female counterparts (9 weeks).

Shopping / Value

Approximately 71% will do their Christmas shopping in the Republic of Ireland. A further 3 in 10 will do their Christmas shopping outside of the Republic of Ireland (female consumers are more likely to shop abroad than males), with Northern Ireland (11%) and the UK (9%) being the most popular destinations outside of the Republic.

About 45% of consumers in general show negative sentiment towards perceived value for money in high street shops in Ireland.

Shopping Online

Six in ten (61%) plan to shop on-line for gifts this Christmas. Better value is the primary reason behind almost half (47%) of those intending to buy on-line, followed by convenience and better choice.

Christmas shopping commenced earlier this year when compared to last year. 70% of consumers start their Christmas shopping before December (up from 64% last year). Over 34% have already started shopping (before November). Some 30% plan to commence their shopping for Christmas gifts in December. Female shoppers appear to be much more organised than males in terms of planning for Christmas.

With money being tight, there is a strong belief that Irish people spend way too much money on Christmas and 45% believe that Christmas can be a stressful time.

Michael Harty, Loans & Marketing Officer at THURLES CREDIT UNION states: “It has been a hard year for the population and Christmas can be a stressful time for many. However, our annual Christmas survey has found that in 2012 the majority of people have said that Christmas will be enjoyable despite financial worries.
We all need to remember that Christmas really is about giving…..not robbing the family finances. People can be savvy when it comes to shopping at this time of year. For example, starting early to avoiding getting caught up in ‘panic buying’ can really help keep costs low and provide the family member sufficient time to search for the best deal. Online can be great for locating some great value but remember to avoid expensive, last-minute courier costs which can drive prices up.
Setting a Christmas spending budget is more important now than ever as is writing a list this will allow people to be in a better position to keep a tight rein on the Christmas shopping costs. Avoid moneylenders and consider that if you cannot afford to pay without a loan, you simply cannot afford it.

Thurles Credit Union’s Top 12 Tips To Get People Through Christmas 2012

1:      Budget, Budget, Budget. Plan how much you can afford to spend – and stick to it.
2:      Make a list. Decide what you’re going to buy in advance. Decide in the store and you’ll spend more!
3:      Pay with cash where possible. Avoid loans, credit cards, store cards, catalogues and money lenders – they’ll cost you more.
4:      If you borrow be sensible. Borrow where the interest is right…..not on your doorstep!
5:      Compare prices. Before you buy, compare online and between shops. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
6:      Use trustworthy vendors. Buy from reputable websites and check they guarantee delivery before Christmas.
7:      Check for Sales. Many shops will have sales before Christmas. Ask around, maybe you could get those presents for less!
8:      Interest Free Deals. Look for interest-free deals when buying furniture or electrical goods, but make sure to compare prices.
9:      Christmas Clubs. Joining a Christmas club or buying a few savings stamps will help you now, it will also get you into the habit for next year.
10:    Read the small print. If you borrow or enter into a buy-now-pay-later deal, be careful. Some lenders will penalise you for paying it back early or, if you do not pay it within the interest free period, you could be subject to hefty interest payments.
11:    Under pressure? Talk to us first. Suffering from debt stress? Already owe money lenders? Contact Thurles Credit Union to discuss your options.
12:     Friends and Family are priceless. It’s easy to say but it’s still true – the best gift at Christmas is being together – and that costs nothing. Many families do Kris Kringle or Secret Santa gifts. Some families only give gifts to children. There are many ways of saving money without taking away the seasons magic.

Thurles Credit Union would like to take this early opportunity to wish everyone a Safe, Happy and Healthy Christmas Season, latter wishes to be continued into the year ahead.


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