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‘Deck the halls’ with bargains and discounts!

Christmas gifts
Image by pix4free.org

Staff Writer Karissa Sweetland-Laube takes a look at the reasons we may need to tighten our purse strings this Christmas and what we can do to account for it.

The most wonderful time of the year! As weather cools, and hearts warm collectively, the most anticipated annual celebration comes knocking on the doors of millions of Brits. Christmas is at the heart of the festive season. Whether celebrated for religious beliefs, a communal observation of charitable values, or simply spending time with family, for many this tradition signposts a season of well-deserved retail therapy. However, in recent years tidings and joy may be replaced with anxiety and stress, with the current economic climate, stretching household incomes. The extent at which financial restraints affect general enjoyment of Christmas could be largely related to choices made to further affordability and value. Now is the perfect time to take to arms with bargains and discount codes, coupons and student value deals.

Since 2021 economic depression, the ‘cost of living crisis’ has stricken the population mercilessly, predominantly damaging lower economic classes. The prominence of inflation in today’s society is partially due to relevant economic and political conflicts such as; the global recuperation from COVID-19, Russo-Ukrainian war, and Brexit.

The augmentation of food and energy prices have placed a striking strain on society. In 2022 inflation rates rose by 9.2%, comparable to September 2023 which displayed an inflation rate of 6.3%, a figure stagnant since August.  The consumer price index (CPIH) in 2022 exhibited the fastest rate in 40 years. Whilst there was a slight decrease in CPIH from 2022 the figure remains elevated.

The effect of inflation is also demonstrated on the rising prices of typical household goods: 7% annual growth of beef roasting joint (per/kg),17% annual growth of pork sausages (per/kg), 25% annual growth of hot chocolate drink (250g-400g), 14% annual growth of Vodka (70cl), 7% annual growth of Champagne (75cl).

Subsequently, approximately 2/3 of adults are reportedly reducing expenditure on items considered non-essential. The reduced desire to spend on expendable items is mirrored by the diminution of retail sales volumes in September 2023, a recorded drop of 0.9%.

This is undoubtably evidence, that deceptively slight differences can accumulate to burden budgets. There is a considerable strain on many, despite the Government’s attempt to support household income through investing in support measures.

Gifts, decorative purchases, and festive foods are all costs which arguably amplify a sense of satisfaction during Christmas, at the expense of escalated spending. Conceivably, these are manifestations of consumerist trends. Products are often marketed toward audiences projecting an idea of accentuated fulfilment once acquired. However, the current hyper-awareness concerning monetary choices will most likely affect many shoppers’ resolution when it comes to buying gifts this Christmas period. Achieving greater value for money whilst maintaining successful gift exchanges will be at the heart of customer intention.

In this sea of uncertainty finding a lifeboat of sustainability is important. Uncovering solutions to an impenetrable issue is significant in staying afloat. Budgeting and tracking spendings can be valuable methods to boost savings. Making lists decreases impulsivity when shopping and is a straightforward way to discriminate between ‘wants and needs’. Additionally, using student discounting apps such as Unidays and Student Beans increases affordability. E-Retailers such as Amazon offer a free 6-month trial including free delivery and student offers. Similarly exclusive student discounts are advertised by retailers such as: Asos, Waterstones, Bershka, JD, Mac cosmetics, Boots, Superdrug, and many more. Apps with environmental initiatives such as ‘Too good to go’ are not only greater value for money but also an eco-friendly manner of obtaining discounted food. ‘Black Friday’ season specials are now more than ever advertised as a more efficient method of saving pennies.

For many Christmas has become increasingly challenging which could result in a foreseeable shift to money-saving alternatives and schemes.

The craftiness of Christmas could for many become its essence by discovering ways of stretching a thinning budget. Making the most of the holidays despite a smaller wallet is a silver lining in economic precarity.

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