Why I'm cutting back this Christmas time
With Christmas just around the corner, Jeremy King suggests that the gathering economic storm clouds mean it's time to make sure you avoid a financial hangover this festive period.
It's nearly 2011, and I'm not optimistic about the new year. With, rising inflation, public sector spending cuts, the spectre of increased unemployment and a new Irish -ed eurozone crisis. It's not the time to be heading deeper into debt.
With a VAT hike round the corner there is a real threat of a double dip recession. This will have a direct impact on you.
Yes the banker may be seeing his bonus return but for the teacher, the clerical worker, the pensioner and the taxi driver the prospect is one of rising prices and a generally tougher climate.
It's time to take stock and consider the steps you can take now to make the next 12 months as comfortable as possible. Start by returning to old fashioned values - don't spend what you don't have, cut your debts, start to save.
Just how much will you spend at Christmas? Is it £500 a £1000 pounds, more? Whatever the level it's within your grasp to cut that amount or the debts you will build- if you act fast.
Do you really need a new HD TV, or an upgrade to your Sky TV package? You can cut back on presents, make do with last year's decorations, buy the cheapest wrapping paper you possibly can, wear last year's party clothes.
This year my wife's family have agreed to draw names and buy presents for just one other family group, setting a maximum price level. We'll be drinking sparkling wine, not champagne and we'll go for a frozen not fresh turkey. We believe we can save hundreds of pounds and have no practical impact on our enjoyment of Christmas.
Christmas is a wonderful time for families and feeling even a bit less financially exposed as you go into 2011 will bring peace of mind. This year more than any other you don't want the festive hangover to be a financial one.