Can we talk about Christmas? I think we must at this stage of the year. For most of us it is only two more paydays away. How many of us though will be relying on credit cards and other loans to see us through the expense of the festive season?
This year there seems to be a backlash against the massive and at times unnecessary expense of Christmas. Money guru Martin Lewis has been on television encouraging us to ditch the tat and stop buying presents for the sake of it.
It’s not just Christmas presents that we are being told to get a grip on. As we are now so aware plastic is such as problem that in places we are literally drowning in it. Consumerism is such a large part of our lives that we think nothing of buying new clothes even if we have a wardrobe full of unworn garments.
Fast fashion has been a problem for a number of years now. Once new clothing was a treat; something you saved up for and then cherished. Now clothes are made cheaply thousands of miles away and shipped round the globe to the UK.
So much of this is about appearances. Before Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you could wear the same outfit to a number of events. If the guest list was different for each one then nobody would know you weren’t wearing something new. Now it’s different. Before you go, while you are there and once you get home those selfies you took let the whole world see what you have been up to even if they weren’t there in person. If you can buy cheap you can buy twice and never be seen in the same clothes.
It’s not just cheap clothes that are to blame. You don’t see the glamourous cast of the multitude of reality programmes on TV wearing dresses that cost under £20. It’s designer all the way and that is never going to be cheap. So we’re back to the things we can’t afford but want to have and the debts mount up.
There’s also the ‘present piles’. It doesn’t matter what is wrapped in that sparkly paper or placed in the brightly coloured bags. What counts is the size of the pile. After all if you can’t do your own recreation of Dudley Dursley’s birthday you’re not a good parent are you?
The solution is simple then – stop with the spending and we will all be better off. It’s not as simple as that. What happens if we all stop or cut our spending dramatically? Even more of what has been happening over the years – shops close, jobs are lost forever and our high streets look even more like ghost towns. Remember each of those individuals who are let go have bills to pay just to get by each day. I won’t even start on those small businesses started by individuals as their life’s dream.
So my early Christmas message to you is keep spending but buy thoughtfully.