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Christmas on a shoestring. Survey shows Brits are cutting back

Coin jarThe economic crisis threatening to engulf the country has led to three out of four households vowing to spend less money than usual this Christmas, in a bid to avoid getting into debt, according to the latest research.

The study carried out by the Co-Op, revealed that the traditional splashing out over the festive period is likely to be far more restrained than usual this year, news which is likely to dismay struggling retailers, who had been hoping for a buoyant period to keep them afloat.

The yearly Christmas spending survey which the Co-Op carries out showed that this year consumers are planning on making deep cutbacks in a variety of areas. More than one in two of those asked – 55% – said they would be buying fewer presents than usual, but the primary areas which would see fewer pennies spent are going out, party outfits and gifts for friends.

However, the survey did uncover one area which very few people said they would be skimping on, despite the state of their finances: Christmas dinner. It seems that for most households, fewer presents is fine, but less roast potatoes and Christmas cake is a step too far.

The chief of the retail banking operation of Co-Op, John Hughes, said that the results demonstrated the trend for consumers to take ‘more responsibility and control over their money in tough economic times.’

But whilst most Brits are desperately trying to economise and cut back in all areas to try and free up some cash, another study has suggested that the majority are not considering saving money on their mortgage, despite the number of deals currently on the market.

The research carried out by Barclays, showed that more than one in two of Brits who are trying to cut their outgoings had never remortgaged, unless they were purchasing a new property. But in the sample interviewed, more than nine out of ten homeowners – 92% – said they were actively trying to reduce their expenditure.

The survey also found that the average amount of time spent in each property was around 16 years, meaning that those who do not consider remortgaging unless moving, could be spending a significant chunk of time paying out over the odds unnecessarily.

Two thousand individuals were questioned for the study and 76% said they spent anything up to three hours every single month trying to squeeze the last penny out of their finances and work out how to make their money go further. Yet despite the monthly deliberations, 58% said they had never thought about remortgaging as a way of reducing their outgoings.

However, it is hardly surprising that house moves only take place every 16 years on average, if the results from conveyancing specialists, In-Deed, are to be believed.

The online firm surveyed 200 people who have been involved in either buying or selling a property in the last quarter and found that the majority suffered significantly due to the stress involved.

In fact, the researchers estimated that the pressure of being involved in the house buying or selling process is so significant, an individual can be aged by two years, simply from the stress of the transaction.

The survey found that two out of three people who had bought or sold a home in the last three months agreed that the stress of the process had made them look or feel older. Common complaints that the pressure led to included loss of hair, reduced sex drive and short term memory difficulties.

Harry Hill, the co-founder of the firm, described conveyancing as ‘tedious, time-consuming and frustrating’ and said that the results of the study were ‘no surprise.’

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