Festive season or not, our spending won’t be changing that much

By Nina Steele 

Spending during the festive seasonStories of people getting into debt this time of the year, is one I cannot get my head around. Of course it is easy for me to say, as a childfree person who also happens to live frugally. Living frugally is among the many things my husband and I agree on. We only buy things that we really need and that applies to the festive season as well.

Conspicuous consumption is something I have grown to dislike and my husband feels the same. It is obvious to see why. So many people are drowning in debt for reasons of vanity. Mortgage debt is one thing, debt incurred through living an extravagant lifestyle is another.

It was recently reported that in the UK, the average debt per household is over £15,000, mortgage not included. A lot of people are getting these loans from loan sharks because the banks won’t lend to them. I remember a former work colleague, she was a mother of two on a meagre salary. Yet she was proud to tell us all that she spent at least £1000 on each of her children at Christmas. I remember her justifying this by saying that she had to, because she didn’t want her children to be the odd ones out. I remember breathing a sigh of relief that I would never be under that kind of pressure.

Childfree or not, we could have still been one of those people in debt had we not chosen to adopt a simple lifestyle. We used to give each other presents at Christmas but stopped a while ago. I can’t remember exactly when it happened, all I know is that it is no longer a subject of discussion for us.

As an economic system, capitalism relies on people buying more, particularly during this time of year. It’s not a surprise that retailers make most of their money in the run-up to Christmas. We are all expected to just spend and think later.

Another advantage of not buying into the hype during this time of the year, is that in addition to not overspending, you also avoid being overstressed. Whenever I read stories of people feeling overly stressed during this time of the year, I breathe another sigh of relief. It is an obvious fact that not having children is one reason why we have it easy. But more importantly is the fact that we are choosing to live a quiet life throughout the year.

Spending during the festive season

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