Wednesday 26th October 2016                 Change text size:

Christmas shoppers turn to charity shops as budgets remain squeezed

Charity shop - Howard Lake via Flickr

Almost half the population will be considering charity shops when it comes to buying Christmas presents this year, a survey has revealed, which labels constrained household budgets and underemployment as the main drivers.

The research, which was conducted by free debt management company Payplan, also found that over a third of people don’t save up for Christmas, with many choosing to spend on credit cards instead.

Jason Eaves, director at Payplan, said, “Families on a low income operate on tight household budgets and are therefore more susceptible to debt becoming a problem. However many middle income families are being impacted by a long-term squeeze on their budgets and underemployment is more prevalent.”

Payplan has received over 40,000 calls for help in the past 12 months. The postcodes of the calls location were analysed along with the number of charity shops in the area. The research suggests that it isn’t just people who are struggling financially who buy from charity shops. Instead many shoppers are using charity shops as a cheaper alternative to traditional retailers.

Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Guide to Sustainable Spending looked at how shoppers can be ethical with their purchases, including shopping locally and making charitable donations.

Concerns have also been raised that people will turn to payday lenders to help cover costs during the festive period. A study by the Money Advice Service found that over 1 million people are planning to use a payday lender to pay for Christmas purchases. Thirty-two per cent also stated that they will work up credit card debts in the run up, and worryingly, 9% admitted that had yet to pay off what they owe from last year.

Payday lenders have been accused of preying on poorer households. Figures released by Ofgem revealed that almost 400,000 adverts for the controversial companies were shown on TV in 2012.

The government announced in November that it will introduce new legislation to cap the cost of taking out a payday loan.

Further reading:

1 million Britons to use payday loans for Christmas spending

Government to introduce legislation to curb payday loans

Payday lenders ‘prey on poorer households’, says Citizen’s Advice

Is it alright to shop ‘til you drop?

Guide to Sustainable Spending 2013

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