'Secret Santa' could keep Christmas costs down

By UK CreditCards.com

Britons have been adopting a more frugal attitude in recent months and it seems their approach to Christmas 2011 will be no different. New research from credit card provider American Express suggests consumers will be using a range of tricks to keep costs down, such as the 'Secret Santa' approach to gift buying.

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Majority keen to cut Christmas costs
Consumers have been tightening their belts since the start of the economic downturn and many are reluctant to spend more than necessary over the forthcoming festive period. New research from American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card, conducted by 72 Point/One Poll among 2,000 UK adults, found that the majority of people will be keeping an eye on their spending this Christmas.

Two-thirds (68%) of respondents said they would agree a financial limit on presents with their loved ones this year, while 38% plan to ask for a specific present in order to avoid unwanted gifts. A crafty 23% of people, in turn, will be saving money by making their own gifts this Christmas.

'Secret Santa' on the increase
The survey also suggests that the 'Secret Santa' approach, which is commonly used in offices and other workplaces, will become more widespread this year. One in four respondents to the American Express poll said they planned to select just one member of their family or friends to be the recipient of a gift.

Julie Hay, head of credit cards at American Express, said that this year appears to be "the year of tactical gifting". She pointed out that many families' finances are stretched and that people are therefore making strategic choices about presents.

Ms Hay also recommended that consumers consider a more savvy approach to the way in which they complete their purchases. For instance, those who typically pay off their credit card balances in full may benefit from doing their spending on a cashback credit card. This type of card, which has become more popular in recent months, gives people the chance to recoup some of their expenditure, leaving them with a little reward to kick off 2012.

See related: Study: Nearly half of Brits haven't saved for the holidays; Store card spending drops by 20%

Published: 14 November 2011