| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth


These last couple of weeks I’ve been living in a tiredness and stress related fog-like state.

Had to do the last of my teaching and the later in the semester it is, the more it takes out of me.

Marking has started coming in; and of course it has to be done promptly and marks published before the student-customer gets impatient.

To top it all, last Monday I came down with the flu that goes with bad headache and a bundle of pain.

But even I noticed that:

  • People have been asking what I am doing for Christmas; and
  • Christmas jingles are polluting my favourite radio station.

Most of all, I went to the city centre to have my haircut and the shops were so full that I half expected ambulances to come and collect the victims of involuntary suffocation.

Given that we are still in recession; unemployment though getting better is still fairly high; and the level of debt in the UK is at a record high (on average, £28,000 ($45,700) per adult) made me curious.

Since ‘geeky’ is reputedly the new ‘s*xy’, I engaged in some casual empiricism.

This is what I found.

According to a study conducted by YouGov this year UK households expect to spend on average £822 ($1,343) on Christmas.

Of this on:

  • gift Brits expect to spend £599 ($979);
  • food and drink £180 ($295); and
  • decorations £43 ($70).

At the same time, another study conducted by SurveyCompare found that:

  • Nearly half of the people contacted were worried about the cost of celebrating Christmas this year; one in five people are extremely worried;
  • Almost half feel pressured to spend more than they can afford;
  • One in four people said they’ll be using their overdraft facility to pay for Christmas; more worryingly, one in ten would consider taking out a payday loan to finance Christmas;

Last but not least, according to a study byGumtree.com the average UK adult can expect to receive at least two unwanted gifts for Christmas costing about £43 ($70).

So let me see whether I can get this one right.

This year for Christmas – just like many previous years – most of us intend to spend large amounts of money, they generally don’t have mainly on gifts people don’t need, want or like.

Am I the only one who thinks that there is something wrong here?

How much do you estimate you’ll spend for Christmas this year and on what? Is the spend pushing you in debt?

And I may as well answer first:

I have spent/am going to spend about £230 ($376) on Christmas and New Year. This includes gifts for sons and John (practical things I know they need), nice food and several outstanding bottles of wine. One ought to get their priorities right, after all :). No debt; you know my opinion of that.

photo credit: mohammadali via photopin cc