The Cost Of Christmas 2012

Long gone are the days when a few stocking fillers like chocolate, sweets and the odd novelty toy would suffice. Christmas now has us all stretching ourselves and our bank balances to the very limit every year trying to buy our children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces and friends the toys they want.

The price of toys seems to creep up too getting more and more expensive each year. If you cast your mind back to when you were children, if you were an 80/90’s baby the chances are you’re Christmas lists were full of things like tamagotchis, power rangers, space boots, cabbage patch kids, Action Men, Barbie’s… the list was endless but at least they were a tad cheaper, check out these toys that have made a comeback in recent years:

Blast from the Past:

The Furby hit the UK shelves for the first time in 1998, seeing parents up and down the country flocking to the shops to purchase these Furbies for £24. The Furby craze was huge with over 40 million being sold in the first three years of production. Jump forward to 2012 ad the Furby is back and carrying with it a hefty price tag! This year the Furby is retailing at anything from £59.99 and upwards, easily reaching over £100 in some stores!

Lego, ok so lego has never gone away, but every year the designs and packages get more and more elaborate and more and more pricey. In the 1980’s/90’s you could pick up a lego set of an airport equipped with aircrafts and buildings, or lego towns, lego hospitals all for around £25. But as the film industry grew so did the need for bigger and better lego sets, from Harry Potter to Indiana Jones. And this year is no exception, one set that may be adorning many little boys lists this Christmas is the Lego Lord of the Rings – Battle of Helm’s Deep, retailing at around £70!

This year, parents, relatives and friends are expected to spend more than £1 billion on gifts this Christmas – making us Brits the biggest toy buyers in Europe!

But Who’s To Blame?

Is it the children? But they don’t know any better… the parents? Or is it advertising and media pressures? Whatever the reason Christmas is getting more and more expensive each year with parents feeling the need to outdo or at least match last year presents! And… the retail industry are loving it, for many shops and online stores the run up to Christmas is their busiest time, the time of year where they can really make a profit and boost sales.

Shopping Around:

We all know that in order to save as much money as we can at Christmas we have to shop around and find the cheapest price. Easy – you just jump on the internet and search for your gift, right? Wrong! This year consumers have noticed a real fluctuation in prices not just on a weekly basis but daily price changes. Figures show that certain products change by the hour, fluctuating as much as 10% as retailers try to stay afloat in a very competitive market.

But it’s not just those retailers who are trying to ensure their prices are the cheapest, that could work in the favour of the consumers, there are also companies who are bumping up the prices on products that are in high demand like the Furby. Really popular toys are being sold for as much as £30 more than their recommended price with third party sellers regularly changing their prices depending on supply and demand.

Where Does this Leave the Consumer?

This really comes down to personal choice and financial situations. The most important thing people can do is plan for the festive season; we all know it’s going to be a tough financial time so saving is essential. And if saving isn’t possible perhaps cutting down on your budget or even taking out a loan could be the answer, providing you’re confident you can pay it off in the New Year.

Whatever you decide, make sure you remember what Christmas is truly about, spending time with loved ones, relaxing and eating way too much!

This post was written by Meredith Watts on behalf of Aspire Money, providers of bad credit loans which can relieve your money troubles and help you make the most of the festive season.

Please remember to read all risk statements and consider if the Representative APR is appropriate for your needs before entering into any loan arrangement or you can obtain the OFT booklet “Think before you borrow” by following this link http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/consumer_leaflets/credit/oft319.pdf