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NI RESIDENTS SACRIFICING FOOD, HEAT AND ELECTRIC TO AFFORD CHRISTMAS

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Survey shows 75% of people think this Christmas will be the most expensive yet

A new survey by CompareNI.com has shown people in Northern Ireland are cutting down on heating, electricity and food in order to pay for Christmas this year.

Half of those surveyed admitted to being worried about being able to afford Christmas this year with 75% believing this will be the most expensive Christmas yet.

34% of people said they were reducing any or all luxuries to afford Christmas, while nearly a quarter said that they had to forgo heating. Others said they had to go without streaming subscriptions (22%), food (12%) and electricity (6%).

Recent data has predicted the average spending per head for people in Northern Ireland during the Christmas period in 2023 will be around £700.*  Our survey found that a quarter of people exceeded this, claiming they will spend over £1000.

There are many money saving tips consumers can do to help cut the cost of Christmas this year. From reviewing direct debits and cancelling any non-essentials, researching Christmas gifts by checking competitor prices, and using apps that allow you to pay for gifts in instalments.  It is important however to read all the associated terms and conditions.

Commenting on the figures, Ian Wilson, Managing Director of CompareNI.com said: “Many households across Northern Ireland are struggling with the cost-of-living right now, and it’s disheartening that so many are having to forgo everyday essentials just to get by this Christmas.

“As three quarters of people here believe this will be the most expensive Christmas yet, there are a number of things that may be able to help them cut costs. Checking how competitive suppliers are for bills such as gas, electricity, phone, and internet can uncover savings – switching or renegotiating may help to get extra cash this Christmas.

“Other alternatives such as checking online voucher discount sites when buying presents, spreading the cost with third-party apps when buying online and selling unused items and clothing could help the money go further.

“These may seem like simple changes, but all the small things add up and could help make a difference this Christmas.”

CompareNI.com’s 10 ways to save for Christmas:

1.    Check how competitive your suppliers are – across gas, electricity, phone and internet and see if there are savings to be had from switching or renegotiating.

2.   Review all direct debits and cancel any non-essentials you can live without this month.

3.   Do your research on Christmas gifts by checking out reviews and customer feedback, checking competitor prices, delivery charges and timings – some stores and third party apps allow you to spread the cost if you need a little more time to pay – just be careful to read the terms, late payments often have hefty fees.

4.   If you have particular retail outlets or ecommerce sites in mind for your Christmas shopping, consider signing up for their mailing lists – many retailers offer exclusive discount codes for their subscribers.

5.   Check online voucher discount sites to see if any extra discounts are applicable.

6.   Also many sites have rewards offers so you could be in for further savings.

7.   Explore relatively inexpensive energy saving tips for your house such as draft excluders, window seals and energy efficient lighting.

8.   Check what deals are available for credit cards, there could be an opportunity for people with good credit histories to transfer their balances to a new 0% APR credit card – note there is normally a time limit here before the interest rate starts to rise.

9.   Look to make extra cash by selling any unused items and clothes online, there are lots of handy apps that help you repurpose items easily.

10.  Don’t just auto-renew insurance policies – use price comparison websites to shop around and make sure you’re not over or under insured by checking the policy details are actually what you need.

CompareNI.com helps households find savings on all sorts of products such as home, pet and travel insurance

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