Christmas saving starting in July, says Monkstown butcher
Customers began saving up for their Christmas dinner earlier than ever this year because of the cost of living crisis, according to Co Antrim butcher Raymond Millar.
Mr Millar, owner of The Butchers shop in Monkstown, Newtownabbey, normally launches his Christmas club in September but told the BBC he had brought the date forward to July this year.
Wholesale energy prices and food prices have risen sharply in recent months because of the war in Ukraine.
Higher inflation is having a significant impact on household budgets, especially those on low incomes who are struggle to pay for essential items.
“We’re all going through the same scenario at the minute with the cost of living – diesel, electric, gas, food – everything is going up through the roof,” Mr Millar said.
He said there has been demand from customers who want to ensure they can provide a family dinner on 25 December.
“They want to join the Christmas club or get money saved so they can buy one of the hampers,” he explained.
“So therefore, whenever they come in to collect it on the week of Christmas, everything is completely paid for so it makes it easier for them that they know that their traditional Christmas dinner is going to be on the table for their family.”
“I try not to do it too early because people want to get their summer holidays over first before they start thinking about Christmas, whereas now people are starting to think about Christmas during their summer holidays,” Mr Millar said.
“And then they’ve got school uniforms at the end of this month to look forward to.”
The butcher also said he had noticed a recent trend in customers buying cheaper cuts of meat to make their household finances stretch further.