With only one day until Christmas Eve, have shoppers in Britain forgotten their fears of a credit crunch, falling house prices and higher inflation?
According to Jace Tyrrell, spokesman for retailers in Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street in London, sales on Saturday in London exceeded expectations.
"Everyone seems to have left it to the last minute to buy their Christmas presents", Mr Tyrrell said.
Some retailers said this weekend was "their busiest in the year".
What about our four Christmas shoppers whose objective was to budget well and cut off in their festive spending? Did they make it?
Read about their original plans here
TRACY HOLLAND, TEAN, STAFFORDSHIRE, 42
We've been able to keep to our initial budget for the most part. This is a first for us.
There weren't any real unforeseen expenses; my daughter Beth wanted to buy her best friend a present. But we managed to buy her a little gift without spending too much.
Next year we'll be prepared by getting a few little girly bits in the sales. Taking all this into consideration, and by making savings in other areas, we only overspent by £20; this is a real record for us.
I have been extremely stressed, though. But this is more down to the amount of people crowding into the shops and the general mayhem than anything else.
I've loved the comments left by other readers, and found the remarks by Matthew Field of Aldershot - who says that, without a pay rise, he will have to wrap one or two lumps of coal, in used newspapers - very funny.
All in all this has been a good experience for me to take part in. Anyway, I've now got present wrapping to do and so I will sign off and wish you a very merry Christmas and wonderful 2008.
MATT DAVIES, 19, WORCESTER
As I predicted, I have gone over my budget for December. My budget was £200 and, including all Christmas presents, I have spent £300.
This means that I am now £100 overdrawn and we are only halfway through the month!
I did not have any unforeseen expenses, however it is fair to say that at the end of a University term, I spent far more on nights out than a normal month. This, combined with Christmas presents, has meant that being £100 overdrawn is good.
However, this will surely get worse, as I will be going out on Christmas Eve, etc.
I do feel fairly happy on the run-up to Christmas. I would have been far happier if I had been able to buy my friends and family more expensive presents.
It is fair to say that I do feel rather stingy, but given the fact that I have no budget at all for spending on Christmas presents, I am sure they will understand.
Some of the readers who have commented on the article have said that they purchased presents early on in the year. This would not really have worked for me, because money is tight every month and the CDs and DVDs would not be current by the time Christmas came.
Others have said that Christmas is a time for family. I agree, however if others have brought me presents, I have to return the favour and, being on a tight budget, it is nice to get presents at Christmas.
KERRIANN MCLACKLAND, 30s, WOOTTON BASSETT
I am pleased to report that we have kept to a budget with our Christmas spending so far.
We've now bought all the presents and food and been to the parties.
The only unforeseen expenditure we have encountered is that we had to buy wine to take to the family we are visiting as our loyalty card vouchers didn't arrive in time for us to use those as planned.
However, this expense has been offset by the savings that we have made on presents as there are so many sales and discounts available both online and on the high street.
This last week running up to Christmas has been fun and relaxed, as we had our preparations completed although I've gone down with my annual "winter bug", which I always seem to get the minute work pressure eases a little.
We're all looking forward to a lovely Christmas, especially after today when work is finished until the New Year. Hurray!
ANNE GALL, 63, PORT TALBOT
I am looking forward to Christmas Day, but the run-up this week has been hectic, trying to get everything ready and sorted.
I ended up spending £300. I got my daughter, son and son-in-law £25 each in gift vouchers for their favourite clothes shop. I also got stocking fillers for them, they came to £20, I got a lot for my money as I went to Poundland.
I got wine for the four adult friends this year, rather than buying them more expensive gifts as I have done in the past. My family will each receive a DVD which I got without any cost, as I got them using vouchers I had won.
I finally spent £70 on the food, and the wine and beer have been supplied by my daughter and son- in-law. So I managed to end up with £75 in my pocket.
I did have to use the credit card for an unexpected expense. My hoover packed up on me. I really could have done without the extra expense on the Christmas period!
But being a widow and a pensioner, this has been the best year but also the first one in which I have budgeted for things, rather than spend willy-nilly. I will try to do it again next year.
Read a selection of your comments on this story:
Yep, we have stuck to our 'budget' this year! - we have had to very much so because due to the 'credit crunch' - I was made redundant two weeks ago(I worked as a Mortgage Sub-Prime Underwriter), with only one weeks pay(no redundancy due to the fact I worked there for 1yr 11mnth & not two year), 50% of my colleges went also. Luckily my partner works - and has put in as much overtime as possible over the last couple of weeks so we can have a fantastic Christmas period with our 5 year daughter. We have spent all our money on her & beautiful food. I can't wait to have time together & eat well! - That's all its about, being close to those you love & love you.// As for the job - well I've put a few apps in & probably many more in the new year*
Yes I did manage to stick to my budget this Christmas, I normally buy all the Christmas cards and wrapping paper in the January Sales and then round about either September or October I then start thinking about doing my Christmas shopping.
I first start off by buying the least expensive gifts then I really buy the expensive gifts round about November but I don't use a debit card I use good old fashioned cash instead & I have found that a lot easier. Yes I was right on schedule with my budget.
Amanda Cerasale, Watford Herts
We have 3 children plus lots of family to buy for, we don't set a budget as such we just usually get what the children ask for, we don't spoil them over the year by buying latest things that have just come out so at Christmas we like to splash out a bit. We spend approximately 300 per child and then we have parents, nieces, and brothers and sisters to buy for. along with our good budget we have spent approximately 2 thousand pounds on this Christmas and although this seems a lot this has been done out of our own salaries and not one bit of this has come from credit cards or loans etc we start buying around October time and have just finished a couple of days ago. we don't buy must haves through the year although we do treat the kids now and again but they appreciate Christmas all the more as they don't get much in year. Although the money we spend on Christmas would get us a second holiday a year we feel it's nice to be able to buy nice things and be a little bit more extravagant than usual. We are looking forward to a lovely family Christmas and new year with our children who are 17, 8 and 10 months old and although we have struggled the past few months to us it is worth it.
Michelle, Rotherham, South Yorkshire
We have a budget of sorts - my youngest daughter's birthday is 21st Dec and my wife's is 29th Dec, so it can become expensive!
We buy cards and wrapping paper in the post Christmas sales and my wife saves £5-10 per week though the year so we have a 'lump' sum in December. As my job means I work away a lot and therefore do a lot of miles, I have managed to get upwards of £50 of supermarket vouchers from fuel purchases and 000's of points through a hotel chain reward scheme, which meant that I managed to redeem points for wine and Amazon vouchers. We've also bought items throughout the year so don't have a large outlay at Christmas.
We make our own 'festive' stockings for our own kids, nephews/nieces/friends kids by buying multi packs of sweets/chocolates and splitting them. This cost about £40 but made 9 stockings rather than buying an over priced selection box with 6 bars of chocolate!
I still have spent money though!
I am mid forties now with two teenage children and finally find myself in a good financial position, however when the children were small money was extremely tight, one year we even bought our children nothing but they got so much from relatives they didn't even know, I have always set my budget beforehand and always stuck to it, live to your means is there really any other way, no wonder the country is in debt.
Goldie, Ramsey Cambs
I don't set a budget as such, I never spend a huge amount on presents anyway, all my family are adults and get little things. The only one that gets bigger presents is my Son, but even then we do not go overboard. Foodwise I have bought a few "Christmassy" things, a free range goose which costs quite a lot. We don't drink a lot either so only a couple of extra things bought there. Quite boring really....
A Vickery, Oxfordshire
It's been easier this year than ever before, I did all mine in Doncaster and Sheffield on the 22nd, the last full shopping day, and never queued more than 5 minutes
Nathan , Doncaster, England
For the first time in many years I don't need to think about budget - it has been a very good year of my career and I do allow myself to indulge a bit.
Nick Wong, Hong Kong, China
Christmas - Bah! Humbug!
Ebenezer Scrooge , London, England