Times are pretty lean right now and we are all feeling the need to pull in our belts somewhat. However, it is just at these times that we start to feel deprived of the little luxuries that we are used to and it is the deprivation of these luxuries that make people think life is all so dreadful and we're all about to starve to death. But today's generation just don't know they're born.
People are still out at night, drinking, clubbing, eating out, going to cinemas and people are still buying clothes and cars and still going on holiday. All these are things that, go back in time fifty years, were simply unheard of unless you belonged to the super rich. Getting by without these things was everyday life but today it is a way of life and one people expect to keep up as a right.
So, now the time has come when the cost of living has risen to such a great degree and people are having to start trimming down these little extras. Any supermarket will tell you that sales are dwindling a little but compared to what? Compared to the days when we could all buy copious amounts of junk food and extras that just weren't needed. People do still get what they need and look in any supermarket trolley and you'll still see biscuits or alcohol or some such goodies.
The other aspect on people's minds this time of year is the fact that as soon as the kids are back at school, thoughts tend to turn towards the next big event - Christmas. This is the one time of year when we all not only like to be treated to luxury gifts but to also be able to give these to others. It's the one time of year that pretty much every indulgence is overlooked. However, overlook it at your peril because this coming year promises not to be so easy to catch up on finances.
This doesn't mean we have to go without though. Luxury gifts do not necessarily equate with expensive gifts. Of course, for the lucky few a luxury gift this Christmas will constitute a diamond ring, or a yacht or car or some such extravagance. But for the rest of us, a luxury gift can easily be given without breaking the bank.
The trick is to use your imagination, to look for something that you know the receiver wouldn't get for themselves and something with that little special touch. However small the gift, if you go for something of quality you can be sure it will be a luxury gift well received.
Unsure what I'm talking about? Think small but just right. A high quality leather wallet or purse will not only be a practical gift but it will be something treasured. Every time the recipient uses the item they will think of you, they will love the feel, they will recognise the difference in quality and you would have scored brownie points for a luxury gift that would set you back no more than, say, 50. pounds.
There are also high quality pens that could be considered as luxury gifts and there's always something nice about having your own pen that no-one else would dare go near than scratching around for an old biro that's been chewed and only works intermittently!
If you're the type of person that doesn't know what to buy and always goes for socks then why change the habits of a lifetime? Just turn it into a luxury gift with cashmere socks without breaking the bank.
This credit crunch may well mean we have to scale down in amount and size but it doesn't necessarily dictate the quality of luxury gifts that we have to accept.
Social expert Catherine Harvey looks at how we can still give our loved ones a luxury gift this Christmas even though times are financially difficult.