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If you want to avoid a Christmas cash hangover…‘tis the season to start budgeting

20th September 2016 Print

Whilst it might feel a bit early to start thinking about your Christmas list, with only 14 weeks to go until the big day, those who haven’t already put any money aside will need to start budgeting around £36 a week to avoid being caught out by the cost.

According to the latest data from Halifax, people spent an average £506 on Christmas 2015, including all spending on gifts, food, drink and socializing – an eight per cent rise in spending since 2014.

Despite the fact there was an increase in spending in 2015, 44 per cent of Christmas spenders said they spent the same as the previous Christmas.  Almost a third (29%) admitted to spending more than they did in 2014, and of those who did increase their Christmas spend, nearly one in five (18%) spent over £200 more.

One in three (31%) consumers surveyed still had payments outstanding at the start of February, and of these, the Christmas financial hangover was expected to last until April.  Of these, just over a third (34%) were concerned they may need to make cut backs on non-essential spending to pay for the cost of the previous Christmas.  Almost one in eight (12%) thought they might have to forego a holiday this year as a result.  One in ten spenders made, or expected to make, cut backs on food shopping to cover the cost of Christmas 2015.

Giles Martin, Head of Halifax Savings, said: “With the typical cost of Christmas increasing to over £500 and the hangover stretching to a third of the year for some, it’s never too early to think about how you will pay for it.  If you can afford to save regularly to spread the cost, then the earlier you start saving the less you need to find each month.”

A third (34%) of festive spenders surveyed saved specifically for Christmas.  Over half (55%) funded some of their Christmas spending through their salary and around one in three (31%) relied on a form of credit, with credit cards (26%) being the most popular choice. Seven per cent ended up dipping into savings that they were not planning to spend on Christmas.

Regional big spenders and scrooges

In the North East, consumers spent the most money on Christmas (£591.08), 17 per cent more than the national average.  Meanwhile, people in the South West were the most frugal and spending £415.08, 18 per cent less than the average.

Christmas spenders who have never been married spent an average of £327.92, with those who are married or in a civil partnership spending close to double (£620.38).  The average woman spent nearly £100 (£99.45) more than the average man.Marital status and gender differences.