Study: Nearly half of Brits haven't saved for the holidays


Britons may be facing a financial hangover after Christmas this year, with new research suggesting that many do not plan their festive spending or save up in advance.


As a result, consumers could find themselves paying off Christmas-related debts well into the new year, particularly if they do their spending on a credit card with a high interest rate.

Britons neglect to budget for Christmas
Britons are not particularly good at budgeting for the festive period, according to new research from M&S Money.

The credit card provider commissioned a YouGov poll of 2,015 adults, which found that 39% of people do not set a budget for their Christmas spending, while 46% of those who do fail to stick to it.

The survey also revealed that 49% of Britons do not save in advance of Christmas. This is despite the fact that a separate poll of 2,001 adults by Dynamic Markets found that the average shopper expects to spend £560 on Christmas this year.

Spending is likely to be particularly prolific in the north of England, with people in the north-east expecting to spend an average of £220 on food, drink and entertainment alone, and those in the north-west planning to fork out £661 on gifts for close family members.

Early planning recommended
Consumers who want their Christmas spending to be as pain-free as possible should start to plan ahead and save money early in the year, said Paul Stokes, a savings and investments spokesman for M&S Money. However, he noted: "It's never too late to make a budget to help with your finances over the festive period -- a shopping list is a great way to help you keep within budget."

Right credit card can also help
Britons can also improve their finances by researching credit cards carefully and selecting the one that best meets their needs. Those who have failed to save any Christmas spending money may need to borrow heavily over the next couple of months and could therefore benefit from applying for a card that offers 0% on purchases for several months. This will give them longer to pay off their balances without accruing interest.

Alternatively, those who are in a good financial position ahead of Christmas may want to consider using a cashback credit card. They could use their card to do their Christmas shopping, pay off their balance in full to avoid accruing interest and then treat themselves with the cashback they have earned in the new year.

See related: One in five need over a year to clear debts; Survey: Brits 'more committed to spending than saving'

Published: 31 October 2011