Average Brit’s Christmas spending revealed – how do you compare?

A giant turkey, enormous pile of presents, the odd tipple of sherry -the costs of Christmas can quickly add up. In fact, the average UK adult will spend £530 on Christmas this year, according to the Money Advice Service’s annual Christmas spending survey. But where is this money going?

Spending breakdown

Unsurprisingly, Christmas presents are at the top of the list of Christmas costs. The average adult plans to spend £79.05 on presents for immediate family members; £64.30 on presents for their own children; £43.83 for friends and wider family members and £30.55 on presents for other children.

Food and drink is also a big factor. Surprising to some perhaps, Brit adults plan to spend more on alcohol than on Christmas meat – £36.73 and £27.75 respectively.

Christmas is also full of parties and family get togethers – with costs for socialising (£31.51); a Christmas wardrobe (£22.25) and decorations (£16.66) also burning a hole in our finances.

Wasted spend

But is all this spending actually worth it? Not necessarily. In fact, across the UK last festive season we spent nearly £2.4bn on food, drink and presents that eventually went to waste. For each UK adult, this worked out as roughly £28 on food and drink and an average of £54 on unwanted presents.

Covering costs – the importance of planning

Credit cards, store cards and overdrafts feature heavily in ways to cover Christmas costs, with 46% of consumers admitting this is how they plan to pay. Although Christmas can often be one of the most expensive times of the year, a quarter of us do not plan ahead, which can contribute to mounting costs.

Reasons for not planning ahead include 17% of people finding it hard to put money aside each month, and 16% finding it hard to think about Christmas when it is still summer or autumn. One in ten (10%) also admit to the philosophy of ‘spend now, worry later’.

Christmas saving tips

To have a savvy Christmas, there are things you can do. To help budget for costs, consider using a budget planner. Money Advice Service has a Christmas money planner to help you work out proposed costs and how to cover them.

Other examples for clever use of your festive cash include stocking up and freezing food to help spread the costs and also reduce the stress of having to buy everything just before Christmas. Shopping online can also be cheaper than the high street – although this is not always the case, so it is worth looking at both options. Check for discount vouchers online and in newspapers.

Get an overview of the nation’s spending at Christmas with this infographic from the Money advice Service:

All information accurate at time of publication.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

Money Advice Service


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