Consumers Advise To Plan Christmas Spending

Although it is still five months away, Britons are being warned that failing to plan their spending over the Christmas period could impact upon their personal financial situation.

In research carried out by Britannia, just under half of the adult population (47 per cent) are said to not be saving money specifically for the festive season, despite predictions among the public that it will set them back by an average of 620 pounds.

The study also indicated that just over a third (37 per cent) of respondents plan to make use of some form of borrowing to cover the cost of the festivities, with some four per cent claiming that it will take them at least 11 months to clear off such debts. However, those households with children are predicted to face even further pressure on their finances at that time of year as they look towards an expenditure of 840 pounds over the period. Furthermore, some 36 per cent of parents claim to be not putting any money aside for Christmas. As a result the financial services firm suggested that consumers should start saving an average of 124 pounds per month from now to Christmas to help avoid starting the new year by owing money on personal loans and credit cards.

Neville Richardson, group chief executive for Britannia, said: “This survey shows that the majority of people are not planning for their Christmas expenditure, even though they have a good idea of how much it is likely to cost. However, it is still not too late to start saving for Christmas right now and those who do can really reap the benefits of being organised with their finances by adding pounds in interest to their own contributions.”

Those who only make the minimum repayments on their credit card spending over the festive period can take more than 16 years to complete making their repayments, the firm observes, as about 740 pounds alone is spent servicing interest accrued. However, Britannia suggested that the five per cent of respondents who plan on spending at least 2,000 pounds this Christmas could face increased struggle paying back money owed on loans and cards if they choose to fund their expenditure via borrowing.

Figures from the financial services provider also revealed that men spend more money than women during the festive season. While males account for an average expenditure of 710 pounds, the opposite sex was reported to shell out 537 pounds. However, females were indicated as being better savers as 11 per cent put money aside for Christmas, in comparison to seven per cent of men.

Last month, uSwitch warned that those consumers who choose to supplement their spending via credit cards instead of cheap personal loans and consequently only make minimum monthly payments could find themselves privy to a “debt sentence”. Mike Naylor, personal finance expert for the price comparison website, warned that with credit card providers currently setting the lowest-possible repayments at two per cent, borrowers could finish paying back money owed via secured loans before clearing off debts accrued on their cards if they continue to pay the minimum amount.

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