When it comes to Christmas, it can be very easy to ignore how much you’re spending on gifts and just throw yourself into the process of buying presents for your nearest and dearest.
But this can lead to stress further down the line when your credit card and bank statements start rolling in. The Independent recently revealed that, in the UK, we will collectively spend just under £446,000 every minute in December buying gifts alone.
The newspaper also revealed that the vast majority of us fail to keep track of our spending at this time of the year. In a survey conducted this week by Ocean Finance, just 16 per cent of people knew exactly how much they’d spent two minutes after making a purchase in a store or online.
Around half of those questioned had a “ballpark figure” in mind, while 32 per cent revealed that they had no idea. Of those with a rough idea, the figure they provided was normally around ten per cent wrong, the financial services company found.
So, what can you do to ensure that you stay on top of your Christmas spending, get everything you need and don’t overspend?
Top of the list is to set a budget, and then to make sure you actually stick to it. The newspaper recommends leaving at least 24 hours between seeing something and buying it to ensure it’s something you really need or want.
You should also look at what you’re spending on around Christmas time. It can be easy to buy things because they’re “tradition”, but if they don’t end up getting eaten, drunk or used, is there really much point?
When it comes to gift shopping, it pays to look at your list and see if there’s anywhere you can cut back. Are there people who you can talk to and agree not to buy for this year? If you still want to buy token gifts, have a discussion about budget upfront so that you’re not worrying about spending more than you can afford.
The Independent also revealed that it’s families with children under 18 who typically spend the most at Christmas. They generally splash out anywhere between £1,000 and £2,700 on Christmas.
Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst for Hargreaves Lansdown, said that over half of us will overspend by an average of £152.70 as a result of the festive hype and pressure from advertising.
It seems that where you live in the UK will also have an influence on how much you spend during the festive period. ITV recently shared research from Hargreaves Lansdown that explored the spending habits in different UK regions.
People in Wales generally spend the most on gifts at Christmas time, with an average spend of £377. They’re followed by those in Scotland who splash out £351, and then the North East of England where the average expenditure on presents comes in at £345.
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