- With 12 weeks to go until Christmas day now is the time to save
- Almost one in three (30%) Britons feel pressured to spend more than they could afford over the festive period
- Money Advice Service expects to see a surge in the number of money and debt advice enquiries following Christmas
- Cutting back on non-essential items can make a big difference – not having a daily coffee could help you save as much as £250
As of today, there are 12 weeks until Christmas, and the most organised of us are already making plans for the big day.
Yet others will leave it all to the last minute but whenever you start, how do you ensure you are not left facing a hefty bill in the New Year?
According to Money Advice Service research, one in three (30%) people in the UK feel pressured to spend more than they can afford over Christmas. Men and women are equally as likely to overspend (23% versus 24%) but men expect to overspend by more (£325 compared to £299 for women), and tend to put more of their Christmas spend on credit (26% versus 21% for women).
At the same time, the number of people seeking debt advice is expected to surge in the months following Christmas, demonstrating the need to plan ahead. Last year, the service assisted almost 2.3 million people during January compared 2.1 million in the average month – a 10% rise.
The average household spends £429 over the festive period — this covers food and drink, presents, socialising and travel. Close to one in three (32%) said they experienced financial difficulty last January as a result of spending during the Christmas period, leaving them anxious, worried and, in some cases, depressed.
Close to half (48%) of those experiencing financial difficulty say that budgeting would have helped them to prevent overspending and most (72%) are certain that they don’t want to start 2018 in a similar situation.
With 12 weeks to go until Christmas, Money Advice Service is urging everyone to use the free Christmas Money Planner to help people plan their spending and saving for a financially worry-free festive period. For example, by just cutting back on a daily coffee, the average person could save up to £250iv over the next 12 weeks.
Responding to the findings, John Penberthy-Smith, Customer Director at the Money Advice Service, says: “The run up to Christmas is one of the busiest and most pricey times of the year. It’s not just the gifts, but also the food, decorations and socialisng that you need to think about. It’s easy to splash out without thinking too much about it, but it all adds up.
“Work out how much you can afford to spend in total over Christmas. The Money Advice Service’s Christmas Money Planner is great for creating your own budget and see how much you can save in time for Christmas Day.
“It’s also worth looking at your regular spending at home and keeping track of it throughout the next 12 weeks. Doing this will help you see areas where you may be able to cut back, for example: cancelling unused subscriptions. You might be able to raise some extra money by clearing out items you don’t want or no longer use.
“Saving for Christmas can be tough, but using our Christmas Money Planner will make it easier and hopefully improve your financial habits for the better. What do you have to lose?”
The Money Advice Service has created a Christmas Money Planner to help get your finances in shape for Christmas. Simply visit https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/christmas-money-planner for more information and to sign up for updates.
The experts at Money Advice Service have pulled together their top five tips on how to keep your finances in check over the festive period.
1. Set a budget
Work out how much you can afford to spend in total over Christmas. The Money Advice Service’s Christmas Money Planner is great for creating your own budget and see how much you can save in time for Christmas Day.
Think about how much you’ll need for food, socialising, presents, decorations and any other related things. Here you can prioritise on spending more on the most important aspects.
2. Keep track
Make a note of what you’re spending – whether this is by keeping receipts or just making a note on your phone or in a notebook. This will mean you’re more likely to stick to your budget plan. You can also simply take out a certain amount of cash each week or day so you know how much you have to spend.
You can free up more money by thinking about whether there are any costs you can either reduce or cut out altogether. Money Advice Service’s Quick Cash Finder helps you to work out where and how you could easily save on your regular spend.
See if you could save a few pounds by switching to your supermarket’s own brand on regular purchases (e.g. such as cereal or ketchup), or by doing your food shop at a different supermarket altogether.
Having a clear out ahead of Christmas can save space and help to free up some extra cash. If you have any old and unwanted items, look into selling these on a site such as eBay.
For more top tips on making sure you’re financially prepared for Christmas, Money Advice Service has a new video full of suggestions. And you can view our top tips each week on our blog.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The release refers to official statistics from the Money Advice Service, on the number of debt advice and money advice enquiries the service received in January 2017, compared with those received between February and June 2017.
Opinium conducted quantitative research on behalf of the Money Advice Service; among a sample of 2,001 nationally representative UK adults aged 18+ during December 2015. These questions asked about respondents’ approach to spending over the festive period specifically — for example, how many overspend, by how much.
The Money Advice Service also conducted quantitative research among 2,098 UK adults aged 18+, with the assistance of YouGov, during November 2015. This research focused on respondents’ relationship with money and budgeting.
For media enquiries contact:
Lena Nunkoo or Alexandra Annable on 020 7943 0593 orPress.Office@moneyadviceservice.org.uk
About the Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. It gives free, unbiased money advice online at moneyadviceservice.org.uk, over the phone on 0300 500 5000, and face-to-face right across the UK. The Service was set up by Government and is paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Conduct Authority. Its statutory objectives are to enhance the understanding and knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system); and to enhance the ability of members of the public to manage their own financial affairs.
i Source: According to Opinium data.
ii Source: According to Opinium data.
iii Source: According to Opinium data.
iv This is based on a daily spend on coffee of £3, equating to £21 per week. With 12 weeks left to Christmas, this means by not buying coffee, you could save up to £252