Are you suffering from a festive financial hangover?

by Leeds Building Society

Whilst it’s all fun and games at the time, Christmas can be a massive financial hit for a lot of people. And unfortunately, it’s not something that can be cured by a brew and a butty!

According to research we recently asked for from YouGov, it turns out nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of us who celebrate the festive season don’t save ahead for it at all.*

YouGov surveyed a group of 2103 adults for us, specifically asking about how they plan financially for the Christmas period. As a global public opinion and data company, the groups of people YouGov survey genuinely represent the population of the UK.

The UK’s attitude to Christmas saving

With the cheeseboard finally depleted and the first post-Christmas payday already banked, it’s likely a lot of us will be getting back into a normal routine financially.

In fact, ten per cent of people start saving for Christmas in September and 12 per cent in October, giving them a bit of time to spread the cost before the big day comes around.

And in terms of actually buying, it looks like people start hitting the shops in September (eight per cent) and October (15 per cent). But actually the majority of us will wait until November (32 per cent) to really get going on our shopping.

The early starters

Now of course, there were some even more saintly among those surveyed. In fact, an impressive 15 per cent of people start saving for Christmas in January – be that for gifts, food or travel arrangements to see family and friends. And seven per cent actually start buying gifts in January.

They were joined by two per cent who already start dropping hints for what they want at this point – handy if their picks have headed into the sales!

The borrowers

On the other hand, YouGov also found that 18 per cent of those surveyed have at some point taken out credit to cover the cost of Christmas. And of that group it took 15 per cent of people between three to six months to repay the balance. And a further 23 per cent longer than six months.

Not only is it stressful to carry that added financial pressure into and throughout the New Year, but people should also be wary of the costs associated. As Matt Bartle, our Director of Products commented; “…it was positive that nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of the people surveyed don’t take out credit to pay for Christmas. However, it was worrying that those who do use credit can take months to pay it off, which will incur fees and could end up costing them a lot more.”

Get a head start for 2019

Does this all feel a bit too familiar? Maybe you’re only just recovering from the expense of Christmas, or even just starting to pay it off. Either way, there are some things you could try to make next year feel a little less painful.

  • Start early – don’t worry, that doesn’t mean buying the presents! But starting to save money away now could make the world of difference when you actually start your shopping in November.
  • Save little – we aren’t talking massive amounts each month. Maybe there’s an expense you have now that you could live without – like a morning take away coffee. Could you redirect the money you spend on that each month into a savings account instead?
  • Save often – if you’re paid regularly, could you make it a monthly thing? Treat it like another bill – or a Christmas tax – that comes out of your payslip every month.
  • Automate it – if you set up a standing order straight into your savings account you won’t even notice the money move after a while.

Matt says; “When there’s a big annual expenditure – whether that’s Christmas or a holiday – saving little and often helps to spread the cost to make it more manageable and it’s satisfying seeing your savings grow.”

At LBS we work really hard to get to know our members, so that we can offer products to suit all needs. So we’re pretty confident that if you want to get ahead and start saving for Christmas now, we can help you out. Have a browse on the website or visit your local branch to talk through your savings options with one of our helpful advisers.

*The information was collected by our third party provider YouGov, between 9th – 10th January 2019. YouGov surveyed a group of 2,103 adults.