Christmas Shoppers ‘Advised To Take Financial Caution’

Despite spending hundreds of pounds on gifts in the run-up to Christmas, the majority of Britons are not taking the time to organise their finances, new research discloses.

According to a study conducted by Halifax Credit Cards, the typical shopper spends some 384 pounds on presents during the festive period, purchasing an average of 18 items. however, with only just over a third (36 per cent) of consumers drafting up a budget for their spending over Christmas, many people could well develop difficulties in meeting other demands on their spending such as utility bills, loans and mortgages.

However, among those who do create a spending plan, consumers were revealed to generally keep to it. Just under three-quarters (73 per cent) of people across all age groups with a budget stick to it, with this proportion rising to 82 per cent for respondents over the age of 65. however, 16 to 24-year-olds are least likely to follow their budget. With 40 per cent of these consumers exceeding their intended spending, young people could well confront the most problems when it comes to making personal loan and credit card repayments in the new year.

Overall, women splash out some 412 pounds on presents, compared to the 355 pounds spent by men – a shortfall of 56 pounds. However, females typically get more gifts as they buy some 22 items, in comparison to the 15 picked up by male shoppers. Meanwhile, those in the 35 to 44-year-old age bracket are revealed to use the most, with an average gift bill of 570 pounds. In addition, most Britons leave purchasing presents for Christmas until late on in the year, as 39 and 24 per cent of consumers begin their buying in November and December respectively. However, some seven per cent begin their shopping for the festive season in January.

The study also showed that Christmas gift spending could see those living in the north of the country develop the most debt problems as they splash out 628 pounds on presents. This compares to the 300 pounds and 242 pounds spent by residents in the south-east and Anglia respectively. People from the north were also shown to have purchased an average of 26 gifts, in comparison to the 12 bought by those from London.

In addition, the study indicated that the typical shopper could be paying out some 23 pounds 09 pence in additional interest repayments by choosing the “wrong credit card”. This could consequently impact upon their ability to meet other demands for payment on their spending, for example personal loans and mortgages.

Speaking earlier this year, Martin Lewis, creator of MoneySavingExpert, reported that in the run-up to Christmas consumers should plan their finances, not just on seasonal expenses such as gifts and festive food but also their regular spending commitments, carefully. He stated that doing so may see them make payments on personal loans and utility bills with greater ease and could help to avoid incurring “costly debts in January”. Mr Lewis also advised those considering taking out a personal loan to help fund their Christmas spending to do so with caution and to take the time to browse the market for the most competitively-priced offers obtainable.

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