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Cost of Christmas set to be the lowest since 2012

Cost of Christmas set to be the lowest since 2012

Category: Money

Updated: 20/10/2015
First Published: 20/10/2015

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

If you're worrying about the cost of Christmas, fear not – the average cost is set to be at its lowest since 2012, so hopefully, you'll be spending less than you have in years!

Savvy festive spenders

Research from and YouGov has found that respondents are taking a savvier approach to their festive celebrations this year, with the average household set to splurge £796.05 on key Christmas items such as food, gifts and decorations. Although this is still a hefty sum, it's down 3% from last year's average spend of £820.60 and marks the second consecutive annual reduction, and it's now the lowest seen since 2012's total of £768.04!

Much of the improvement is being driven by savings on food and drink, with expected expenditure on these items being 8.2% lower year-on-year (down from £173.60 in 2014 to £159.34 this year), which could be attributed to the rising popularity of discount supermarkets – or even a growing thirst to hunt out an even better bargain by using vouchers and discount codes.

However, respondents are also looking to make big cost savings on cards and decorations, expecting to spend 5.3% less than last year (£41.11 compared with £43.30). Gifts remain the biggest and most consistent outlay with the typical household expecting to spend £595.60 on gifts for loved ones, but this is still a 1.3% drop on last year (down from £603.60), which shows that people really are becoming more budget-conscious.

Cut the cost of Christmas

The question is, just how are people managing to make these kinds of cost savings? It seems that there are several methods, with a few of them being:

  • Getting organised. It could pay to be an early bird when it comes to Christmas shopping, with those who are constantly on the lookout for a bargain far more likely to save money than those who end up panic buying at the last minute. Happily, 16% have already started their festive shopping and 10% plan to have it finished by the end of November, while 43% will have it sorted two weeks before the main event – and just 7% plan to do a last minute dash on Christmas Eve.
  • Better budgeting. More and more people realise the importance of putting money aside to cover the cost of Christmas, with 43% having been saving regularly each month. This is a welcome improvement from the 26% who did so last year, and as a result, fewer people feel that the festive spend will negatively impact their finances in the New Year (down from 15% to 12%). This is despite the fact that 21% plan to put some of their festive purchases on credit cards (up from 17% last year), but if they use a 0% purchase card, it could be a viable way to help spread the cost.
  • Smarter shopping. Another great way to cut the cost of the festive spend is to take advantage of the major discount shopping days in the run-up to the big day, with 13% planning to shop on Black Friday (which falls on 27 November this year) and 10% on Cyber Monday (30 November). Not only that, but 9% will still be shopping in the Boxing Day sales, perhaps for all those people they'll see after the main event…
  • Savvy surfing. Many consumers are also becoming increasingly adept at online shopping, and will use the net to their advantage to hunt out an even better deal. In fact, 71% of respondents will be shopping online this year (up from 42% last year), with 28% of those using their smartphones or tablets to surf on the go. They're using that tech to cut costs, too, with 36% of mobile shoppers searching for discounts on the go, while additional figures show that 34% use their smartphones to compare prices.

"With Christmas fast approaching, it's interesting to see that the nation is set to be a little savvier with their festive spending this year, with households across the UK planning to spend less on seasonal essentials," said Claire Davenport of It's encouraging that these savvier habits are having a positive impact on the UK's bank balances and financial wellbeing, as less people are worried about the cost of Christmas this year and are feeling more optimistic about their finances in general."

So, will you be able to cut the cost of Christmas? Hopefully you'll find that it's slightly less stressful than last year, and if you bear in mind the above practices – shopping around, taking advantage of discount days, and ideally using a festive savings pot – you could find that you have a very merry Christmas with a slightly lower price tag.

What next?

Check out our dedicated voucher section to find even more ways to cut the cost

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.