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Published: 02/06/2017

It may seem like we're barely getting a foothold on summer yet, but many Brits are seriously planning ahead, with research from American Express showing that one in seven (14%) have already started their Christmas shopping – and they've spent an average of £1,689 each in the process!

Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of this (£587) has gone on buying festive food and drink – we can only hope that they've checked the sell-by dates – while another £248 has been spent on pre-booking festive getaways outside the UK, such as to Christmas markets or Lapland.

A further £208 has been spent on Christmas decorations, £201 on festive experiences (such as pantomime tickets), £160 on travel tickets and £152 on festive getaways in the UK, while spending on gifts is squarely at the bottom of the list, with only £133 spent on presents so far this year.

It may seem early to begin thinking about the festive season, but it could make a lot of sense, particularly when you consider how expensive all those festive goodies can be. Jenny Cheung, Director at American Express, explains: "Many Britons are taking a shrewd approach to festive shopping by starting earlier, and therefore spreading the cost of Christmas over a longer time period.

"If you're a festive early bird and have started your Christmas shopping, putting your spend on a reward or cashback card now will allow you to get something back on your spending so you can treat yourself or your loved ones once the festive season truly begins."

How to make your festive money go further

If you're an early bird – or trying to be – you'll want to make your money go as far as possible. Happily, American Express has come up with a few top tips to help:

  1. Plan your budget and keep track of your festive spending. Start writing a list of the presents you need to buy and who you're buying them for, and decide how much you're going to spend on each. That way, you can work out how much money you'll need to set aside – or how much you'll need to start squirreling away into a savings account – and spread the cost over the rest of the year.

  2. Look out for sales. The summer sales are ramping up, which means now could be a great time to snap up some bargains. You could even go one step further – if you're buying for someone that has a favourite brand, it could be worth signing up to email alerts so you get advance warning of any sales.

  3. Book your travel. The early bird catches the worm, even more so when it comes to travel – travel tickets are often cheaper when you buy in advance, particularly air fares, and keep an eye out for when you can book rail tickets for travel over the festive period.

  4. Check your points. Check how many rewards points you have on your credit card, charge card or any loyalty schemes – you may have enough to redeem against some early Christmas presents.

  5. Don't buy everything now. While it's great to be organised, you may want to save some festive shopping for December – many retailers have great offers closer to Christmas, so make sure to put some funds aside for later in the year to maximise your chances of getting some good deals.

What next?

If you don't yet have a savings account for your festive funds, now's the time to get one. Compare the best savings account rates to get started and see what's on offer.

Take a look at cashback credit cards and see if you can get something for nothing.


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. Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. will receive a small payment if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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