How much are you planning to spend this festive season? Well, according to research from American Express, it could tot up to a staggering £1,206, equating to £60bn nationwide. On the plus side, the individual total is a drop of some £300 on last year – Brits were set to spend £1,551 on Christmas a year ago – but it's still a pretty hefty sum. So, it's time to see where savings could be made!
The £1,200+ total may seem an amount you'd never spend in just a few weeks, but breaking down the figures shows that it may not be that far off. The total includes everything from the traditional expenditure on gifts (£295) and the big festive food shop (£74), to the cost of hosting a Christmas party (£88) and new clothes for the season (£68), with Christmas jumpers and a new outfit for the office party often high on the list of priorities.
And what about festive getaways? An increasing number of Brits are enjoying trips to Christmas markets both in the UK and abroad, with the average spend coming in at £237 for breaks outside the UK – the second-largest expense on the list – and £174 for festive trips on home soil. After you add in the cost of travelling to visit loved ones (£66), Christmas catch-ups (£76), festive experiences such as ice skating (£84) and those new decorations (£44), you'll soon see how quickly the total can rise – are you factoring these kinds of costs into your festive budget?
If it sounds like far too much to spend in the next few weeks, fear not – there are ways to cut the cost! Setting a budget is key, and although it can be difficult to stick to at times, it could be the best possible way to keep your costs in check. After all, keeping track of your festive spending can mean the difference between having a wonderful Christmas time and starting the New Year with a financial hangover, so it's important to be on the ball.
One way in which you could be particularly savvy is by saving up reward points. American Express found that 25% of respondents use loyalty points, rewards or cashback to cover some of their expenditure, which could go a long way to cutting that festive shopping bill. Another 23% of respondents plan to take advantage of early sales and promotions, and what about cashback credit cards or current accounts? They're another way to boost your finances and could be perfect for this time of year.
"Whether it's taking time to choose the perfect gift, or deciding where to take a trip to escape the chill, it's wise to plan your spending for this busy time," said Stephen Steinhardt, director at American Express. "By using a credit card that earns rewards or cashback you can get something back on your purchases and treat yourself to something special next year."
Are you ready to get organised? Here are a few extra tips to help keep your festive spending in check:
Compare the top credit cards for your festive needs
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.