Christmas spending falls below £500


Less money will be spent by people over Christmas this year.

Spending will be curbed by savers trying to reduce their Christmas expenses.

Christmas spending may fall by 10% this year as Britons try to stay out of debt.

A survey, carried out by savings provider ING Direct, found that the average person expects to spend £490 on gifts and entertainment this holiday season, which is almost £60 lower than the figures recorded in 2009.

A quarter of the 2000 respondents said they were cutting back on their spending to prevent running up large credit card bills – the average person was in £380 of debt following Christmas last year, which took up to eight weeks to pay off.

Richard Doe, chief executive of ING Direct, said: “It seems that Britons are determined to spend the new year rebuilding their savings balances, rather than paying off large credit card bills, which can only be a good thing for family finances”.

The research also showed that 32% of people plan to use their savings to cover costs rather than using borrowing facilities like loans, credit cards and store cards.

Matt Barlow, chief executive of Christians Against Poverty, had a word of advice for big Christmas spenders: “These are difficult times for a lot of us and the temptation is to say, ‘at least we’ll have a great Christmas’ and use that as an excuse to spend what we haven’t got. If you’ve already caught yourself saying this, we want your alarm bells to be ringing loud and clear”.

He continued: “The new year is full of uncertainty: job losses, VAT will be going up, benefits are changing, energy bills are rising and we don’t know what interest rates will do. If we were ever going to get our spending under control at Christmas – it should be this year”.