Nearly three quarters say they’d struggle to afford Christmas if they didn’t save early

More than half of adults save money specifically to cover Christmas costs – with January being the most popular month to start putting money aside.

The survey of 2,000 adults who celebrate the festive season found 71 per cent of these savers reckon it would be tough to afford the festivities if they didn’t save early.

In fact, 37 per cent are buying presents between late summer and autumn, with 62 per cent trying to beat December rush as they are time-poor the closer it gets to the big day, and 22 per cent start filling their Christmas social calendars by October, as the average reveller will lock in four gatherings.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But while 36 per cent have used credit and finance options to stagger their expenditure, 33 per cent of these have cleared the debt at the earliest possible opportunity come January, with a further 25 per cent settling theirs before the summer starts.

The research was commissioned by John Lewis Partnership Credit Card which is currently offering customers £40 in vouchers to spend in-store and at Waitrose when they open an account.

Jason Morrey from the retailer’s finance arm said: “Christmas has transformed into a year-long financial event, encompassing months of anticipation, planning, and preparation. The careful attention to detail has extended the joy of the season throughout the year, allowing us to curate an exceptional Christmas celebration.

“But at the heart of all of this is the money we can afford to spend on the celebrations – and it’s clear many are focused on setting themselves up as early as possible to put Christmas on.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It emerged, on average, those who use credit at Christmas put nearly £300 on these cards – with 68 per cent of these saying it’s important to spread costs of this time of year. Nine in 10 (89 per cent) of these used credit to buy presents, and 58 per cent have paid for Christmastime food on credit, while 40 per cent have used it to cover the cost of their travel expenses.

A little festive help

Despite spreading the cost, 73 per cent are also on the lookout for bargains, with 24 per cent looking to maximise Black Friday opportunities. In fact, 60 per cent have purchased Christmas related products immediately after the festive season when items have been discounted. But come December, 33 per cent said this is when the pressure of planning for Christmas really ramps up.

And finding the perfect gifts for family and friends within budget is the most stressful part for 57 per cent, the data found.

To help fund the festivities, 47 per cent have saved up vouchers or coupons to help pay for Christmas, with 37 per cent gifting vouchers that they have accumulated throughout the year. But overall, 30 per cent agree Christmas actually feels like a yearlong event with all the planning and preparation which goes into it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Jason Morrey from the John Lewis Partnership Card, which is also offering zero per cent interest for the first six months so customers can spread the cost of Christmas, added: “Now, more than ever, it is crucial for people to plan their Christmas expenses in advance.

“By mapping out their budgets early, individuals and families can make the most of spreading the costs over time, avoiding last-minute financial strain. This approach not only brings financial peace of mind but also ensures that the holiday season is filled with the warmth of celebration and togetherness, without the worry of financial burdens."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.