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Christmas set to cost Brits nearly £800 each and half are already saving

25th September 2017


With three months to go until Christmas Day, new research from TSB reveals a Christmas spending ‘blind spot’, that could see Brits left with a bill for the festive period that’s nearly double what they were expecting.

On average, people are planning to spend £427 this Christmas and half of Brits (46 per cent) are already saving.  The true cost of Christmas, however, including things people might not yet have thought of – such as travel, party costs and last-minute present buying – totals £773.

TSB’s research shows unexpected festive costs amount to an additional £3461 on average and include the following:

•    Social occasions:  entertaining guests, outings with children, bottles of wine or other gifts to take to Christmas parties, and pampering costs for getting ready for parties. 
•    Travel:  taxis, petrol and train tickets when going to visit relatives. 
•    Unexpected gift buying:  last-minute present shopping, delivery charges for express deliveries.
•    Work parties:  Secret Santa presents, office decorations, food on the way home from parties and extravagant breakfasts if feeling a little worse for wear the next day. 
•    Home:  pet costs such as kennel fees if away for Christmas, and new bedding or home furnishings to impress guests if hosting family and friends during Christmas.  
•    Bits and bobs:  decorations, wrapping paper, ribbons, Christmas cards. 
Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of Brits anticipate that they may go into debt to cover costs this festive season.  With three months still to go until the big day, now is the time for people to get Christmas ready and avoid encountering these hidden costs at the last minute.
Craig Bundell, Director of Current Accounts & Savings at TSB, says:  “Christmas can be an expensive time of year so it’s encouraging to see so many people are already saving up.  Often, it’s the ‘extra costs’ like travel, party costs, and last-minute presents that people don’t think about which push them over their budget. 
“From booking train tickets in advance to earning cashback on your day-to-day spending, a bit of forward planning could make all the difference when it comes to comfortably covering the cost of Christmas.  With three months to go, there’s still plenty of time to get organised so finances aren’t overstretched come January.”
Top tips from TSB
TSB has put together a list of useful tips to help people cut down on the hidden costs of Christmas.
1.    Be honest about what you can afford:  the run-up to Christmas can seem like a month of endless parties and no one wants to be the person that turns up empty handed.  Costs can soon mount up.  So, it’s all about being realistic about what you can afford to spend.  This might mean agreeing a budget with friends for Secret Santa presents.  For close friends, why not suggest a gathering at home rather than going out – it’s the people who make a great party after all. 
2.    Make a budget:  Christmas is the season of goodwill, but that doesn’t mean people can’t have a budget.  Include Christmas expenses like travel, food, and social events to avoid being caught out with unexpected costs.  If you know that you’re the sort of person who needs a big breakfast when you wake up feeling a bit worse for wear, then factor this into your budget! 
3.    Plan travel costs in advance: if you know you’ll be travelling this festive season it always pays to plan ahead.  Train fares can be much cheaper if booked in advance when travelling long distances.  You can also cut the cost of smaller journeys like taxis home from Christmas parties if you organise to share a cab. 
4.    Shop around with a list:  Christmas shopping on impulse can be dangerous.  Make a shopping list and stick to it.  It pays to compare prices too.  
5.    Take advantage of cashback, points or rewards:  if you have points or reward vouchers saved up, these may ease the burden on your wallet at an expensive time of the year.  You could also get earn cashback for simply buying the things you need. TSB’s Classic Plus† bank account rewards new customers with £5 a month for making payments with their Classic Plus debit card at least 20 times a month until June 2018‡.  Plus another £5 a month just for having two Direct Debit transactions per month‡.  That’s a gift on your shopping list paid for by Christmas.


Notes to editors


£800 figure calculated by:
£427 average amount that people are planning to spend this Christmas 
£346 average amount of additional costs that people spend in the run up to Christmas. The majority of respondents said they do not factor costs other than presents and food into their Christmas budget. 
=£773 (rounded up = £800)

1Average cost of items, according to estimates of 2,000 people surveyed: 

•    The cost of entertaining guests (£65)
•    Train or flight tickets to relatives’ homes and taxis during the festive period (£46.98)
•    Last-minute present shopping (£38.13) 
•    Outings with children (£36.25)
•    Accessories for the office Christmas party and Secret Santa presents (£27.78)
•    The cost of petrol when driving to relatives’ homes (£27.60) 
•    Wrapping paper, ribbons, Christmas cards (£22.20)
•    Pet costs such as kennel fees (£17.28)
•    Bottles of wine or other gifts to take to Christmas parties (£14.52)
•    Decorations (£13.88)
•    Grooming (hair and nails) (£11.89)
•    Uneaten / wasted food (£8.03)
•    Extravagant breakfasts when hungover / food on the way home from parties (£6.21)
•    New bedding or home furnishings to impress guests (£5.70)
•    Delivery charges for express deliveries (£4.91)
The research was conducted in September 2017 by One Poll surveying 2,000 UK adults that celebrate Christmas.  
‡Cashback offer only available for Classic Plus Accounts opened from 1 March 2017. Offer ends 30 June 2018.  You must be registered for internet banking. T&Cs apply.
†Classic Plus - 3% AER / 2.96% gross variable interest (paid monthly) on balances up to £1,500.  Must pay in minimum of £500 a month, register for Internet Banking, paperless statements and paperless correspondence.
About TSB
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